Exclusive

Rocky Ten

By Robert Exley

Thursday sees the tenth anniversary of the sad passing of David Rocastle

‘Icon’ according to most dictionary definitions is a word that means ‘An important and enduring symbol, representation or picture of a sacred or sanctified personage, traditionally venerated’. Arsenal are a side who have spent every season since the first world war in the top division of English football and more often than not in the top half of that select elite, therefore you’d think several contenders for the prize of Arsenal’s most iconic post war hero. There is a strong argument however that this title belongs to David Rocastle. The reasons why however are not as clear as one might imagine they would be for choosing the equivalent icon of say Liverpool, Man Utd, Tottenham or Chelsea.

Respect

There is no doubting that Rocky was a tremendously skilful player, it is doubtful though that he would make the all-time greatest Arsenal XI, being that we have had players like Henry, Brady, Pires, Bergkamp and Vieira who were strong contenders as the world’s best player in their respective positions during their era – something you probably wouldn’t have said of Rocastle in the late 80s/early 90s. Of course his tragic early demise may also be cited as a possible reason for acquiring this title – though in Alan Ball and George Armstrong we’ve also had players who passed on relatively early. Also, Rocky also still commanded huge respect from Arsenal fans in the nine year period between his leaving Highbury and his untimely death, as shown by the standing ovation on his Highbury return as a substitute during a hard fought FA Cup tie with Leeds in 1993 where Arsenal were clawing back a two goal deficit. True, we usually show respect when a former hero lines up against us, though it wasn’t always a guarantee as his contemporary Mickey Thomas had been booed when lining up for Liverpool against Arsenal just twelve months earlier.

Rocky was a black footballer back in the days when they were a rarity in the English game, however he was far from the first Afro-Caribbean Gooner – Brendan Batson pre-dates Rocky to this honour by twelve and a half years prior to Rocky’s debut in an Arsenal shirt. Others have also remarked how he was Arsenal’s only skilful player at a time when dour football was the order of the day. This too is however wide of the mark as among Rocky’s contemporaries, Charlie Nicholas, Michael Thomas, Paul Davis, Brian Marwood and Anders Limpar could all play a bit too. If anything the dour football followed his departure in 1992. Also, with regards to longevity on the pitch Rocky falls a long way below the ‘Mr Arsenal’ category of George Armstrong, David O’Leary, Tony Adams, even Ray Parlour. What then is the secret behind the Rocky phenomenon, as he certainly encapsulates something Gooners have long since held dear.

David Rocastle first lined up for Arsenal early in 1985/86, a period one year short of the current trophy drought; however the quality of the produce on show was far inferior to that of today. Even though it barely cost much to enter Highbury and people could freely sing, stand and consume alcohol at the ground the air around, Highbury had been a very ramose one. That summer saw no signings whatsoever, let alone big name signings to excite the faithful. Not that another big name player was something that we were crying out for, on the day Rocky lined up alongside seven players capped by the home nations and two European Cup winners on big wages, though they were derided as the ‘song and dance’ brigade in Jon Spurling’s written account of Arsenal in the 80s - ‘All Guns Blazing’. Spurling also attributes the slow trickle through of youth around the turn of the year as the beginnings of the modern era of Arsenal as a trophy winning outfit, coming to fruition in 1987 via Rocky’s semi-final winner at the Lane. Rocky therefore is intertwined in the minds of many with the youthful invigoration of Arsenal from around the mid-80s onwards seeing the process through to success at the end of the decade, though unlike say Tony Adams, he was not associated with later successes as a ripened professional. He played his final Arsenal game the very day he reached his quarter of a century landmark birthday, therefore Rocky’s image in the Red & White of Arsenal remains forever young.

The period of Rocky’s debut off the pitch also plays some significance behind his symbolism not just to Arsenal fans but many others outside of Highbury. The week that followed September 28th 1985 was one that has social significance in both Rocky’s native South London with the Brixton Riots and a week later four miles from his adopted North London spiritual home at the Broadwater Farm Estate. As part of the first generation of Afro-Caribbean kids born in England to West Indian migrant parents, Rocky had been a part of a beleaguered section of the population. Anyone wishing to acquire some insight over 25 years on would do well to view the 1976 British feature film ‘Pressure’. Though 1985, almost a decade on from this time piece movie, saw an even worse state of affairs with young black unemployment rising to as high as 55%, as well as the ‘Sus Laws’ resulting from police exemption from the 1976 Race Relations Act, which meant that black youth had felt themselves to be unjustly targeted and criminalised by the police. The fallout from the horrific events of that week with PC Blakelock’s murder saw black youth collectively demonised further in the nation’s press with the ‘bogey man’ image of Winston Silcott’s police photo shot often dominating the front pages.

However as young Rocky came to prominence at Arsenal at roughly the same time as Broadwater Farm’s aftermath, he cut a rather human figure that contradicted the often dehumanising folk devil built up in the public imagination toward his Afro-Caribbean peer group in the right-leaning popular press. If Rocky himself ever went on record expressing any political or social opinions, other than along with Michael Thomas endorsing former Arsenal educational adviser and mentor to the youth players, Kate Howey as the Labour candidate in the Vauxhall by-election of 1989, then I can neither recall nor retrieve it. Often however, a well-balanced individual can defeat social prejudice merely by being themselves in a way which is equally as effective as any grand gesture. Times Journalist Martin Samuel once recalled a post-match conversation with David Rocastle in Miami after the ‘unofficial World Club championship’ match against Argentinian side Independiente in 1989, where he informed him that the opposition players only seemed to know one English word – N*****, which he believed they had learned especially for the occasion. Rocky’s measured response however was a top class performance, scoring two goals in the process as Arsenal won 2-1 in a temperature that topped 100 degrees in the Florida summer sun.

At Highbury itself, Arsenal had not suffered from the National Front element among its fans to the same extent as other London clubs had done during this period. However to say that we had been totally immune would be equally misleading. Sean Hanson’s When Saturday Comes article on Rocky’s passing a decade ago had made the claim that ‘black players, such as Chris Whyte and Paul Davis, would occasionally bear the brunt of the crowd’s anger after another pedestrian performance’ from the early 80s side and that ‘one game in particular when a couple of old gits wheedled and whined beside me about how the Arsenal was just not the same now, and it was obvious that we were crap if we had to rely on picking “darkies”.

David Rocastle however quickly became a North Bank hero not long after his introduction to the first team. Also, for someone still in his teenage years whose prospects were far greater than the vast majority of his peer group regardless of their ethnicity, he seemed to possess an astonishingly grounded persona. Rocky, who lost his own father when he was only five, came from a tight knit but not very well off family who were greatly aided by his new found income as pro footballer. He also was the founding member of a low key footballing family dynasty – his cousin Craig played for Chelsea and was part of a Kansas City Wizards side that beat Man. Utd last pre-season. Also his brother Stephen was on Norwich City’s books. Also while the ‘Tuesday club’ lived it up during Arsenal’s period of success, Rocky himself was a family man relatively early, his first child Melissa born during Arsenal’s first title year in 1989 when he was only 22.

Despite his silky skills Rocky was also no luxury player, he never shirked from the battle when up against the tough tacklers of the era like Steve McMahon or Stuart Pearce and always nailed his colours to the mast when the going got tough. As this season we reel from two Old Trafford defeats where Arsenal lack the competitive spark to such an extent that Alex Ferguson can’t be bothered to hate us anymore, it is worth remembering Rocky was there at Ground Zero when the United-Arsenal A-bomb and its eighteen year fall out first detonated. In January 1987 Rocky was sent off for the only time in his career for retaliating to a foul by Norman Whiteside. Even Fergie admits in hindsight that ‘it was one of those games when big Norman did about 45 fouls and never got booked. How he got away with it I’ll never know’. Nearly three years on Rocky also played a part in the 21 man battle of Old Trafford, instances of violent conduct with Rocky however were rare. Of 1990’s ‘Battle of Old Trafford he explains in mitigation that ‘It was our team-mate, our little blood brother, in trouble. They were kicking Nigel (Winterburn) like a nightclub brawl. That's what got us upset. If it was just a bad tackle, you wouldn't go in like that, no chance. But when I saw them kicking Nigel I ran over thinking, 'You can't have this!' We went in there and we stuck up for each other. One also needs to see Rocky’s battling qualities within the context of prevailing attitudes of the era – as late as 1993 Crystal Palace chairman Ron Noades had still felt comfortable explaining that ‘while black players were effective in temperate weather, in winter you need a few of the maybe hard white men to carry the artistic black players through’.

At the age of 22 the 1989 title win at Anfield looked like it would be the first of many. As this was also the era of the post-Heysel ban, many sides on the continent took an interest in trying to lure English talent away with the promise of European Football. European champions AC Milan according to reports had took an interest in Rocky around this time, as too did a Marseille side fresh from stealing Chris Waddle away from White Hart Lane. Sadly though, Anfield ‘89 turned out to be the zenith of Rocastle’s career. After scoring on the opening day of the 1989/90 season, he failed to find the net again until the penultimate game of the season. At Millwall in November of that season he also cheated death thanks to lifesaving treatment from Gary Lewin after swallowing his tongue as a result of an accidental collision with future Arsenal player Jimmy Carter. He was dropped from the side in late December due to poor form, but was praised by George Graham when earning a recall the following month for his response to being axed; however an injury late on in the season denied him the opportunity to impress Bobby Robson for a place at Italia 90. Though Arsenal regained the title again in 1990/91, injury and poor form struck and Rocky clearly expressed his frustration at watching victory from the side lines on that year’s end of season video.

Luckily the 1991/92 season, his final season at Highbury, turned out to be the Rocky ‘Renaissance’ year, allowing Rocastle to exit on a relative high. He had regained his first team place back after he was switched to a central midfield position, turning out noted performances such as his tremendous chip of Peter Schmeichelat Old Trafford. An England recall also followed, though he failed to receive a call up for what turned out to be England’s disastrous group phase exit at Euro ‘92. After assessing the long term effects of Rocky’s knee, as well as revamping Arsenal’s style of play George Graham saw Rocky as surplus to requirements at Highbury. Players recalled a long conversation between the two in George’s car at London Colney where Rocky exited the vehicle in tears after being informed that GG had accepted a £2million bid from Leeds Utd.

The next six years saw Rocky also turn out for Man City and Chelsea as well as loan spells at Norwich and Hull, plus a spell in Malaysia. However seeing Rocky in anything other than Arsenal shirt never looked right in the eyes of a Gooner, he did however spare us the trauma of seeing him in a Tottenham shirt. They put forward an offer back in 1993, but even though he failed to make a breakthrough at Leeds he flatly refused to talk to Spurs out of respect for Arsenal fans. Ironically his passing in 2001 came on the morning of a North London Derby, and his death was announced by former team mate Ian Wright on his Radio Five live show. A childhood friend of Rocastle, Wrighty broke down in tears on air. The minute’s silence in his honour later that day was impeccably observed by all at Highbury, including the lilywhites - which just goes to show that 31st March 2001 saw the passing of no ordinary Gooner, or for that matter no ordinary footballer. The following Monday, Michael Hart in the London Evening Standard described Rocky as ‘a throwback to a bygone age; a young footballer who retained a charm and sense of perspective at a time when the egotists were about to take over the dressing rooms’, which if anything comes the closest to neatly answering the question as to why of all the talent who have turned out in an Arsenal shirt for the last 65 years, it is David Rocastle who is Arsenal’s most iconic player of the post war era.

29th March 2011 09:00:00

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Comments and Reaction

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Website Editor  9:31am 29th Mar 2011

Rocky was an favourite of mine when I started going to watch Arsenal games on a regular basis. The way he embodied the spirit of the club puts certain of the current players to shame. However, I remember the minute’s silence for him at that Arsenal v Spurs game in 2011. And I have to say, credit to the Spurs fans that day. They showed real class by respecting the minute fully. A very moving memory. - Post No. 4567


mark  9:44am 29th Mar 2011

i was at white hart lane when rocastle and allinson rescued us from 1-0 down in the semis of the league cup. rocastle was a monster that night against on paper a very good spurs team of hoddle, allen etc. i was also at old trafford for the 2-0 defeat when rocastle and viv anderson took on the man u team. it was that incident that led fergy to buy viv anderson from us as he couldnt buy rocky. viv nurtured rocastle and micky thomas in those early years. rocky was a class act. he could nutmeg you or he could meet you 50:50 in a tackle. RIP Rocky - i for one remember you very well you were my favourite player of that time and supporting arsenal then was such a passion filled time because of the characters we had on the pitch like rocky, ian wright etc. - Post No. 4569


Dean  10:02am 29th Mar 2011

Liverpool supporter here, superb article. Rocastle is one of those players that reminds me of the romance of football before SKY came in and destroyed pretty much every last drop of romance from the game. - Post No. 4570


Revgoon89  10:37am 29th Mar 2011

Brilliant article, how badly we need someone like Rocky now. RIP to an Arsenal legend. - Post No. 4572


The Happening  10:51am 29th Mar 2011

@Robert Respect for a refreshing piece! Players like these serve to remind of the timeless beauty of this club, irrespective of the here and now! Watching the U Tube almost brought tears to my eyes, RIP David Rocastle, No.7 in heaven! - Post No. 4573


John Evans  10:53am 29th Mar 2011

A player from an era where the game belonged to the fans. The players had a link to the fans and it all seemed to mean so much more than it does today. Sure players like RVP and Cesc have more raw talent than the Gooners on show in the mid to late eighties but the level of heart and commitment that these guys showed for the club they played for compared to the modern day squad should leave the current first team players embarrassed and to some extent ashamed. I for one can not see a link between the fans and its players ever returning to the levels of the eighties/early nineties and the reason behing this shift is the level of earnings the players now demand. They live in a completely different world to the one we live in and therefore the link between us has broken. Rocastle would have earned more than the average man in the street but he would have still been at a stage where he needed to perform well week in week out as his next contract would have been vital to him and his family where as if you are on 100k a week in the modern day game and you go down a level because you cant be bothered to perform well enough some other club will gladly pay you 70k a week anyway so who cares? Just look at Ballotelli etc. Great article and one that has nostalgia dripping from every word. I personally have not enjoyed reading any other article posted on this site more than this one. - Post No. 4574


Stevesam  11:50am 29th Mar 2011

Most iconic player of the post war era - Tony Adams. More memorable, Geordie Armstrong who gave great service to The Arsenal.'Rocky' was a decent player but not an icon. - Post No. 4576


AugustusCaesar  11:55am 29th Mar 2011

He was doing step-overs when Christiano Ronaldo was still in nappies. He felt like something of an original did Rocastle with his step-overs and turns. Has he ever been credited as an originator of any of the skills we used to see? That piece of skill just before the afforementioned chip at Old Trafford was jaw droppingly good. A great player. RIP Rocky. - Post No. 4577


Bad-Mick  11:55am 29th Mar 2011

What a truly brilliant and moving article - Post No. 4578


willieyoungsgoldensyrup  12:19pm 29th Mar 2011

as anthea said to brucie "nice piece" - Post No. 4579


ollyarsenal  12:24pm 29th Mar 2011

According to perry groves book and a chat with perry myself,when rocky was told he was been sold he started crying,if the current team had the spirit and passion rocky showed on the pitch there would be trophies to show for.. rocky was a man who loved arsenal as much as a loyal supporter!! true arsenal legend,,rip rocky,,never forgotten!! - Post No. 4580


Sammynelsonsunderpants  13:06pm 29th Mar 2011

RIP Rocky - a true Gooner legend - Post No. 4581


Website Editor  13:45pm 29th Mar 2011

post 4567, when i typed 'However, I remember the minute’s silence for him at that Arsenal v Spurs game in 2011', i meant, of course, 2001. - Post No. 4583


AugustusCaesar  14:23pm 29th Mar 2011

Also, much is said about the current Barcelona team's ability to close the opposition down and get the ball back very quickly but George's team of the late 80s was the first I remember that 'hunted in packs' - of which Rocastle was a key player. He, Michael Thomas, Paul Davis and Kevin Richardson were all tenacious players who'd get the ball back as quickly as they lost it. They were a joy to watch the '89 team. - Post No. 4585


Brigham  15:05pm 29th Mar 2011

Whenever I read, hear or see anything to do with OUR Rocky, I always well up and remember him with great affection, much as I would one of my own family. Great article and still finding it difficult to believe its almost 10 years ago. It would be nice if the club have a minutes silence for him on Saturday. RIP David Rocky Rocastle - Post No. 4586


Tony  18:25pm 29th Mar 2011

Rocky good player very good but most iconic player of the post war era.Definately not.That goes to legends like Adams Vieira Bergkamp Henry Brady and McLintock.His early death should not cloud the facts.Its ironic that on the day of his death Robert Pires who was wearing the number 7 shirt scored a goal Rocky would have been proud of - Post No. 4589


Nugs  18:33pm 29th Mar 2011

stevesam what r u talking about son, you couldnt have watched many games around that era because rocky was certainly better than decent, he was one of the players that helped pull us out of the mediocracy of the mid 80's , show some respect! - Post No. 4590


Mark  19:04pm 29th Mar 2011

I remember seeing his debut against Newcastle He dribbled the ball 60 yards through the centre of the pitch. It always stuck with me because I has seen 4 years of safety first dull football beforehand and I thought things were going to get better, They were but it took another 2 years. - Post No. 4591


Steve_O  20:07pm 29th Mar 2011

WHL'87 the park lane were shouting "goal !" as soon as Rocky chested that ball down. Never mind it was on his wrong foot with an England keeper to beat in the last minute. Even on his rare off days you knew he was giving 100%, that's what why he was "one of us". icon definitely. - Post No. 4592


fozzys mate  20:16pm 29th Mar 2011

A lovely piece. My childhood memories are of first enduring the lazy primadonas of the late Don Howe era. Like so many the GG revolution led by rocky and ta inspired me to buy my first season ticket in the mid 80s. In those days GG taught them that playing for Arsenal was an achievement in itself and meant something. I don't think I have seen so many grown men cry as on that saddest of days in 2001 but how apt that it was against spurs. In th melee post Rockys goal at the lane in 87 I lost a shoe and hobbled home down the A10 with the worlds biggest smile. God bless you rockstar! - Post No. 4593


Steve  20:16pm 29th Mar 2011

Like others have posted, memories of Rocky will always take me back to era when football was football and "PLC" was a meaningless phrase in relation to our great club. God bless you Rocky, and RIP. - Post No. 4594


nugs  21:53pm 29th Mar 2011

just want to add that players like ta and geordie armstrong gave greater service and were better players but lets face it rocky would have spent his whole career with us if it was down to him, and i think the fans reaction when he was sold said enough! his goal at anfield in the league cup in 89(i think) stands out for me - Post No. 4597


Bergkamp10  10:25am 30th Mar 2011

Rocky was an absolute hero to me watching arsenal as a kid, one of those rare players who played like a fan on the pitch, and puts todays prima donnas to shame. I was gutted when we sold him and gutted again when we lost him for good. Gone but never forgotten, and yes for a gooner of my age one of the biggeest icons of arsenals history. RIP Rocky, god bless you mate. - Post No. 4611


@buxtongooner  11:22am 30th Mar 2011

Brilliant piece. Brought a tear to my eye. RIP Rocky. - Post No. 4617


Darren Clark  14:05pm 30th Mar 2011

Wonderfull! Now full of tears, Rocky was and will always be a great. I always preteded to be him in the school playground despite protests from so called friends saying i should be a white player but of course i didnt care as i only saw a footballer. Will always remember arriving at Highbury on 31st March 2001 to find out that Rocky had passed away, i couldnt hold back despite always trying to be macho. I do howver remember some spuds fans didnt observe the minutes silence and this has been confirmed since. - Post No. 4627


James  22:01pm 30th Mar 2011

I remember Rocky's debut - Newcastle United 28 Sept 1985. Bloody awful match lit up by this bright new star. Rocky was the first player to make his debut who was born after me (I was born Nov 1966, he was May 1967). On that day, I realised my chances of pulling on an Arsenal shirt had gone forever, so Rocky lived my dreams for me. But it wasn't the Spurs match on the day died that I recall - it was a couple of days when we played Valencia in the Champions League Quarter Final. At half time, they played a video on the Jumbotron screens in tribute to Rocky. Lee Dixon was warming up with the other subs and they all stopped knocking the ball about and stared at the screens. And then a player (Oleg Luzhny I think) ran down the tunnel and got the entire team from the dressing room to the touchline to watch the video. There were grown men weeping all around me, myself included and Lee & Ray Parlour were also wiping away the tears. They went out 2nd half and tore Valencia apart. It was a miracle they only scored twice - should have been five or six. It's fair to say that on that night, they did it for Rocky. A true Arsenal legend - always in our thoughts. - Post No. 4646


Herd  3:32am 31st Mar 2011

A good piece ruined by a throw away insult to Arsenal fans suggesting that Chris Whyte and Paul Davis were subjected to racist abuse from the crowd . I have seen people groan at Davis in his early career cos he wasn't playing very well,I can assure u it wasn't racist. Arsenals support has been at the very forefront of the battle against racism in sport long before it was taken up by those in the game itself. This could lead to Physical confrontations with the street troops of the NF not to mention the Police whose Institutional racism is well documented. I'm sure in a crowd of 40,000 plus there may have some racists but to suggest that people where abused because of their colour at ARSENAL is an insult and the anecdotal quote from someone else just shows that author is talking complete rubbish of which he has no personal knowledge or evidence of ! Contrary to the Authors writings Rocky was an Arsenal player not a "Black Player" . His skin pigment has no bearing on us but his "colour" for us was red and white yellow and blue . Clearly the idiot has no idea of race relations amongst the working class masses that made up a very large percentage of the fan vase in those times. I demand an immediate retraction of this slur on our fans ! - Post No. 4651


Robert Exley  11:58am 31st Mar 2011

Hello again Mr Herd. My comment is a direct quote from the author of the WSC article, it's not my personal testimony. My first attendance at Arsenal was in 1985, I therefore have no direct knowledge before that period, hence the reason why I am sourcing it from elsewhere - I personally have encountered very little racism from our fans. If you wish to provide us with an account that differs from the WSC article of life at Highbury in the early 80s, you're more than welcome and I am all ears. My article here, as well as my article a couple of months back in the printed version of the Gooner, states clearly that Arsenal were atypical compared to other London clubs in respect of race-relations at that time. The point I raised was that Arsenal were not totally immune from it and nor were they likely to be in 1985 because race relations in London in general at this point were pretty poor. I've long since personally met Arsenal fans who are still pretty racist a good 25 years after these lads came through - they're not representative of us as a club, they're nowhere near the majority of us Arsenal fans, but they're were there and they held/may still even hold pre-conceptions of certain ethnic groups. The point I was trying to make - and TBH might not have got it over properly so I'll have another try - is that the professionalism and exemplary conduct that Rocky upheld on and off the pitch, as well as other young Black players like Davis and Thomas, went some way to counter pre-conceptions - particularly with a younger generation of Arsenal fans and also with parts of our fanbase that sprawled throughout the home counties that never encountered non-white people on a daily basis, but would often be fed second hand prejudices either from relatives that still lived in inner London or the influential popular press. It's one aspect, among the many others I've highlighted, behind why David Rocastle remains an iconic figure among Arsenal fans. So I hope that goes some way to clearing things up Mr Herd. - Post No. 4661


Jimmy  12:09pm 31st Mar 2011

@Herd (Post 4651) I think both yourself and the article with Robert has referenced are accurate to an extent. I was a regular on the North Bank Topside in the early 80s (wasn't often there were 40,000 in the ground though as you suggest) and have to report that there were more than a handful of people who were very prejudiced with their views of the likes of Paul Davis and Chris Whyte. It was a very small minority of fans, but unfortunately quite a vocal one. However, as time passed, it was pleasing to see how they would be increasingly shouted down whenever they tried to vent their racist chants. Like you say, there are always going to be some unwanted elements in a large crowd. One incident I remember in particular was on the way back from Anfield after a League Cup game in the 88-89 season when Rocky (God bless his soul) had scored a screamer of a goal to earn us a draw. I was unlcuky enough to be sat next to one of our less desirable fans on the Travel Club train on the way back to London and he informed me that we'd lost that night because goals by "them" (meaning black players) don't count. I asked him if he was serious and he said absolutely. He also said that if any more broke into the team he was going to stop supporting the club and find an all-white team to support. Oddly enough, I still seem him occasionally at the Grove so I assume his views have softened with the passing of time. - Post No. 4662


Gare Kekeke  15:39pm 31st Mar 2011

Great piece. Before Gooners worldwide make 'legends' out of Eboue, Bendtner & other limited players currently playing for our great club, they should learn their history on true Arsenal legends in the recent past such as Rocky, Wrighty, Merson and the famous back five and not dismiss them because they were all at the club long before Arsene Wenger. These players and more have provided long standing Gooners like myself with plenty of memories and have the (winners) medal collection to back up their abilities. Rocky played in two title winnning sides in three seasons, Eboue has yet to win a trophy in 6+ years as an Arsenal and yet some Gooners would have him as a 'legend'. - Post No. 4672


Jimmy The Gooner of Norbury  17:35pm 31st Mar 2011

RIP YOU LEGEND - Post No. 4677


Tony Porter  16:01pm 1st Apr 2011

A great article. I remember when he missed with an attempt at goal in the League Cup semi-final second leg against Everton, with score 0-0 on the night and a great deal of tension. There was a momentary hush and then a heart-warming chant of 'Rocky, Rocky, Rocastle!' I've never heard a player generate such a response before or since - the fans just knew how much he cared and simply wanted him to do well - and he did. (Of course we won against Everton.) - Post No. 4695


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