David Rocastle is an Arsenal legend in every sense of the word, and will always be our number 7 in my eyes, and it is pleasing to hear that our fans help the family to grieve in his memory.
It has been 19 years to the day that the midfielder died, shortly after announcing that he was suffering with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, although it turned out that he had held on to the information since October the previous year.
Rocastle was taken from his family at the tender age of 33, and his memory lives on with his name proudly displayed for all to see on our recently built Emirates Stadium, as well as having a building at our state-of-the-art training facility named after him.
His sister has now come out to praise our fan base for helping them to mourn his going, although she describes the occasion more of a celebration.
“He was just a south London boy from Brockley,” says his younger sister Karen Rocastle, “Rather than mourning his death, we celebrate his life because the fans are keeping his memory alive.”
“Every year since his passing there has always been a big remembrance for him.
“There’s an American lady that comes over with a massive banner that’s been signed by Thierry Henry and others. She’ll walk around the Emirates with this banner and there are others who sing his chants and they still remember him. That makes it easier for us every year on his anniversary.”
“When he was able to kick something he would be kicking something,” Karen adds.
“We lived in a three bedroom flat on the top floor in Turnham and in our house, like any other black household, had a cabinet with a plastic fruit bowl. Him and our brother used to just kick around a plastic piece of fruit, breaking my mum’s cabinet in the process.
“So from primary school, he already had a love for football.”
What is your favourite memory of David Rocastle?