IT IS a tired cliché to compare players’ careers to a roller-coaster, but it is an appropriate description considering the dizzy highs and desperate lows experienced by Dave Langan.
The Irishman will be remembered by Oxford United supporters of a certain generation.
As a wholehearted full-back he scored the goal which sealed promotion to the Division 1 in 1984/85 and was part of the Milk Cup-winning side a year later.
But as he details in a brutally honest autobiography, due to be released today, there have also been dark times.
As well as the nightmare of a career plagued by serious injuries and being dropped by the Republic of Ireland just before Euro ‘88, Langan reveals problems in his personal life – many of which had been kept secret from even close family members.
Despite the difficulties, compiling Running Through Walls (DB Publishers, £12.99) has been a worthwhile experience.
“Lots of it was hard because I went through some tough times, still am, but you have to try and remember every single detail,” he said.
“It was tough looking back on my drinking and the operations, but I think if you’re going to do it you’ve got to be honest and get it all off your chest.
“It is a great relief when you actually get it all out there because you’ve held it in for so many years.
“My sister has read the book and she was in tears, a lot of people don’t know what I went through and I think they were quite shocked by what they read.”
The legacy of a tough career remains and Langan is getting to grips with his first knee replacement. His other knee is due to be operated on next year.
The 55-year-old rarely watches football nowadays, frustrated by the amount of play-acting.
He retains a soft spot for Oxford United, where he enjoyed the best moments of his club career.
He said: “It was my favourite club because it was the only time we won something.
“When you do that it means a lot to the supporters. It was just a very enjoyable time in my life.
“I loved the Oxford people, they were good to me.”
The ties between Langan and the club were strengthened last year, when a benefit match was shared with fellow United star Joey Beauchamp.
He said: “I couldn’t believe it was given to us – I thought it was a tremendous gesture from the club and it’s typical of them.
“They are allowing us to have a book signing before the Gillingham match (on October 6), so once again they’ve been very kind.”