07:30PM, Wednesday 31 March 2021
Arsenal Football Club placed an advert in this week’s Slough Express to pay tribute to former player, David Rocastle, on the 20th anniversary of the player’s death.
Rocastle was born in Lewisham, South East London, and went on to become one of the most dynamic players of his generation, earning several England caps in the process.
‘Rocky’, as he was known by the Arsenal faithful, succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – an aggressive form of cancer which affects the immune system - aged just 33.
He lived with his family in Ascot. When his condition deteriorated he was moved to Wexham Park Hospital in Slough where he died on March 31, 2001.
On the same day Arsenal beat North London rivals Tottenham 2-0 at Highbury, with Robert Pires, wearing Rocastle’s number 7 shirt, opening the scoring.
Five days later his funeral was held at Windsor Parish Church, where, according to a piece in FourFourTwo, ‘there wasn’t a spare seat, nor a dry eye in the house as the football community and Rocastle’s family gathered to pay their respects’.
The Arsenal manager at the time, Arsene Wenger, was among the attendees, while former teammates Alan Smith, Tony Adams, Ian Wright, Michael Thomas and Paul Davis were pallbearers.
The tribute, in the births, marriages and deaths section of this week’s Express, said: “On the 20th anniversary of his passing, Arsenal Football Club would like to pay tribute to David Rocastle on March 31.
“The Club sends its thoughts and best wishes to the Rocastle family, particularly to his wife Janet and three children, Melissa, Ryan and Monique.
“Fondly remembered and cherished by those who knew him personally and by football fans across the world who remember him simply as ‘Rocky’.
“With his electrifying pace and natural ability, he was a key player in the Arsenal team that famously clinched the Division 1 title at Anfield in 1989, but he will be remembered for much more.
“The Arsenal family will never forget Rocky and his legacy lives on. The Club will pay tribute to David Rocastle at their game with Liverpool Football Club on Saturday, April 3.”
His death was felt across the football family with Rocastle having also played for Leeds, Manchester City and Chelsea, as well as Norwich City and Hull City on loan.
However, he’ll be best remembered for his time in North London where he won two league titles and a league cup winners medal with Arsenal.
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