Steve Welsh Pays Tribute To A Departed Arsenal Legend

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Written By Chris Azzopardi

When we last checked in with artist Steve Welsh, he was showing off his literal take on Umbro’s advertising campaign. For his latest project, he’s leaving the corporate world behind and returning to his roots, paying tribute to beloved players of the past. This project is a bit special, however: his most recent offering is an illustration of David “Rocky” Rocastle.

Rocky was a local boy from Lewisham who rose up through the Arsenal youth ranks to make 277 appearances for the club, winning two titles and a League Cup picking up more than a dozen caps for England. Unfortunately, his career was derailed by injury and he left Arsenal at the age of 25, and retired from the game at the age of 31.

But the disappointment of his career-ending injury troubles were nothing compared to the tragedy of his health problems. In February 2001, Rocastle announced that he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He died on March 31, 2001. He was 33.

Rocastle is revered by Arsenal fans, not just celebrated as a great former player, but mourned as one of their own doubly stolen away too soon.

Steve’s illustration, released with the blessing of David’s son, Ryan, captures Rocky in the midst of a match, concentration apparent on his face, having just unleashed a powerful shot surely destined for goal, and under his squad number – 7 -contains a quote, in the man’s own words:

Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent

You can buy a print at

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