Ten years ago The Arsenal lost a true legend. If you were lucky enough to see David Rocastle play then he was your favourite player of that era.
He was a special talent. He felt like one of us. He hopped over the advertising boards and played with the passion that you or I would if only that dream had come true. He was enormously talented on the ball. I can still see those winding runs across the Highbury turf. Things happened when he had the ball. He scored goals. That goal at Aston Villa! Anfield! Middlesbrough! That goal at Tottenham in the Littlewoods Semi-final! "And it's Arsenal through to Wembley!"
He could also look after himself. He took no crap. He epitomised that 'all for one' attitude that snatched the Littlewoods Cup in '87 and the big one at Anfield in 1989.
I remember Rocky breaking his fingers in a Makita tournament match and the ref not allowing him to receive treatment. Gary Lewin took one step onto the pitch and dragged him off by the ankles. Rocky played with taped up fingers for a while after that.
On the day Rocky died The Arsenal were at home to Tottenham. Robert Pires was wearing Rocky's number 7 shirt and scored a goal in the second half. A goal that did Rocky proud. The ultimate tribute from on high.
It was a tragedy when he died in 2001. We, as fans, lost one of our own but that's not the tragedy. He was a young man with a wife and children. The fact he cannot be an honoured guest pales into insignificance when you consider his 'other' real family. The same happened to my wife at the same age as Ryan, Rocky's son. He was more than a true Arsenal legend. He was a husband and a dad & was taken too soon.
Rocky, my first favourite player, thanks for the marvellous memories. Always remembered. It was an honour to watch you.