Tag Archives: Rocky

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.

Keenos

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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.

Rocky – Gone but not forgotten

Thirteen years ago today, The Arsenal lost a great man.

On 31st of March 2001, David Rocastle lost his battle to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It had only been February 2001 that he announced he was suffering from cancer. It came as a shock to many. For a lot of fans, he was part of their growing up, part of them.

Rocky was part of what was perhaps the greatest generation of youth players that Arsenal has ever produced. Graduating into the senior squad with the likes of Tony Adams, Niall Quinn, Martin Hayes, Paul Merson and Michael Thomas.

The first time David Dein saw him play, he informed his wife “I’ve seen a boy in our youths that can dribble like a Brazilian. And he`s from Lewisham!”

Making his first team debut at 18 in a 0-0 draw against Newcastle, his debut was described as: “David passed when he should have shot, and shot when he should have passed, but he’s a going to be a great player!” I feel he would have fitted in perfectly to the current Arsenal side! He went on to make 277 appearances for the club, scoring 34 goals.

Despite his first season being curtailed by a knee injury – a problem that would be ongoing throughout his career – The North Bank knew they had a new star.

A man of the match performance and winning goal in the League Cup Semi-Final against Spurs at just 19 made him an instant hero. The boy hood Arsenal fan was well on his way to becoming an Arsenal legend.

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“There is something really special about Arsenal Football Club… I was always told ‘Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent: The Arsenal.’ David Rocastle

‘Rocky’ was not just a great player, but also a gentleman. He was an Arsenal man. He knew what is meant to pull on the red and white. He knew the history of the club. He knew what he represented. He knew who he was.

It was his love for the club which meant he did not become a big time Charlie. Did not grow to big for his boots. A modern day player would become arrogant, aloof, with the talent he had. Rocky did not. He would cover every blade of grass. Close down his opponent, win the ball. He had everything.

Sadly, his ongoing knee injuries meant that he never became the world class player he was destined to become. Despite making 39 appearances in 1991/92, he had not reached the same standard as before his injury. In the summer of 1992 he was sold to Leeds.

Rocastle recalled later, “I sat in my car and cried. Playing for The Arsenal was all I ever wanted to do”. That sums Rocky up in his own words. Arsenal was his everything. after Leeds, he went on to play for Manchester City, Chelsea, Norwich and Hull. Every supporter of each club will have their own fond memories of him.

Injuries meant that he never reached the level he was at before his injury in the early 90s, and he retired at just 31 in 1999.

Rocky passed away on the morning of the North London Derby on March 31st 2001. It is a testament to the man that later that afternoon, during the minute’s silence, the 3,000 visiting Spurs supporters were silent. Not a peep. The respect they showed to him that afternoon by their silence, moved (and surprised) many an Arsenal fan, and hows that, despite rivalries, every football fan can recognise a genuinely nice guy who has been taken away from us early. Even those from N17.

33 is no age to go. He left behind his wife, son and 2 daughters. His son Ryan was Arsenal’s mascot in the 2001 FA Cup Final against Liverpool.

Rocky might be gone, but he will never be forgotten.

Keenos