David Rocky Rocastle – He really was one of our own

David Carlyle Rocastle was born on the 2nd May 1967 in Lewisham, South London and joined The Arsenal as a 15 year old. He made his way up from the youth squads to play important parts in the George Graham’s teams in which he won 2 league titles (89+91) and a league cup (87). In total Rocky played 277 games scoring 34 times. He was sold by the club in 1992. He sadily passed away aged just 33 on 31st March 2001.

To copy what Perry Groves has said about him “Rocky had everything”, he was a flair player, the ball stuck to his feet even on muddy bumpy pitches, he could tackle and wasnt afriad to be tackled, he could pick a pass, read the game and when he wasnt assisting he knew where the goal was. Rocky was not only the kind of player you would want to open up a side he was also the kind of player and man you would want in the trenches, he had everything, the complete midifleder.

It’s well documented that Rocky sat up all night talking to Ian Wright when he signed for the club to tell him just what a special club it was, The Arsenal was in Rocky’s heart and on the terraces we loved him back. Rocky cried the day George Graham told him he has been sold to Leeds and he never regualrly put in the kind of displays for anyone like he did for The Arsenal. He wore our shirt with pride and did us proud.

For myself as a young teenager going to watch The Arsenal in the mid 80’s it was an amazing time, the team was full of young local lads giving it all every game (if they wasn’t George would sort them out at half time), there was a togetherness and fighting spirit on the pitch and we got behind them from the terraces home and away, Rocky knew what it meant to us as he was a fan, his family and friends were on the terraces and it showed, he battled for every ball.

I’ve met a few of Rocastle family over the last few years of doing the facebook page. and assisting in putting on a chairty gig to remember the 10th annerversy of his passing,The Rocastles are a lovely family, no airs and graces, great company and like David they all love the Arsenal. I know how proud they are of him, how much they miss him and I know everytime we sing Oh Rocky Rocky they know we remember him too, my heart goes out to all of his family today. .

I leave you with this youtube, if you can watch this without getting a tear in the eye you are a stronger person than me.

RIP Rocky – Gone but never forgotten.

Arsenal’s Lithuanian Record Goalscorer

“They have already named a road after him” I heard one fan say as we walked down St Thomas’ Road. It was the 30th December 2000 and we had just seen Lithuanian striker Tomas Danilevičius make an 11 minute cameo debut in a 2-2 home draw with Sunderland.

The summer of 2000, Arsenal gave a trial to a 22 year old Lithuanian giant. Tomas Danilevičius was 6ft 3in, He was strong, quick, and had great feet for a big man. His trial game was against Barcelona, where he scored a fabulous goal.

It took Arsenal until December of that year to complete a deal for him, Danilevičius joining the club from Swiss club Lausanne. It looked like Arsene Wenger had unearthed another star.

After an impressive debut, Danilevičius only went on to play another 35 minutes for Arsenal; 26 minutes against Charlton in the League, and 9 minutes in an FA Cup 3rd round tie against Carlisle.

In total, Danilevičius’ Arsenal career accumulated a grand total of 46 minutes, spread across the 3 games.

Danilevičius begun his career in his home country, coming through the youth set up Baltai before joining FK Atlantas (who’s other notable player is AFC Wimbledon’s Adebayo Akinfenwa). At just 18, he joined Bereven in Belgium, before a 3 year journey taking him to Moscow, back to Belgium to join Club Brugge, to Laussane, ended with him signing for Arsenal.

So just what happened to this ‘wonder kid’.

Having failed to make the grade at Arsenal in his first 12 months, Danilevičius was loaned out to Scottish club Dunfermline Athletic, before being returning to Bereven in 2001. He then went on to become a bit of a journeyman in Italy, playing for 8 clubs in 12 years.

A bit of research into his history at Arsenal shows that it was discovered that Danilevičius had joined Arsenal using a fake Greek passport – these were the days before Lithuania were in the EU. This shortly after Silvinhio’s passport was discovered to be questionable.

Arsenal were not found to be at fault for employing Danilevičius as they were found to have acted in good faith, and the club moved him on quickly and quietly.

With 19 goals from 71 caps, Danilevičius is Lithuania’s record goal scorer. He retired in 2014.