Deane, who played under Cusack at Belle Vue during the late 1980s, says he sometimes comes off the phone ‘in tears’ after speaking to his former boss who was in charge at the club between 1985 and 1987.
He said: “Dave was the one who saw that I had potential, he offered me a contract and from there really that’s where my story in football started.”
“I have spent a lot of time talking to Dave recently and it’s tragic when we have spoken. Sometimes you come off the phone in tears, because he’s in a bad way.
“It is sad to see that a once big, bright imposing figure has now drifted away somewhere. His short-term memory is shot.
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“He did so much for me without realising – the way he managed me as a kid, the tough love. When you see someone like Dave who is out there without the support that he should have…the game sits on the shoulders of people like Dave.
“Everybody out there should be looking inwardly at how we can support the likes of Dave. Is the game going to allow these people to wander off without the support and full backing that they need to retain their dignity?”
Sixty former players aged between 30 and 70 have thrown their support behind the Head for Change group, including former England striker and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker.
Another of the group, former Leeds and Sheffield United forward Deane, has seen first-hand how devastating the condition can be, following Cusack’s diagnosis of vascular dementia.
Head for Change has called for the establishment of an ongoing fund to support individuals like Cusack.
Cusack spoke about his demential battle in 2018, telling The Sun newspaper: “The neuro specialists have said it's the result of constant head traumas.
“Well, the only head traumas I suffered were in the shape of centre-forwards' elbows.
“They are what's done this to me and others as well.”