Firstly, a big thanks to everyone who wished the Arsenal FC Blog a happy birthday for yesterday – it was much appreciated. I hope I made it as clear as I could how important the readers have been to the success and sustainability of this blog. As I said yesterday, without the interest and participation of you guys out there I probably would have bored of this long ago, so thanks again. Also, to those who passed on the positive messages via the Arsenal FC Blog Readers Facebook group, thanks to you as well. Cheers.
Moving along now and for those of you who have been following Arsenal long enough to remember, Monday the 31st of March marks the 7th anniversary of former Arsenal footballer David “Rocky” Rocastle’s death. Rocky was an integral part of the club in the 80s and 90s, making his debut in 1985 and playing at the club for seven years before moving onto Leeds United in 1992. During that time he won three trophies with the club, including being part of the side that thrillingly won the 1989 League title after beating Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield on the last day of the season.
Despite leaving Arsenal in 1992, Rocky forever remained a part of the Arsenal family. The fans loved him not only because of his brilliance on the pitch, but because he played the game with a smile on face and his heart on his sleeve, and more than that, he always conducted himself as a gentleman.
In February 2001, Rocky announced that he was suffering from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the immune system. He underwent a course of chemotherapy and thousands of fans prayed for his recovery, but this was a battle that was too much, even for David Rocastle. Rocky passed away on 31st March 2001, aged just 33.
It gives me great pleasure to tell you that Aron Lazarus and Marc Levy, two Arsenal fans who grew up supporting Arsenal when Rocky was at his peak, have started up a tribute website in memory of the man (www.Rocky7.co.uk). It is a great tribute to Rocky and features some wonderful words from his friends and family as well as a great biography of his life.
On top of that, Aron and Marc have teamed up with Arseshirts to raise money with Treehouse – a charitable organization focused on education for children with autism – via three exclusive T-Shirts designed to commemorate Rocky’s life. All profits from the sales of these shirts will go to the Treehouse charity so if you like what you see, get behind Aron and Marc and be sure to grab one. In advance, I personally thank you for your support.
Sagna out, Wenger backs Gallas
Onto football matters now and Arsenal’s best rookie in recent seasons, Bacary Sagna, who twisted his ankle badly minutes after scoring against Chelsea last weekend, looks set to be out of action for at least three and anywhere up to five weeks. Arsene Wenger broke the bad news in a recent interview with Arsenal TV Online, as well as revealing the much better news that none of the Arsenal players who had gone on international duty have picked up any fresh injuries.
“I don’t know how long he will be out but I feel it will be three weeks at least. Five is the [worst case scenario]. The international players are not all back yet. But we have no real bad news. I have not spoken to some of them on the phone but if they were injured then they would have called. So it does not look bad.”
It’s very poor news about Sagna, for sure, but it’s important to take the positives out of this and the positives are that the likes of Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini are all OK to play on the weekend. Strange as it may seem and good as Sagna has been this season – and he has been very, very good – his absence may actually improve the defence if Wenger chooses to push the recently inconsistent Kolo Toure out wide and bring back the previously in-form Philippe Senderos. There’s always the chance that Emmanuel Eboue will play and Toure will remain where he is but in my eyes that’s a bit of a recipe for disaster. Either way, it’s terrible news for Sagna who, as I said, has had a marvellous first season with the club.
In other news the manager has also rubbished the claims of a number of journalists of late who have come up with the story that William Gallas has lost the respect of his teammates. Indeed, although Wenger admitted that the Frenchman was below his best against Chelsea last weekend he reiterated his contentment with Gallas’ role as captain as well as having a sly dig at the tabloids for going overboard with their claims.
“I believe he had not the best of performances on Sunday, and he would be the first to agree with that, but I don’t question his leadership nor his position in the team. You have the same William Gallas – and the same people said it was a good choice to make him captain when we were five points ahead, and you have not to go too much overboard.”
I couldn’t agree more. In my eyes Gallas has done well as captain this season and I was absolutely furious with some of the stories that ran this week questioning his behaviour, particularly the one from The Daily Mail. It’s all a load of garbage and I’m happy Wenger has picked up on it and said some to the public. Not that anything will ever be done about it…
That’s about it for today. Have a lovely Friday/Saturday and I’ll speak to you again tomorrow.
What do you think?
Have your say on Rocky Rocastle, Sagna’s injury or Gallas’ captaincy by leaving a comment.