Video Find: Arsenal: Rocastle Tribute

David Carlyle Rocastle
, nicknamed Rocky Rocastle, was born at Lewisham in May 1967 to Caribbean immigrant parents who came to England during the 1950s. His father died in 1972, when David was five years old. His mother Linda remarried and gave birth to one more child.

On leaving school in the summer of 1983 he joined Arsenal as an apprentice and spent two years in the youth team before signing a professional contract just before the start of the 1985-86 season. He made his debut against Newcastle United and soon became a regular member of the first team. 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 and ended up losing 3-2 to a last minute Luton goal.

Rocastle won two league championship medals with Arsenal. The first came in 1989, when he played in almost 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.

During his time with Arsenal, Rocastle was capped 14 times for England and although he did not score any goals he was never on the losing side and looked set for a long and successful international career. But in 1992 he played his 14th and last game for England.

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 for the illness and was hopeful of a recovery. But he died in the early hours of 31 March 2001, aged 33.

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.

: Wickipedia

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