Ex-Toon star re­veals


Sunday Sun - - News - By Mark Dou­glas mark.dou­glas@reach­plc.com

Jose En­rique with girl­friend Amy Jaine Re­gional foot­ball ed­i­tor AT one point in his life, Jose En­rique couldn’t wait to get away from St James’ Park.

But in the dark mo­ments that fol­lowed his di­ag­no­sis with a rare brain tu­mour, it has been the thought of re­turn­ing to New­cas­tle United, rid of the can­cer that nearly robbed him of his sight and could have proved fa­tal, that has sus­tained him.

“My life has been turned up­side down,” En­rique ad­mits, cat­a­logu­ing a shud­der­ing list of things he has ex­pe­ri­enced since his “night­mare” di­ag­no­sis in May. These are things no fit 32-year-old ex­pects to have to go through – such as be­ing told you are just a nick of a sur­geon’s knife away from dy­ing on the op­er­at­ing ta­ble. Or that the sight in one of your eyes – which has been suf­fo­cated by the tu­mour that has been grow­ing in­side your brain for years – might never come back. Or even that you won’t be able to go to the toi­let un­aided. “It has been a night­mare. But you know what? It has taught me a lot as well. It makes you think about things and one of the things I want to say is that I was so touched by the New­cas­tle fans mes­sag­ing me when they heard about what hap­pened to me.”

En­rique left un­der a cloud, im­petu­ously send­ing a Twit­ter mes­sage de­rid­ing the club and paving the way for a move to Liver­pool. New­cas­tle fans felt be­trayed, and let him know as much when he re­turned. “I know how it was when I left. I know how it ended at New­cas­tle and it is one of my big­gest re­grets in foot­ball,” he says.

“I was so young and what I said I said be­cause I was an­gry. I said they would not fin­ish in the top six – then the next year they fin­ished fifth! I was very happy at New­cas­tle. It was one of the best mo­ments of my life. New­cas­tle was my start in Eng­land and was and is a mas­sive club. I wanted the club to do well but all around me I could see that they weren’t do­ing the right things.

“Some­times you say things you shouldn’t. The fans were amaz­ing with me – they sang home and away, they sup­ported us through ev­ery­thing and I’ll al­ways be grate­ful to them.

“They have sent me some lovely mes­sages, through Twit­ter and In­sta­gram of course. Get­ting that many peo­ple’s sup­port and mes­sages is amaz­ing.”

It is that love – from his part­ner Amy, from fans of the clubs that he has played at – that will get him through his next dark days.

Although the op­er­a­tion to re­move the tu­mour was a suc­cess, he now faces 41 ses­sions of ra­dio­ther­apy over three months. He will move to Paris for three months for the treat­ment; spend­ing Christ­mas away from his home in Va­len­cia. He will cel­e­brate Christ­mas while un­der­go­ing treat­ment, in the dark.

It is, he knows, the only way that the tu­mour can be killed.

“It isn’t some­thing I am look­ing for­ward to. Through­out this whole thing I have learned to live in the mo­ment,” he said. “The most scary thing for me is the ra­dio­ther­apy – it’s not nice, it is scary but a lot of peo­ple have to do it. It’s just an­other thing I have to do to get bet­ter.

“When you go in for ra­dio­ther­apy, you put on a mask and it is com­pletely dark. I hate the idea of this mo­ment. You are not al­lowed to move, it’s dark. You are on your own. If you move you can re­ally dam­age some­thing else. When the doc­tor told me that I would have to do this it was the thing that al­most scared me the most.”

So, he says, he will think about how lucky he has been in his life. He will think about

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