The term legend is often thrown around for anyone who does anything remotely good for a football team, but for David Rocastle, he is truly an icon at Arsenal.
Rocastle, or Rocky as he was known as by the fans, is often regarded as one of the best players to ever wear the red and white of Arsenal.
The midfielder was part of the famous ’89 Arsenal side that beat Liverpool at Anfield 2-0 to claim the First Division title on the final day of the season having needed to win by that scoreline, and prior to that the England international was named in the PFA Team of the Season and awarded Barclays Young Eagle award in the 1986/87 end of season award show when he was just 20.
Rocastle would go on to win another league title with the Gunners, this time in the 1990/91 season, however, his impact on the pitch was limited due to a knee injury that kept him out over the course of the campaign.
Despite returning to full fitness the following season and playing 39 games for the Gunners, Rocastle was sold to Leeds United in the summer of 1992, a move that fans, players and journalists disapproved of given his influence and importance at Arsenal, and at just 25, the best was yet to come.
Although many expected Arsenal to regret their decision to sell Rocastle, it proved to be the right, though still unpopular, call. The midfielder was unable to make an impact at Elland Road, and within two seasons he was on the move again, this time to Manchester City.
Subsequent spells at Chelsea, Norwich and in Malaysia with Sabah rounded off Rocastle’s career, who despite not amounting to much following his departure from north London was still considered a legend at the club.
In 10 years at Arsenal Rocky made 277 appearances and scored 34 goals for his boyhood club, and then at aged 33 on the 31st March 2001, Rocastle passed away a month after it was announced he had been diagnosed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Rocastle is remembered fondly at the club. As well as being one of the legends to be on the side of the Emirates Stadium, whenever Arsenal play at home around the time of his passing, the game is dedicated to him and the David Rocastle Trust, a charity set up to provide for Rocastle’s family as well as do work in the community.
Rocastle was honoured at Arsenal’s crucial league game against Newcastle, and his name was sung from the seventh minute onward in memory of one of Arsenal’s greatest players.
Arsenal fans, where does Rocky rank in your all-time favourite players? Let us know!
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