Tag Archives: David Rocastle

Victory Grows Through Harmony – Does everyone need to remember the values of The Arsenal?

Someone recently said to me “Unai Emery is neglecting the clubs values.” I responded by asking “what are the clubs values.”

I thought it was a simple question, but the response was also predictable; “if you do not know the clubs values then can you really call yourself an Arsenal fan.”

The question was the rephrased as “which Arsenal values do you believe Emery is neglecting” and again the response came back as “as an Arsenal fan you should know,”

This went in circles 5 times until it hit me, the person making the original statement did not have a clue about Arsenal’s values; he just said it is a throwaway statement without knowing how he was going to justify it.

It then got me thinking; what are the clubs values? What are our principles and standard of behaviour?

I imagine the original Tweeter was talking about playing the Arsenal way.

The “Arsenal Way” is an awful statement. Something made up. Just like the “West Ham Way” or the “United Way”. It means nothing.

Some will argue that the Arsenal Way is how we play football. Free flowing, possession based, attacking football. But this is not the Arsenal Way. This is the way we played under Arsene Wenger for about half of his tenure under him.

The double of 1998 was built on defence rather than attack. Under George Graham it was “boring boring Arsenal”. Attacking football certainly is not one of the clubs values.

So I attempted to come up with some club principles, and felt that there was evidence of Arsenal values.

The first is in the club moto Victoria Concordia Crescit. I like many have it tattooed on myself. It stands for “Victory Grows Through Harmony”. The history on this can be found over on The Arsenal History Blog.

Victory growing through harmony. It is fairly self-explanatory. That we succeed in life by working together, working with each other, rather than working against each other.

Before Emery had even over seen a game, he participated in an interview where he highlighted he knows exactlywhat VCC means.

He spoke about how the club, the team, the media and the fans need to work together to get success. That the 4 were legs of a table. That without one leg, you may not succeed.

I imagine he used this analogy during the interview process, and it is a analogy we can all get behind.

The problem is many fans have forgotten about Victoria Concoardia Crescit. They have forgotten that victory grows through harmony.

It started under Arsene Wenger. Fans so willing to crate divisions, labelling themselves and labelling fans who disagree with them. There had never been such a huge division between many fans. We were certainly not working as one to hold up the table.

And that has continued this season.

Fans are constantly arguing with each other. Whether it be over Unai Emery, over Mesut Ozil, or over foreign supporters. It seems some just want to see an argue online all day, creating divisions. Extreme views fuelled by a desire for retweets and followers.

I am not talking about fans disagreeing or having a discussion with differing view points. I am talking about those fans who deliberately go out there and try and be divisive.

Also those fans who are quick to insult someone who has a different view to themselves.

Just because you disagree with me, does not give you a right to label me as a “paedophile” or an “overweight 50-year-old alcoholic wife beater”. Likewise it would not give me the right to say “your view doesn’t count because you are foreign”.

Victory Grows Through Harmony. Fans seems to have forgotten that.

The second club value was something that David Rocastle said.

Fans clearly forget who they are and who the represent.

They forget that on social media, when they have an Arsenal AVI or “Arsenal” in their bio that they are not only representing their views but also The Arsenal.

Recently we have seen a rise in the mainstream media writing “Arsenal fans react” articles. They pick and choose half a dozen extreme tweets in response to something that has happened and use this to create a representation of all Arsenal fans.

We also have the embarrassment of Arsenal Fan TV.

The media and fans of other clubs use them as a stick to beat us all. They act like the characters and actors on the YouTube channel are the voice of the fans. That they represent the fans. They do not.

Look at racist abuse.

When a player is racially abused by someone in the crowd, it is not just that fan who gets hammered, but the entire fan base. We have seen it with Chelsea, whose entire fan base has been labelled “racist” due to the behaviour of a few.

Whilst people will argue that their views represent themselves, and not the club they support, they should remember that when Tweeting or commenting under the guise of being an Arsenal fan, that they are representing the fan base.

Some Arsenal fans, with their abuse of the likes of Alex Iwobi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have clearly forgotten who they are and what they represent,

“Play for the name on the front of the shirt, and they’ll remember the name on the back.”

Arsenal’s greatest ever player, greatest ever captain, Tony Adams uttered the above words. I feel some of our players have forgotten about that.

In an era of football when players can have a larger following than clubs. When fans support a player instead of a club – and will move their support when the player moves – some players have ended up chasing personal glory rather than team success.

Wenger said in his final year at the club that we will see more and more fans supporting players over clubs. It already happens in American supports, where fans (usually not local) follow Lebron James above the club he plays for.

They supported the Cavs because of him, then moved their support to Miami Heat, now support the Lakers. For them supporting the individual is more important than supporting the team.

Mesut Ozil (24m followers) has a lot of this type of fans. They supported him at Madrid, now support him at Arsenal (14m fans) and will follow him to PSG or China or wherever he plays next.

Ozil is a global superstar. I understand why he attracts many fans like this. But the problem is he, amongst others, tend to end up playing for themselves, playing the PR game for themselves, at the detriment of the club they lay for.

I go back to Emmanuel Frimpong. He became more interested in his social media status than playing for The Arsenal. He was last seen playing for a club in Cyprus.

Players need to remember that if they play for The Arsenal, if they perform for The Arsenal, then fans will remember them.

The likes of Ray Parlour and Dennis Bergkamp and two great examples of this.

Completely different amount of talents, but both are Arsenal legends. Both played for the badge on the front of the shirt, and the name on the back became legendary.

The final value comes from a Denis Bergkamp quote.

“When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.”

As a fan you should not be supporting a club for the trophies. Or because they are a “global brand” or due to a single player. You should be supporting them because you have found a place where you belong.

If Arsenal drop down the leagues, end up in the Conference, with XI local boys, no global superstars, you should still support the club.

It is the fans around you watching the game alongside you that makes the club, not the trophies or the players on the pitch.

If you only support the club due to the success, or just to the brand, or due to a player, you will soon disappear if it hits the fan. You are not really a supporter, not really a fan, if the only reason you support The Arsenal due to trophies or a player.

Personally, I think we can all become better fans, more respectful fans, and as a result a more successful club, if we remember the 4 values of the club:

Victoria Concordia Crescit

Remember who you are and what you represent

Play for the badge on the front, and they will remember the name of the back

Do not support your club due to trophies or players, but because you have found a place to belong

Have a nice Sunday


Saturation of Statues Spoil the Significance

Arsenal have recently been running a poll about what 1970’s legend’s name should be engraved on a bench that will go outside the stadium.

This led to a reopening of a debate as to who should be next when it comes to statues outside the ground.

As you are probably aware, currently there are 4 statues around the ground. Herbert Chapman, Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry. Following the bench naming, there has been a lot of talk about who should be next. GC had his opinion:

This led to an afternoon long debate in a WhatsApp group as to who should be next. GC was adamant that it should be Rocky and Wrighty. A few disagreed, a few put forward other suggestions.

Now with being too disrespectful, I questions why Rocky should have a statue. Why not Paul Merson or Ray Parlour? Two players who were at Arsenal longer, won and contributed more.

Why not Robert Pires? He might not have been home grown but he actually ended up playing more games than Rocky.

GC was adamant, Rocky should be next. And this where the issue now arises.

Everyone has their own legends. Icons. Greats.

Now if you look into it, the majority of these will be from their adolescence. When they were a late teen or early 20s. When they were growing up and have an idol, a role model, was a thing. When they were going week in, week out, before they had other priorities like families.

Ask someone what music they love, I bet they usually say it was the music of their youth. That current bands were not the same. They were inferior. Nothing will beat The Who, Weller, Oasis or Arctic Monkeys, depending on what era you are from.

Football is the same.

And this is where the problem is when it comes to statues.

GC will ask for Rocky, as he is the icon of that generation. Someone older will be asking for Liam Brady, Charlie George or Frank McLintock. An even older generation (possibly no longer with us) would ask for Clif Bastin or Alex James. Someone my generation already has their hero, Tony Adams.

Ask a 14 year old in 8 years time who they want and they might say Alexis Sanchez.

We all have different ideas on who should be the next statue.

What is the criteria? Is it objective? Is it subjective? Is a player who played for us 7 years deserving of a statue? How about David O’Leary? Our record appearance holder?

If someone breaks Thierry Henry’s goal scoring record, do they automatically get one? It really is a minefield.

Herbert Chapman is perhaps the most important man in Arsenal’s history. He deserves his. Adams as our greatest ever player and most successful captain, he is Mr Arsenal and fully deserving. Likewise Henry, our top scorer, and perhaps the best player most of us have ever seen.

We then get to Dennis Bergkamp. What is the reasoning behind him having a statue? Yes, he was a great player, a modern day great, but was he any more deserving then Bastin, James, Brady or Rocky? I honestly do not know.

Outside of statues, Geordie Armstrong has a pitch at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground named in his memory. Should he be in the hat for a statue? What about Kenny Sansom?

Then we come to Rocky himself.

The Hale end Academy in Walthamstow has already named after Rocastle. The David Rocastle indoor centre  was opened up in August 2006. So Rocky already has an honour within Arsenal, and taking into account he was an academy graduate, it is a very touching one.

Now this is not to say Rocky, Armstrong, Brady, Bastin or anyone else is not deserving on an honour, or are more deserving than others in the list. It is simply a show of how problematic it can be if you open up a discussion on who should be next to get a statue.

And if you leave it in the hands of fans to decide, it will be even worse. We all remember the Gunners Greatest Players list. It was horrendous. Marc Overmars above Rocky, Sylvian Wiltord above Geordie Armstrong, Anelka above Ted Drake (another who is in the statue hat) and Kanu above Alan Smith.

We can not be trusted to make a decision.

I am of the simple opinion that no one should be next. That the more statues you have, the less value each one has. That if you accept what everyone wants, you will end up with 100 statues all around the ground.

There is one statue that does need to go up, however. Or when I say a statue, I mean a bust. George Graham deserves his place next to Herbert Chapman and Arsene Wenger.


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.