David Rocastle – Mel’s Favorite Player

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

23 comments on “David Rocastle – Mel’s Favorite Player

  1. “Great big smile and his dancing eyes” Such a good memory of an all time favorite. Still think of him “Dancing on the ceiling” after all his goals. He was and still is, a legend.


  2. Beautifully done, Mel. I was very young when Rocky played for us. So young, in fact, that the strongest memory I have of the time is my family laughing at how I couldn’t say his name properly. He is part of the rich fabric at Arsenal and always will be. Great tribute, mate.


  3. Fond memories Mel – a down to earth young man from Lewisham who achieved his dream


  4. A touching tribute from someone who quite frankly is a bit touched.


  5. Lovely stuff Mel!

    Sorry. I mean Lord Mel of Arsenal.com fame. Tugs forelock.

    Some players do look “right” in a Arsenal shirt. Like they were born to wear it.

    I mean could you ever imagine Rooney in an Arsenal shirt? (do they do Evans outsize?) I rest my case m’lud. I mean excellent player and all that, but noooooooo.

    Great posts all this week btw. Just catching up.


  6. Thanks for the kind comments you lot,nice to have you back Harry!


  7. Miles away, I wasn’t an Arsenal supporter then, but the historical pieces always enrich my knowledge of the club. There is always that bit of partisan mischief in the writing of our in-house Nobel-laureate; no wonder he is such a celebrity at the dot com. Good job Mel.


  8. Mel you know how I feel about the man. Lovely


  9. The doomers still abound on ACLF….


  10. Nice one Mel.

    Before anyone else possibly pens another post I’m claiming the West Ham Home game as my favourite game of the season, that’s if the post I’ve decided that i’m going to try and work on when i have the time proves to be legible. So, it should be ready by the end of pre-season!


  11. Excellent post…

    What about the goal he got at Anfield in the League Cup.
    We lost in the end, but played Liverpool off the park.
    Shades of things to come with that team…

    Fabulous footballer, top bloke, 100% Gooner.


  12. Hahaha . PG @1033. be kind George.
    A very nice tribute MEL. well done. I specifically liked the line ” at ARSENAL we don’t start the fights , we just finish them. That spirit of standing for one another and backing your teammates must be kept strong and growing. You mess with one of us , we all will mess with your sorry •s•……..


  13. Ah what a post to come home to Mel. That was so beautiful. Love the quotes about the brawl with the mancs. Always moving to read about Rocky and you’re quite correct, try as I might I cannot picture him in a Leeds or Man City kit.


  14. Thanks again for the lovely comments you lot & welcome home number 10.


  15. If Frank does not show up soon ,I am going to have to go out and look for him


  16. George – it is close season I suppose. Many people prefer to switch off from football and enjoy it all the more when it returns. He always was prone to long periods of absence.


  17. Yes Stew,but I miss him


  18. Nicely written Mel, I confess it bought a tear to my eye


  19. Nice Mel, very nice. LIke GK, loved the

    ”at ARSENAL we don’t start the fights, we just finish them.”

    On a par, for me, with AW’s classic

    “At ARSENAL, we don’t buy stars, we make them.”

    Wonderful club, on and off the pitch.


  20. ahh! so many memories, if I was ever going to go gay for anyone it would be ROCKY!
    electric sparkling eyes, the smile that could light up the world, and he played for ARSENAL fantastically.
    ill always remember the interview he gave just before anfield, he thought we had to beat Liverpool by four and was really down and then someone explained it was only two and he said he knew then we could do it.
    that 2-1 defeat in the league cup was a turning point for that team, we were brilliant that night and although they won ARSENAL had stopped being in awe of Liverpool, they had lost the fear factor and it was just a matter of time before we grabbed the tiger by the tail and bite its head off.
    I have said, over the years ive had many favourite players but ROCKY was a bit special


  21. Chambo!


  22. Don’t worry about the crying Bob, that happens a lot when people are around me. Especially when I start talking.


  23. […] And speaking of legends, there are very few bigger than David Rocastle […]


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