Remembering Rocky: Arsenal legend Ian Wright and teenage star Bukayo Saka pay tribute to Gunners hero David Rocastle … on the 20th anniversary of his tragic death from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Ex-Arsenal, Leeds and Chelsea player David Rocastle died on March 31, 2001
- The former England international played for Arsenal for seven years, 1985-92
- ‘Rocky’ died at the age of 33 after losing his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Ian Wright and Bukayo Saka paid tribute to Rocastle in a video on social media
Arsenal legend Ian Wright and first-team star Bukayo Saka spoke glowingly about Gunners legend David Rocastle on the 20th anniversary of his tragic death
Rocastle, who played at Highbury for seven years from 1985-1992, won two first division titles with Arsenal and also played for Leeds, Manchester City and Chelsea.
But Rocastle, nicknamed ‘Rocky’, tragically died on March 31, 2001 at the age of 33 after suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and on the occasion of the 20th anniversary, Arsenal uploaded an emotional tribute video to Instagram of Rocastle and Wright’s best moments. Saka in conversation.
Wright also later posted a heartfelt letter, written to David, on his own Instagram page, saying he was “ scared of the build-up ” of the 20th anniversary.
Bukayo Saka and Ian Wright remembered David Rocastle on the 20th anniversary of his death
Rocastle tragically died at the age of 33 after losing his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Wright posted an emotional message to David on his own Instagram 20 years after his death
In the video, Wright began: “I was 15 and he was 11. David would be able to get the ball, beat everyone and score, and just run back into the goal. We’re going back so far …
‘He is the reason I love Arsenal so much. When he left I cried for three days thinking I would be there with him all the time … he’s someone who always played hard but fair.
Saka, who was born six months after Rocastle’s death, added: ‘I’ve heard a lot about his talent on the field. His technique and the flair with which he played, but off the field he seemed a real inspiration, a real leader. I heard how humble he was.
‘I remember when I was younger the dome was called the David Rocastle Center. He deserves to be remembered in this way.
“Just hear what you’re saying, he’s a great person and a great player, so he deserved this.”
Rocastle won two first division titles with Arsenal during seven successful years at Highbury
Rocastle played for England 14 times in a career that also included a League Cup victory with the Gunners in 1989 – he was also named Arsenal Player of the Year in 1986.
Arsenal announced at the end of the video that the club was in the process of setting up the David Rocastle Leadership Course, with seven young people from the local community selected each year to participate in a mentoring program.
During the course, Wright said, “What Arsenal did in setting up David Rocastle’s leadership course. The lessons I have learned from him, hopefully many young people will learn. ‘
Later in the day, Wright wrote one last to David on his Instagram, starting with: ‘Twenty years bro. In a way, I dreaded its build-up. You are always on my mind, but I try not to think about that specific day. You know what I mean?’
He continued: ‘At the age of fifteen you were already operating on a completely different level. You have always behaved yourself with a level of professionalism that we could not understand …
‘You saw something in me that I couldn’t even see in myself … as I got older I have become someone young players and parents talk to and ask for advice. It’s not something I take lightly. I think about what you would have said to them, what you said to me, the things you told me to improve …
In addition to a number of photos, Wright posted a heartfelt personal message on Rocastle
That night before our first game as teammates, we must have spoken for more than five hours. Even in that moment when I still doubted myself, as always you reassured me and told me how you would make everyone work to achieve my goals for me so I could settle down …
“I’ll never forget that moment when you told me you were sold to Leeds. Everything froze. I didn’t know how to feel and I still don’t like to think about it. Without you there would be no Arsenal. I took it personally. I joined because of you …
‘We’ve had a crazy year (long story), but I can’t wait to hear our fans sing your name at home and away. I always love you, my brother, Ian. ‘