Mark Noble is a West Ham Legend and should be treated as such. I was never so happy to see it was him who more or less sealed our place in the Premiership next season with his sublimely taken goal. A goal that even had Marko Arnautovic holding his head in his hands in disbelief. Albeit that was maybe because he was so shocked that Noble could score such a goal but nonetheless.
In today’s game we are surrounded by the fickle fan. The fan who will easily turn against anything or anyone in the hope of instant success. Unfortunately for Mark it appears to be his turn lately.
There have been numerous comments made about him not being fit enough, good enough, technical enough etc to be playing in West Ham’s starting 11 but someone please tell me who in our current squad would you replace him with?
We are a team that has just managed to save ourselves from relegation. Although when I say ‘ourselves’ it was actually an injury time goal by Everton which kept us up with two games left to play. We don’t have a squad of superstar players bursting with talent. There are not players agents queueing up to get their player into his boots. So, who replaces him?
Yesterday Mark Noble turned 31. He still has 3/4 good years left in him. I’m not saying he should be starting regularly in those years however I do believe he should be kept in and around the team. I’d love to have a one club player, just to prove today’s football hasn’t sold its soul to agents, sign on fees and the transfer window.
Noble’s popularity is plain to see. Just look at the number of ex-players who wanted to be involved in his testimonial. You see it in every ‘video’ the club release, joking and laughing with all his teammates. He is welcoming to new players. A friend / brother to the players. He ensures all players are included in the group. He is a leader. A captain.
I know it has been said numerous times but he is Mr. West Ham. Recently I read that he created a ‘win’ bonus fund that all the players contribute to. It then gets shared among all the staff within the club as they all have contributed to the win. (Maybe not so much in the fund to share around this season all the same). This says a lot about the man he is and how he feels about the entire club.
We have been calling for our history and heritage to be embraced and remembered by our current owners. Priding ourselves on being one big family. We rally around each other when needs be. Just look at how we have raised funds for little Isla Caton. We are a working-class football fan who has only ever asked for our players to put in a shift and work hard for our team and club. This is exactly what Mark Noble does! He may not be the most gifted of players but every club needs a work horse on the pitch to allow the skilful players to flourish.
In my time we have had a Billy Bonds for a Trevor Brooking or Alan Devonshire. A Martin Allen for a Stuart Slater or Kevin Keen. Steve Lomas for a Paolo DiCanio or Trevor Sinclair. We need a Mark Noble for a Marko Arnautovic or Manuel Lanzini. Someone who wins possession. Keeps possession even if it means go backwards, sidewards or wherever. Someone who puts in a crunching tackle to lift the fans and the team. Talks to the referee, planting seeds in his head. Calms players down on the pitch when the referee is going to card them. Carry’s timewasting players off the field. Tells his own players to get up when we need to battle on. Someone who will do whatever it takes for the benefit of the club.
Mark Noble has been our Hammer of the Year twice (2012 & 2014), he has been Runner-Up once (2005), the same year he was voted Young Hammer of the Year. He has made 433 appearances for the club, 316 in the Premiership (a record for our club), scoring 51 goals. His debut was in the 2004/5 season and he has been a constant in the team since 2007/8 season, playing under 7 different managers. That, in itself, shows just how highly he is rated by people who watch him day in, day out, in training. How many of those managers could have brought in someone they felt was ‘better’ than him but didnt feel the need?
Mark Noble has all the attributes and a love for this club that make him be the player / leader he is. A player we as fans always cry out for, hardworking, passionate, a fan, someone who knows what our beloved club is all about. Let us embrace this kind of player and not become a fickle fan akin to other clubs.
Therefore, at least to me, a non-fickle fan, Mark Noble, you are a West Ham legend!