By Chris Wright
It’s 14 years to the day that the footballing sphere lost David Rocastle, who passed away in 2001 after succumbing to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the heart-breakingly young age of 33.
You probably don’t need us to tell you that during his pomp, Rocky was one hell of a player – tricky, fleet-footed, aggressive and driven, and that was despite having the most appalling eyesight imaginable!
As well as his obvious talents on the pitch, he also left us with a similarly fine reputation for being a thoroughly nice bloke off the field too – making his tragic passing all the more…well, tragic.
In tribute to Rocky, we’ve cobbled together a collection of 15 brilliant photos of the man in his Arsenal prime – the club where he cemented his legend status as part of not one but two First Division championship-winning sides…
Rocastle, aged 17, posing for his Arsenal youth team portrait in 1984
Rocastle lines up alongside Tony Adams, Martin Keown and the rest of the Arsenal youth team, 1984
Rocky lets one fly against West Ham at Highbury, 1986
Rocastle receives the Arsenal Player of the Year award from club chairman Peter Hill-Wood, 1986
Rocastle receives the Barclay’s League ‘Young Eagle’ award for his impressive performances throughout the 1986/1987 season
Rocastle revels amid Arsenal’s Littlewoods Cup-winning vintage, 1987 (including a young Niall Quinn)
The man himself poses with the aforementioned trophy on the Highbury pitch, 1987
Rocastle with Gazza and the rest of the England U21s ahead of their 2-0 friendly defeat against West Germany, 1987
Rocastle ploughs past Yugoslavia defenders Gordan Petric and Goran Stevanovic during England’s 5-1 U21 Championship qualifying win, 1987
Rocastle makes sure not to make eye contact with Peter Shilton’s jersey ahead of his senior England debut against Denmark, 1988
Arsenal pair David Rocastle and Michael Thomas pose with the First Division Championship trophy after the latter clinched the 1988/89 title with ‘that’ goal against Liverpool at Anfield
Arsenal were actually presented with two trophies for winning the league: the traditional one (above) and a new-fangled thing created by the top flight’s new sponsors, Barclays…
David Rocastle of Arsenal with the Barclays Division One League Championship trophy (i.e, the other trophy) during a photo-call, August 1989
Rocastle jinks down the wing pursued by Newcastle’s John Anderson, 1990
Rocastle and his daughter pose with the First Division Championship trophies won by Arsenal in 1990/1991
Kevin Campbell, Paul Davis, David Rocastle and Lee Dixon celebrate after securing the Championship by spanking Coventry 6-1 at Highbury, 1991
David Rocastle 1967-2001, RIP