Some players just look right in an Arsenal kit.You couldn’t see them in any other .Some join other clubs and you come all over Gok Wan when watching them (I better explain that!) and find yourself shaking your head saying “no, no that’s just not you”.
It’s not just our club,I mean Glen Hoddle ‘looks spurs’ just as much as Thierry ‘looks Arsenal’,but the man who looked Arsenal more than anyone who wore the red & white and carried the canon with style,skill and that ‘we ain’t losing this one attitude’ just happens to be my favourite player David Rocastle.
I was fortunate enough to be at wembley to see him pick up his first winners medal,a league cup against the Scousers ,and I bet he was as gutted as me a year later when we lost to Luton.
He was that type of player.
One of us.
The fan on the pitch.
He never gave up and we loved him,always will.
1989 saw him pick up his first title on that magical night at Anfield .Again I was lucky enough to be there and I remember at the end Rocky came overwith his great big smile and his dancing eyes.
He had been amazing in that game,in fact you’d have trouble remembering a duff appearance from our number 7. I think Arsene would have loved him and i think the feeling would have been mutual.
He went onto win another title for us in a team that lost just once that season, but George Graham had started to play him central,frustrating for us who loved his banana shaped passes up the line,his powerful running and his knack of scoring beautiful and important goals,(look up the league cup semi final at the lane and the one that kissed the bar on the way in against the Mancs at Old Trafford).
He was a tough so and so too,his comment about the brawl at Old Trafford(for which Arsenal were docked 2 points but went on to win the league anyway) was typical-” it was our team mate, our little blood brother in trouble. They were kicking Nigel (Winterburn) like a nighclub brawl. Thats 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 stuck up for each other. At Arsenal we never started fights-we just finished them”.
Despite playing in every league game the following season something was obviously up and Graham sold him to Leeds via that famous conversation between the 2 men in a car ,which left Rocky in tears.
He didn’t want to leave,he knew where he was loved but George clearly had reservations about the players knee injury, which ultimately was correct.
He went on to play for Leeds and Man City ,never reaching the heights he had at the Arsenal, where young players coming into a dressing room full off strong characters were welcomed always first ,and encouraged by Rocky.
That speaks volumes for him.
You will find no-one who has a bad word about him and where his name is still sung at every game to this day,he died tragically ,way too young ,but is remembered always by his fellow gooners.
I’d like to think he’s up there being watched by a grinning Geordie Armstrong in his red & white kit.
As and forever our number 7 .Terroriisng old spurs defenders! He wore it well, in fact no-one has ever worn it better