Yesterday, 31 March, marked 17 years since David Rocastle lost his battle to cancer aged only 33.
It’s the perfect time to remember his time at Arsenal. In addition to the audio piece we brought you on the site earlier, we also have a great graphic below, designed especially to mark this date.
Rocky was a huge fan of Arsenal and a Gooners’ hero.
He spent 10 years at the club during the 80s, playing in 270 matches and scoring 33 goals. It doesn’t sound like much but he was a very exciting player. He mostly played in midfield or as right wing, and had an immense amount of talent.
There is an interesting quote from David Dein from when he first saw Rocky in the training. He compared his dribbles to the Brazilian style which was as good as it gets!
Ian Wright, among many Arsenal players, admired how much Rocky loved the club. On his first night at Arsenal, they stayed up till 4 am and talked about the club they both loved so much. As Paul Williams says in ‘Arsenal’s Greatest Number Sevens‘:
Speaking to me in April 2014, Ian said that once Arsenal had come in for him, “Nothing could have turned my head from Arsenal, because David Rocastle was there.” I think that tells you just what “Wrighty” thought of his friend.
On his league debut for the club, Wrighty bagged himself a hat trick, with Rocky adding the other goal in a 4-1 win at Southampton. What did Wrighty think about this dreamlike debut “The greatest 90 minutes of my career.”
It has been well documented how the two friends stayed up all night after Ian signed for Arsenal, talking about what a great club it was. Perhaps it was then that Rocky told Wrighty that if he could score against Spurs, then he “would be in for life”. Something he knew about, I guess! Of course, Ian did score and, after that plus another 184 goals for the club, Ian was very much in for life with the Arsenal faithful.
Rocky’s most famous quote is about how special Arsenal are. Many still quote him even today – Remember what you are, who you are and what you represent.
His Arsenal legend status was immortalised in 2009, when an image of him was painted outside the new Emirates Stadium, along with 31 other Gunners legends.
Rocky will never be forgotten.