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David Carlyle Rocastle, nicknamed Rocky, (2 May 1967 – 31 March 2001) was an Englishmarker football player, who spent the majority of his career at Arsenal He was the cousin of another professional footballer, Craig Rocastle, and his brother Stephen was on the books of Norwich City.

Career at Arsenal

Rocastle was born at Lewisham on 2 May 1967 to Caribbeanmarker immigrant parents who came to Englandmarker 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 made 26 league appearances that season, scoring once as Arsenal finished seventh in the league. He remained a regular player in the first team following the departure of Don Howe and the appointment of George Graham as manager at the end of the 1985-86 season. [61574]

In 1987, just before his 20th birthday, he won a League Cup winners medal after Arsenal beat Liverpool in the final at Wembleymarker. 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. He was ever present in the league in 1987-88.

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 Anfieldmarker, 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 tragedymarker 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, scoring four goals.

During his time with Arsenal, Rocastle was capped 14 times for England, but did not make the squad for either 1990 World Cup or Euro 92, with Rangers' Trevor Steven preferred instead. In 1992 he played his 14th and last game for England.

Career after Arsenal

At the end of 1991-92, Rocastle was sold to league champions Leeds United in a £2million deal, making him their most expensive signing. Manager Howard Wilkinson saw Rocastle as an eventual replacement for the veteran Gordon Strachan as Leeds entered the first-ever Premier League, but in fact Strachan still had three more seasons left as a regular player at Elland Roadmarker. Rocastle, meanwhile, was kept out of the side by both injury and competition from other players. He was at the club until December 1993, when he was transferred to Manchester City for £2million as replacement for David White, who in turn had joined Leeds earlier that month.

But the move to Maine Roadmarker was not a success for Rocastle, who managed two goals from 21 Premier League games as City finished 16th - their lowest finish since winning promotion to the top flight in 1989. At the end of the season, manager Brian Horton snapped up the Swindon winger Nicky Summerbee (son of former City player Mike) and Rocastle's days at the club looked numbered. So, just before the start of the 1994-95 season, he was transferred to Chelsea in a £1.25million deal.

In 1994-95, Rocastle played in nearly 40 games for Chelsea and scored two goals in the European Cup Winners Cup, in which Chelsea reached the semi finals and lost to eventual winners Zaragoza by a single goal. The following season his injuries returned and he played just one more game for the club, in October 1995 against Blackburn, although he remained on the club's pay roll until his contract expired in the summer of 1998. In 1996-97, after a summer trial at Hertha BSC Berlin and a similar spell at Aberdeen, Rocastle was loaned out to Norwich City and in 1997-98 had a brief spell on loan to Hull City in Division Three, but nothing came of either spell and both times he ended up back in the Stamford Bridgemarker reserve team.

On completing his contract with Chelsea in 1998, Rocastle joined the Malaysian team Sabah on a free transfer but was unable to stay clear of injury and retired in December 1999.

Illness and death

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 only 33.

Rocastle was survived by his wife Janet, son Ryan and daughters Sasha, Melissa and Monique. Six weeks after Rocastle's death, his son Ryan was Arsenal's mascot in their FA Cup final match against Liverpool in which they took the lead but ended up losing 2-1 because of two last gasp goals by Michael Owen.

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 Highburymarker, 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.

Career statistics


External links

1985-86 Arsenal First Division 26 1
1986-87 36 2
1987-88 40 6
1988-89 38 6
1989-90 33 2
1990-91 16 2
1991-92 39 4
1992-93 Leeds United Premier League 18 1
1993-94 7 1
1993-94 Manchester City Premier League 21 2
1994-95 Chelsea Premier League 28 0
1995-96 1 0
1996-97 Norwich City First Division 11 0
1997-98 Hull City Third Division 11 0

1998 Sabah

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