|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)|
|Place of death||Slough, Berkshire, England|
|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.
He spent the majority of his career at Arsenal where he was nicknamed "Rocky". Rocastle 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 also played for the England national football team, in all earning 14 international caps for the Three Lions.
Arsène Wenger has described him as a " a modern player, because the revolution of the game has gone on to more technique, and more skill" and as having an "exceptional dimension as a footballer". Rocastle is seen as a universally popular, iconic and legendary figure by many fans of the Gooners. He thus has the David Rocastle indoor centre at Arsenal's academy in homage to him, with his name also being emblazoned in tribute upon that of the club's Emirates Stadium.
- 1 Playing career
- 2 International career
- 3 Illness and death
- 4 Personal life
- 5 The David Rocastle Trust
- 6 Honours
- 7 Career statistics
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Rocastle was born in 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 subsequently remarried. Rocastle attended the Turnham Primary School and the Roger Manwood secondary school in his teenage years.
Rocastle joined Arsenal's Academy 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 teammate 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 January 1987, Arsenal were host to Manchester United at Old Trafford. During the match Rocastle was sent off for retailating to a tackle by United midfielder Norman Whiteside, a move which caused a huge scuffle between several of the opposing players. This scenario has been illustrated by many as the start of the Arsenal and Man United rivalry.
Rocastle went on to score the winning goal in the 1987-88 League Cup semi-final which was won by a margin of 2 goals to 1 against Tottenham Hotspur at Highbury. As so, just before his 20th birthday on 5 April 1987, he won a 1986-87 League Cup winners medal as Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-1 in the cup final at Wembley. Due to his feats during this season, Rocastle was bestowed with the honour of being named in 1987's PFA Team of the Year and as well won the 1987 Barclays Young Eagle award. In the following season, he was again an influential member of the Arsenal side which reached the 1987-88 League Cup final against Luton Town the following year. In the game 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 as well ever present for the gunners in that, the 1987–88 footballing season, helping Arsenal win the Football League Centenary Trophy in a 2-1 win over Manchester United.
Rocastle's first league championship with Arsenal came in 1989, when he played in every game of that season's campaign. 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. As so Rocastle won the Barclays Young Eagle award, being once again bestowed with the honour in 1989. Arsenal were howbeit unable to compete in the 1989–90 European Cup because the ban on English clubs in European competition after the 1985 Heysel tragedy still had one year to run. Arsenal went on to finish fourth in the 1989–90 league season, missing out on a return to Europe as only the runners-up were entitled to a UEFA Cup place.
In 1990-91, Rocastle was limited to just 18 league appearances due to a knee injury but he still played his part in Arsenal, of whom only lost one game, winning the league championship. The following season, he played more than double that of the previous campaign, only missing three games in comparison. He all in all made 39 appearances for the club, netting four goals throughout that season. Altogether Rocastle scored 23 goals being capped 228 times at and away from Highbury for Arsenal.
On 23 July 1992, after a decade at Arsenal, Rocastle was sold to reigning league champions Leeds United, in a deal that several Arsenal fans, fellow teammates and football writers saw as doltish, cold and woeful. This view stemmed from the way in which the midfielder was dealt with by manager George Graham, given his fine performances the season prior, his general popularity and the player's stated opposition to the deal.
The player's arrival at Leeds United made him, up to that point, the club's' most expensive signing at up to £2 million. Manager Howard Wilkinson saw Rocastle as an eventual replacement for the veteran midfielder Gordon Strachan.
With Leeds the midfielder entered the first-ever Premier League by winning the 1992 FA Charity Shield at Wembley. Rocastle, however, had his appearances somewhat diminished by a few injuries and that of competition from the likes of Elland Road's Gary Speed, Strachan and David Batty.
In going to Manchester City Rocastle scored 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. Given that his move to this club came prior to the coming into fruition of the rivalry between the blues and the reds of London, in 1994–95, Rocastle played without much ado in nearly 40 games for Chelsea and scored two goals.
One of such came in a League Cup win over that of Bournemouth with the other being in a 1995 European Cup Winners Cup's first round game against FK Viktoria Žižkov. With Rocastle in tow, wherein this European run, Chelsea reached the semi finals of the cup, going out to eventual winners Real Zaragoza by a single goal on aggregate.
The following season his injuries returned, and he played just one more game for the club, away to Blackburn in October 1995. 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 way to Stamford Bridge.
On completing his contract with Chelsea in 1998, Rocastle joined the Malaysian team Sabah on a free transfer. He was then highly influential in the club going on a memorable run in the Piala FA, the Malaysian FA Cup, of 1998 where he earned a runners up medal. He eventually, due to injury, retired in December 1999.
After making two goalless appearances for the England 'B' side, Rocastle was capped 14 times for England at under-21 level during the 1980s, scoring twice. In playing for the Young Lions, he earned a runners up medal in the Toulon Tournament of 1988 and as well got to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi finals of the same year.
At the age of 21, he was capped at senior level for the first time against Denmark on 14 September 1988. Rocastle though was never on the losing side as England won seven of the internationals that he appeared in and drew the other seven. He surprisingly didn't feature at either the World Cup of 1990 or 1992 Euros. His final appearance for England came on 17 May 1992, just after his 25th birthday, against Brazil. Rocastle was thus altogether capped a sum of 14 times for the Three Lions.
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 and children.
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 passing, 1 April 2006 was designated "David Rocastle Day", as part of the themed celebrations of Arsenal's final season at their stadium of Highbury. Upon the day a league game was played which saw a brace from Thierry Henry in an eventual 5–0 win for Arsenal over that of Aston Villa. Fans paid tribute to Rocastle before the start of the match with a minute's applause.
Arsenal also has a training facility at the club's academy located at Hale End in Walthamstow, London that was named after Rocastle. The David Rocastle indoor centre, of which was opened up in August 2006, thus serves as another tribute to the player's contributions to the club. Rocastle is also one of 32 Arsenal legends honoured by having their images illustrated on the side of the new Emirates Stadium. On 30 March 2013, Arsenal played a game which marked the 12-year anniversary of Rocastle's death. The fans sang his name throughout the first ten minutes, and his famous 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 in the match against Reading. The fans paid a similar tribute during Arsenal's match against Watford, on 2 April 2016 which marked the 15th anniversary of Rocastle's loss.
Rocastle has three children, his son Ryan and daughters Melissa and Monique to wife Janet. He is the cousin of another professional footballer, Craig Rocastle, and his brother Stephen played for Norwich City and was on the books of Derry City F.C. as well.
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.
- First Division: 1988–89, 1990–91
- Football League Cup: 1986–87
- FA Charity Shield: 1991 (shared)
- Football League Centenary Trophy: 1988
- Arsenal Player of the Year: 1986.
- Barclays Young Eagle: 1987 & 1989
- PFA Team of the Year: 1987
- PFA Team of the Year: 1989
|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|
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