|Full name||David Carlyle Rocastle|
|Date of birth||2 May 1967|
|Place of birth||Lewisham, London, England|
|Date of death||31 March 2001(aged 33)|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|1997||→ Norwich City (loan)||11||(0)|
|1997||→ Hull City (loan)||11||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
He spent the majority of his career at Arsenal where he was nicknamed "Rocky", and then went on to feature in the Premier League for Leeds United, Manchester City and Chelsea, before later playing in the Football League for Norwich City and Hull City and finishing his career in Malaysia with Sabah FA. Rocastle earned 14 international caps for England between 1988 and 1992.
Rocastle was born at Lewisham on 2 May 1967 to Caribbean immigrant parents who came to England during the 1950s. His father died in 1972, when Rocastle was five years old. His mother Linda remarried.
Rocastle joined Arsenal in May 1982 and turned professional in December 1984. In his early career he faced problems with his eyesight, and contact lenses had to be used. According to his team mate Martin Keown "They couldn't work out why Rocastle was running around dribbling with his head down. So they took him to the halfway line and said: 'Can you see the goal?' and he couldn't. His eyesight was terrible. They sorted him out with contact lenses and his career took off."
He made his debut against Newcastle United and made 26 league appearances that season, scoring once as Arsenal finished seventh in the league. He remained a regular player in the first team following the departure of Don Howe and the appointment of George Graham as manager at the end of the 1985–86 season.
In 1987, just before his 20th birthday, he won a League Cup winners medal after Arsenal beat Liverpool in the final at Wembley. He was a member of the Arsenal side which reached the final against Luton Town the following year but Arsenal surrendered a 2–1 lead with only seven minutes of the final left to play, and ended up losing 3–2 to a last minute Luton goal. He was ever present in the league in 1987–88.
Rocastle won two league championship medals with Arsenal. The first came in 1989, when he played in every game. Arsenal's success was sealed when they beat Liverpool 2–0 in the final game of the season at Anfield, snatching the title from the hosts on goals scored. But Arsenal were unable to compete in the 1989–90 European Champions Cup because the ban on English clubs in European competition after the 1985 Heysel tragedy still had one year to run. Arsenal finished fourth in the 1989–90 league season and missed out on a return to Europe because only the runners-up were entitled to a UEFA Cup place.
In 1990–91, a knee injury restricted Rocastle to just 18 league appearances for Arsenal but he still played his part in Arsenal winning the league championship – losing only one league game all season. The following season he only missed three out of 42 league games, scoring four goals.
During his time with Arsenal, Rocastle was capped 14 times for England, but did not make the squad for either 1990 World Cup or Euro 92, with Rangers' Trevor Steven preferred instead. In 1992 he played his 14th and last game for England, and was not selected in the squad for Euro 92.
On 23 July 1992, after nearly a decade at Arsenal, Rocastle was sold to league champions Leeds United in a £2million deal, making him their most expensive signing. Manager Howard Wilkinson saw Rocastle as an eventual replacement for the veteran Gordon Strachan as Leeds entered the first-ever Premier League, but in fact Strachan still had three more seasons left as a regular player at Elland Road. Rocastle, meanwhile, was kept out of the side by both injury and competition from other players.
But the move to Maine Road was not a success for Rocastle, who managed two goals from 21 Premier League games as City finished 16th – their lowest finish since winning promotion to the top flight in 1989. At the end of the season, manager Brian Horton signed the Swindon Town winger Nicky Summerbee (son of former City player Mike) and Rocastle's days at the club looked numbered. So, just before the start of the 1994–95 season, he was transferred to Chelsea in a £1.25million deal.
In 1994–95, Rocastle played in nearly 40 games for Chelsea and scored two goals; one in the European Cup Winners Cup, (in which Chelsea reached the semi finals and lost to eventual winners Zaragoza by a single goal) and the other was scored in a League Cup win over Bournemouth. The following season his injuries returned, and he played just one more game for the club, away to Blackburn in October 1995, although he remained on the club's pay roll until his contract expired in the summer of 1998. In 1996–97, after a summer trial at Hertha BSC Berlin and similar spells at Aberdeen and Southampton, Rocastle was loaned out to Norwich City and in 1997–98 had a brief spell on loan to Hull City in Division Three, scoring on his debut against Scarborough, but nothing came of either spell, and both times, he ended up back on the Stamford Bridge reserve team.
On completing his contract with Chelsea in 1998, Rocastle joined the Malaysian team Sabah on a free transfer but was unable to stay clear of injury and retired in December 1999.
Rocastle was capped 14 times for England at under-21 level during the 1980s, scoring twice. At the age of 21, he was capped at senior level for the first time against Denmark on 14 September 1988. His final appearance came on 17 May 1992, just after his 25th birthday, against Brazil. He had been capped 14 times for England at senior level and failed to score, but was never on the losing side as England won seven of the international games he appeared in and drew the other seven. He did not feature at the 1990 World Cup or 1992 European Championships, all of his appearance coming in friendlies or in qualifiers for the two major tournaments of that era.
He also made two goalless appearances for the England 'B' side.
Illness and death
In February 2001, Rocastle announced that he was suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer which attacks the immune system. He underwent a course of chemotherapy and was hopeful of a recovery. He died in the early hours of 31 March 2001, aged 33.
Rocastle was survived by his wife Janet, son Ryan and daughters Melissa and Monique. Six weeks after Rocastle's death, his son Ryan was Arsenal's mascot in their FA Cup final match against Liverpool in which they took the lead but ended up losing 2–1 because of two last gasp goals by Michael Owen.
Five years and a day after his death, 1 April 2006 was designated "David Rocastle Day", as part of the themed matchday celebrations of Arsenal's final season at their stadium Highbury, a 5–0 win over Aston Villa. Fans paid tribute to Rocastle before the match with a minute's applause. Arsenal have also opened up a new youth team indoor training facility named after him, as a tribute to his contributions to the club. Rocastle is also one of 32 Arsenal legends honoured by having their images painted on the side of the new Emirates Stadium. On 30 March 2013, Arsenal played a game against Reading FC which marked the 12-year anniversary of Rocastle's death. The fans sang his name throughout the first ten minutes, and his quote of "Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent!" was shown on the screen. Just after this, Arsenal scored the first goal in a 4–1 victory.
The David Rocastle Trust
The David Rocastle Trust is a charity based in London, UK founded in memory of Rocastle. The charity, which was chosen by Arsenal F.C. as their club charity for the 2005–06 season, supports Rocastle's family as well as community projects and other registered charities.
With Leeds Winner FA Charity Shield 1992 Runner-up Makita Tournament 1992
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1992–93||Leeds United||Premier League||18||1|
|1993–94||Manchester City||Premier League||21||2|
|1996–97||Norwich City||First Division||11||0|
|1997–98||Hull City||Third Division||11||1|
|Malaysia||League||FAM Cup||Malaysia Cup||Asia||Total|
- James, Josh. "Rocky Seven". Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Martin Keown: The day I thought I was dying
- Football photographic encyclopedia, footballer, world cup, champions league, football championship, olympic games & hero images by sporting-heroes.net
- When Saturday Comes – Whatever happened to... David Rocastle
- Football: Rocastle's move to Leeds leaves room for Thomas – Sport – The Independent
- "Rocastle is instant hit.". thefreelibrary.com. 13 October 1997. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- Player Profile
- "Arsenal select David Rocastle Trust as charity", www.arsenal.com, 9 August 2005. Retrieved 10 March 2014
- David Rocastle at National-Football-Teams.com
- Part 1 and Part 2 Rocastle profile on Arsenal-land
- The BBC obituary
- The David Rocastle Trust
- Rocky 7 Day (2008)
- David Rocastle career stats at Soccerbase
- Career information at ex-canaries.co.uk