Today is the 10th anniversary, if thats the appropriate word of David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle’s untimely departure from this earth after being diagnosed and succumbing to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
In an Arsenal shirt he showed everything we wanted to see, pace, flair, an eye for a pass and an engine to leave all of his opponents gasping for oxygen.
I think I first remember him from the 88-89 season. I really didn’t appreciate his game as much as I am able to now, I thought he busied himself about and wasn’t as effective as some of the players around him. However, those were the foolish impressions of my youth and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to reconsider. Hindsight is a wonderful thing when mixed with my own experiences I’ve been able to get a more reasoned perspective.
I wonder what he’d be worth now? In this media-hyped, blog-induced opinion inflated transfer-market driven results game, what would he be worth? Certainly I believe he had the game to compete in todays game and I think he’d be an asset.
We sold him to Leeds (who were league champions at the time) for a mere 2 million, a record for Leeds United and he never really hit the same highs. He suffered an injury hit period at Leeds where injury and competition kept him out of the first team for his stay at the club and was transferred to Man Citeh and then after a year and a half went to Chelsea.
He discovered a bit of his form for Chelsea and enjoyed a renaissance in his first full season but an injury hit second season called time on his career there with several attempts at free transfers and loans to try and regain fitness failed to rejuvenate his career.
He died aged 33 from his illness, diagnosed only two months before.
He died a man, but will always be a legend to me.