Oh Rocky Rocky….A Tribute To Arsenal Legend David Roacastle
Submitted by Guest Alex Smith.
Rocastle was born at Lewisham on 2 May 1967.
In the summer of 1983 he joined Arsenal as an apprentice and spent two years in the youth team before signing a professional contract just before the start of the 1985-86 season.
Rocastle, or ‘Rocky’ as he became known, made his Arsenal debut in a goalless draw against Newcastle on 28 September 1985 and soon became a regular member of the first team.
In 1987, just before his 20th birthday, he helped Arsenal to a famous League Cup Final victory over Liverpool, and their first trophy in 8 years.
This was followed up by another League Cup Final appearance a year later, but this time Arsenal surrendered a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 to a last minute ‘atters winner. Despite that defeat, we were on the up and along with other starlets like Tony ,Mers and Thomas, Rocky was part of a young Arsenal team that were destined for greatness.
Show Us Your Medals?
In 1989, Rocky and his teammates tasted major glory, winning the clubs first League Championship since 1971 and in dramatic fashion, with a goal in the last minute of the last game of the season, against their nearest rivals the dippers.
It remains the most exciting finish to a league season ever and will probably never be matched.
This success was followed up 2 years later when we once again were crowned champions, this time in even more convincing fashion, losing just one game all season. Unfortunately, injury meant that Rocky’s contribution was limited to 18 appearances that season.
Did he do it for England?
By the age of 24, Rocky had been an integral part of a team that had picked up 3 trophies in 4 years. His huge contributions were well documented and on 14th September 1988, Rocky was selected to play for England for the first time, in a 1-0 victory over Denmark, which as provided debuts for England greats Paul Gascoigne and Des Walker.
Then what happened?
Rocky was destined for a long and successful career on both the domestic and international stages. However, in the early 1990s, he suffered a series of injuries which began to hamper his game and in 1992 he was transferred to Leeds, much to the dismay of all Arsenal fans, by whom he was adored.
What happened after Rocky left Us?
After leaving Arsenal, Rocky played for a number of other clubs, including Leeds, Manchester City and Chelsea, however, the fans of these clubs only saw the Rocky magic in fits and starts as his career continued to be hampered by injury.
In 1999, after further short term spells at Norwich City, Hull City and Malaysian outfit Sabah, Rocky succumbed to his injuries and was forced to retire.
What did Rocky mean to Arsenal?
In all Rocky made 14 appearances for his country, a staggeringly low total for a man with his talent Despite leaving Arsenal in 1992, Rocky forever remained a part of the Arsenal family.
The fans loved him not only because of his brilliance on the pitch, but because he played the game with a smile on face and his heart on his sleeve, and more than that, he always conducted himself as a prince and a gentleman.
Tell us more about Rocky’s illness
In February 2001, Rocky announced that he was suffering from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the immune system. He underwent a course of chemotherapy and thousands of fans prayed for his recovery, but this was a battle that was too much, even for David Rocastle. Rocky passed away on 31st March 2001, aged just 33.
What did David Rocastle represent to you?
David Rocastle represented everything that was good about football. Honesty, passion, teamwork, commitment, and of course, sheer brilliance, and I believe that this is why he remains in the hearts and minds of all Gooners who were privileged to see him play and who continue to sing his name, even today. IMHO
Leave your Rocky tributes in the comments section below……..
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