MAY 2, 1998, was not one of the greatest days in Torquay United's history.
Kevin Hodges' Gulls lost 2-1 at Leyton Orient, when just a point would have been enough to clinch automatic promotion on the last day of the season.
Goalkeeper Kenny Veysey was also sent off, which ultimately cost him his place at the Play-Off Final against Colchester at Wembley.
All that was bad enough, but it was just the football.
On the same afternoon, in a dark, dirty lock-up less than a mile away from Brisbane Road, they found Justin Fashanu dead. He'd cut his wrists, written a farewell note and then hung himself.
Everyone who'd trained, played, travelled or laughed with Justin at Torquay only six years before knew he was not your average Joe. He had demons and issues which most of us mercifully manage to avoid.
He was clever at hiding them. And that, of course, is often part of the problem.
I remember driving home over Salisbury Plain that night, so disappointed that a damn good team with great guys in it had missed out when they so deserved to go up.
Somewhere on the A303 I pulled over for some petrol and paused to give myself a metaphorical slap round the cheeks.
United were in the Play-Offs. There were more big games and exciting days to come.
But not for 'Fash'.
Clarke Carlisle, formerly of Blackpool, QPR, Leeds, Watford, Burnley, York, last season Northampton Town and chairman of the PFA, recently hosted a second BBC TV documentary on the mental problems that professional footballers can face, sometimes leading to the ultimate tragedy of suicide.
Carlisle tried it himself once.
Any United supporters who watched the programme, which covered the suicide of Gary Speed among others, can't have helped thinking immediately of Martin Ling, who was struck down with a stress-related illness midway through last season.
Every case is different, of course, and those of us who worked with Martin on a daily basis may have felt that he hadn't been on top of the world for a while. But we never realised exactly how he was feeling.
Thankfully, he is now recovered and looking for another managerial job.
Professional football is driven by passion, on the terraces and on the pitch, and it produces huge lows as well as highs.
In the dressing room, on the training ground and on match-days, players and managers have to prove themselves on an almost daily basis, to each other or the public.
It can be a great life, but it can also be a short one and an underlying insecurity often haunts the most vulnerable.
Most of the time players cope with it, or try to, on a diet of physical effort, talent, lads' camaraderie and the thickness of their skins.
The vast majority do cope. Some don't.
Older Gulls fans will remember the appalling abuse which was hurled at Fashanu on away grounds during the 15 months (1991-93) in which he wore a Torquay shirt.
He had, of course, 'come out' not long before, and United was the first League club he played for after he announced that he was homosexual.
Justin could be his own worst enemy at times, but it was still remarkable that he was strong enough to take the flak, racist as well as homophobic, for so long.
A new biography of 'Fash' has just been published, called 'Forbidden Forward: The Justin Fashanu Story' by Nick Baker (Reid Publishing £14.99 hardback).
Abandoned as children, Justin and his younger brother John were fostered by Norwich couple Alf and Betty Jackson.
After showing early talent as boxers, the Fashanus both became footballers, Justin's exploits with Norwich City earning him a £1 million move to Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest in 1981.
Baker has gone to great lengths to research the private details behind the public facts, as Fashanu's career later went down a rocky slope littered with injuries and the debris of his own self-destructive nature.
Baker devotes two chapters to his eventful time at Plainmoor, and former United owners Mike and Sue Bateson provide several revealing insights to the way things were then.
When he was in the mood, Justin was still a formidable force on the pitch, but his life away from the club could be chaotic.
He often referred to himself in the third person, as if he was talking about someone else, he was obsessed with how he appeared to the rest of the world and he never allowed even well-intentioned friends or colleagues get too close to him.
He committed suicide in that East End shed, on the run from a US police charge of sexual assault on a teenager.
To many of us, it seemed as if 'Fash' had been on the run, from one problem or another, for most of his life.