Former Derby County full-back David Langan tells of his struggle against catalogue of injury
DAVID Langan has revealed how life is very different now to when he was a marauding right-back for Derby County in the late 1970s.
Langan was signed as a youngster by Brian Clough and the defender became a firm favourite with Rams fans.
He made more than 150 appearances for the club and was named player of the year in 1977-78 before he left in 1980.
He went on to play for Birmingham City and Oxford United among a number of clubs.
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On the international stage, he won 26 caps for the Republic of Ireland and played against all the top national sides including Brazil, Holland, Spain and Argentina.
Now 55, his creaking knees and battered back make going up and down the stairs a major test.
Langan has been registered disabled for 20 years due to a catalogue of injuries suffered during his playing days. Those injuries have left him virtually crippled.
In his new book “David Langan – Running Through Walls” (DB Publishing, £12.99) he looks back on his career as a professional footballer and says: “Life is very different now.
“I remember in my first year as an apprentice; it was get up and race down to the Baseball Ground for 9am where we would get the kits ready and make tea for all the players and staff.
“The first team would train until lunchtime while we cleaned and got everything organised and then we would train in the afternoon before cleaning up again.
“The day ended at 5pm and then you would head back to the digs.
“Nowadays, it’s up at 7am, my creaky knees barely making it out of bed. My knees are very stiff and sometimes I worry that they will give way on my way down the stairs.
“Oddly enough, it’s my right knee that gives me more trouble than my left. I had eight operations on my left knee and none on my right, however there is more fluid in my right knee.
“It feels sometimes that my knees cannot support me and could collapse at any moment. Getting out of the car causes the same sensation.
I take Arthrotec for the pain, it is for arthritic joints and it helps.
“The knees and back are a constant reminder of football but, unlike medals, these are not memories I like to recall.”
Langan lives in Peterborough with his wife, Dawn. They have three children.
“I work for the local council, in the Mayor’s office,” he said. “My job is very basic and, thankfully, not very challenging.
“I am required to make tea and coffee for the mayor and any guests. I help the mayor put on his gown and I am often required to give a tour of the townhouse. I had to learn the history of the townhouse for this and I am still learning it, to be honest.
“When I finish work, myself and Dawn go for a walk around a park that is right beside where I live. It is important to get a small bit of exercise for the knee and it keeps me relatively fit.
“There will come a day when I will not be able to do this walk. I worry at the thought of it.
“Every three months I visit the surgeon for a check-up. He keeps telling me that I need to walk more as it helps with the flexibility. I often think he forgets how much pain I am in.
“Sitting is not good for the knees, I know that. They get stiff and I worry sometimes I will not be able to get up from my chair.
“The surgeon has told me I need new knees but that means three to six months off work and I cannot afford to do that at the moment.
“I worry a lot these days, as does my wife. She worries that we need to move to a one-storey house, as soon enough the knees will give and I will not make it up the stairs.
“Luckily the job is not very physical. It is very different from being a footballer but I am very grateful to have it and I enjoy it.”
TOMORROW: Regrets over the way my Derby career ended and the day I was asked to man-mark Maradona.