Taming of a villain
A MESSAGE OF HOPE
Taming of a villain
When I first met Allen Langham, and he started telling me his story, I quickly realised that Taming of a villain was going to be an important book. There are quite a lot of biographies that seem similar, and you might think that this one is no different.
His start to life was tough. Then when he was only 14 years old, he found his Mum dead on the settee of a cerebral haemorrhage. Things went from bad to worse. Despite that, he signed his first contract with a professional rugby club at 16 years of age.
‘But I was already on a thorny path which wasn’t going to be easy to get off. I had got into trouble with the police at just fourteen over shoplifting, for which I received a caution. Now I was playing rugby for a big club, but I was really living two lives because, at the same time. I was out on the town virtually every night, which was certainly not conducive to professional sport. And that’s when my life started to unravel.’
Due to his natural talent, Allen Langham was able to combine these two lifestyles for a while. But unfortunately he also had a particular talent for fighting! His life was like a rollercoaster fuelled by anger. He had reached the second team at his club, and was even a substitute for the first team, but he was about to throw it all away. After several fracas, and serious assaults on police officers, his club cancelled his contract, and he started a fifteen year revolving door relationship with prison. And with that, also a love – hate relationship with drug addiction, as a way to try to escape his anger and torment.
‘I had lost all meaning and purpose in life. I was distraught, lost, ashamed, and broken as a man. My reputation was in tatters and my family had had enough. My children were once again fatherless. I had survived heroin, living on the streets of London, and six prison sentences, but this time I was truly at rock bottom. I couldn’t see a way out and felt totally defeated … I was emotionally destroyed, and had nothing left.’
It was then that his path crossed with Love Life UK, a Christian prison ministry founded by a professional footballer. He had a profound encounter with Jesus.
This is the point at which this autobiography deviates from the typical narrative, for he continues his story. Allen Langham was a new Christian, but the process of finding freedom from his lifestyle and anger was a long journey with many ups and down. The remaining 40% of Taming of a villain describes this struggle, and the many people that God sent in to his life to help him to find true freedom in Christ.
Now he loves nothing more than going into prisons to share his story with those who sit where he once sat.