EXCLUSIVE: Robert Pires recalls scoring for Arsenal against Spurs at Highbury on the day ‘legend’ David Rocastle sadly died
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EXCLUSIVE: Robery Pires has been speaking with Layth Yousif about scoring for Arsenal against Spurs on the day the much-loved David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle died.
Arsenal icon Robert Pires has been recalling the North London derby in which he scored to help win the match on the day David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle died.
Pires, who played 198 league matches for the Gunners, scoring 62 goals, also contributing 41 assists between 2000 and 2006, shared his memories exclusively with the Islington Gazette at an event at the Emirates earlier this season.
With Sunday’s eagerly-awaited clash against Spurs at the Emirates looming the affable 45-year-old recalled his derby memories of the 2-0 victory in 2001 which came just hours after Rocastle sadly passed away at the age of 33 from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Pires who won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups during his time at Highbury said: “Rocky was a very important player for the club. He was a legend for Arsenal because he built something with the club. I think it’s very important to think about him always.
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“For me I know Rocky Rocastle’s story and he was a very good man and a very pleasant man.
“I know in the Arsenal academy they put that very famous quote on the wall that David said – ‘Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent.’
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“It is important never to forget the guy. He was a very good player for the club.
“Yes, I remember the game in 2001. I scored. It was a special day because we won and because we remembered Rocky.”
A minutes silence was held before kick-off impeccably observed by both sets of fans before Pires netted with a stroke of genius in the 70th minute by cutting inside and curling a shot over keeper Neil Sullivan.
Thierry Henry grabbed a second moments before the final whistle after waltzing past Chris Perry to slot home as Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal put their bitter rivals to the sword.
The win came a week before they beat the Lillywhites in the FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford in what proved to be Sol Campbell’s final game for the White Hart Lane outfit.
For comprehensive coverage on Sunday’s eagerly-awaited North London derby follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29.
Robert Pires spoke to Layth at a Legends event at the Emirates earlier this season.