From marking Maradona at the height of his football career to becoming homeless, Dave Langan has revealed all in a new autobiography.
The ex-Peterborough United and international footballer, who has shunned the limelight for more than 20 years after hanging up his boots, talks about having it all and then re-building his life from rock bottom in his new book, ‘Running Through Walls’.
Dave (55), who now likes to be known as Frank and works as the Mayor’s attendant at Peterborough City Council, was approached to do the book by Irish writer Trevor Keane.
He said: “I never wanted to do one, I like to keep out of it, keep myself to myself. But my football days will come back to haunt me now.”
A native of Dublin, he came to England as a teenager and became one of the greatest full-backs of the game, playing for Derby before a record-breaking transfer at the time worth £350,000 to Birmingham.
He also played for Oxford and Peterborough, where long-standing knee injuries ended his career in 1989.
He said: “I regret how badly I played at Posh. I just struggled for fitness and still feel ashamed. I should have retired earlier.”
His international career for Ireland saw him controversially dropped before the Euros in 1988 but also saw his proudest moment – marking Diego Maradona in 1980.
He said: “He was the best player I’ve ever played against, just awesome. There had been a rugby match the Saturday before and the grass was still a bit long so every time he ran with the ball he couldn’t get anywhere. The groundsman should have got a gold medal that day as he saved us from a hammering.”
The book, published by DB Publishing, also tells of Dave’s battles off the pitch, from injury, depression and failed marriages to being homeless six years ago where he slept in the town hall basement.
The father-of-three said: “Anyone that has had no home to go to will know the feeling of shame, depression and failure that torments you as you lie on a makeshift bed trying to figure out where did it go wrong?
“Here I was, a former Ireland international who had played for some of the biggest clubs in England, had won the Milk Cup and yet I could not afford to even rent a bedsit.”