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Irish Hammer 12:25 Sat Jul 17
Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant

Long article from July 2020, but I enjoyed it, he’s a good egg is Mark.

Mark Noble’s 500: the definitive portrait of a West Ham legend England ignored

Roshane Thomas
Mark Noble is the midfielder West Ham United signed from under the noses of Arsenal, who Gianfranco Zola believes has the same level of footballing intelligence as Andrea Pirlo and who former team-mate Calum Davenport thinks deserves a statue outside of the London Stadium.

With Noble in line to make his 500th club appearance for West Ham this Friday against Watford, The Athletic interviewed those who have scouted, coached, managed, played with — and even refereed — the midfielder, to find out what has made him such a cult figure at the club. We spoke to Chris Cohen, Shaka Hislop, Teddy Sheringham, Jimmy Hampson, Tony Carr, Nicky Maynard, Alan Pardew, Bobby Zamora, Jordan Hugill, Matt Taylor, Zola, Jimmy Walker, Liam Brady, Marlon Harewood, Davenport, Matt Jarvis, Joey O’Brien, Stewart Downing, Robert Snodgrass, Matt Upson, Mark Halsey and Jack Collison.

This is the story about the impact Noble has had at West Ham, the club he has supported all his life and captained for the past five years…

The early days: ‘We got to the Nobles’ at about 9pm and didn’t leave until 2am’

Jimmy Hampson chuckles over the phone as the former scout recalls the moment that he persuaded the Noble family that their 12-year-old son should join West Ham from Arsenal, where he had spent two years between the age of nine and 12.

“I first became aware that Arsenal wanted to sign him on schoolboy terms when their scout Ronnie Joyce mentioned it — he let it out of the bag,” says Hampson, who is 70 now and retired in 2018 after 18 years at West Ham. “I got a call one night and someone told me Noble is due to sign for Arsenal tomorrow and it will be on the pitch. We made contact because not only was he a good player but we knew he supported West Ham. So myself and Jimmy Tindall went to Noble’s house and we sat there, and I think we talked the ears off his mum and dad to get him to sign for West Ham.

“We got round there at about nine and we didn’t leave until two in the morning. To pass time, I started playing football with Noble’s little sister. Not being disrespectful to Arsenal but once we went in for Noble, I was confident that they would have no chance of signing him. Another factor that helped us was there were quite a few young players in the first team — players like Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Richard Garcia, Jermain Defoe, Glen Johnson — so Noble’s parents liked that.

“Signing him from Arsenal will always be my favourite memory when it comes to Noble. When I left their house, I’m pretty sure I dragged Noble’s dad out with me. I didn’t want to let go! In the car journey back home, I couldn’t stop smiling.”

Former West Ham and Arsenal midfielder Liam Brady fondly remembers Noble’s time at Arsenal. Brady was the head of youth development and academy director at Arsenal, and under his guidance, the youth team enjoyed plenty of success.

“Mark would’ve been one of the younger players in the under-nine and under-10 age groups,” says Brady, who left Arsenal in May 2014 and is now retired. “Even then, he was a very good player. He excelled in many areas, especially his tackling and running, which set him apart from the other young players. In his age group, he was one of the best players, if not the best player.

“The key thing with Mark was his commitment and attitude towards making it as a footballer. He was excellent in that respect. A lot of kids with a lot of ability fall by the wayside because they don’t show that commitment. His family are West Ham fans, so when I actually sat down with Mark, he was probably 10 or 11 then and the family wanted him to go to West Ham. They wanted to be nearer to their home and it was their club, so out of respect, I wasn’t going to stop that from happening. I wished Noble and his family well and he’s gone on to achieve great things at West Ham. Anytime I bump into him, we have a nice chat and reflect on the old days.”

In his role as director of youth development, Tony Carr was responsible for nurturing so many future stars at West Ham, including Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Defoe. Carr spent 41 years at the club, overseeing the recruitment and development of young, promising players. He also played a big role in West Ham winning the FA Youth Cup in 1981 and 1999. When it comes to Noble, he is immensely proud of his achievements and shares a story of missing what could have been Noble’s best goal in West Ham colours.

“Every year, at under-14s, there was a tournament called the Nike Cup,” he says. “The tournament was up in Sunderland at their training ground and I made my way up there from London to watch our first game against Manchester City. It was an 11am kick-off and I got to the training ground just in time.

“I ran to the pitch where we were playing and I saw Man City kick-off, so I thought, ‘Phew, I just got here in time’. So I watch the match and it ends 0-0 but the West Ham players are celebrating, so I said, ‘Why are you celebrating? We didn’t even win’. Then one of the kids said Mark had chipped the goalkeeper from the halfway line, so we won 1-0.’ So when I arrived and Man City kicked off, it was because they were already 1-0 down!”

Against Leicester City in February 2003, Noble became the youngest player ever to appear for West Ham’s reserve team, aged just 15 years, eight months and 27 days. That record stood for 15 years until promising defender Jayden Fevrier appeared for the under-23s in October 2018. Then, in August 2004, at the age of 17, Noble made his first-team debut for West Ham in a Carling Cup game against Southend United.

Noble debut
Noble on his debut for West Ham, celebrating a goal with Marlon Harewood and Nigel Reo-Coker (Photo: Sean Dempsey – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
The goalkeeper Jimmy Walker, a recent arrival from Walsall, also made his debut against Southend. West Ham had been relegated to the Championship the previous season (2002-03) and then, after losing the play-off final in 2003-04, sold Michael Carrick to Tottenham Hotspur and David Connolly, one of their top scorers the previous season, to Leicester. Walker wanted to know if there would be reinforcements, only to be informed by Alan Pardew that there were two bright young talents coming through the ranks.

“When I joined, some of our big players left, so I asked Alan, ‘What are we going to do?’ He told me that we have two outstanding players coming through in Mark Noble and Chris Cohen, who we have really high hopes for,” says Walker. “Noble was 17 and around the first-team lads, and he was a great character. In the early days, Noble listened to Teddy Sheringham a lot and they got on really well. Noble was destined to be a great player.”

Sheringham had just joined on a free transfer from Portsmouth and was West Ham’s second-highest top-scorer that season with 21 goals in all competitions. He was named Championship Player of the Season award and helped the club rise to the Premier League following a play-off final win over Preston North End. When it comes to Noble, it only took one training session for the young midfielder to impress the former Manchester United striker.

“Alan Pardew put him in training with us one day and it was like, ‘Wow, what a player this young lad is’. Noble came in and he was so full of life and a breath of fresh air, really,” says Sheringham. “I remember Pardew asking me what I thought and I told him, ‘You have to put Noble in the team. He’s better than what we’ve got in our midfield’. Then, after that, Noble just took off.

“He was 17 but he looked like he was 31 and he still has the same dodgy haircut. He spoke like an old man and we were like, ‘Is he a teenager or is he in his mid-30s?’. He was an old head on young shoulders and he just took it all in his stride. He loved being around the older players and you could tell he just wanted to learn all about being a footballer and what it was like playing at all these great stadiums. He wasn’t a pest. In fact, he was a pest — but it was in a nice way.

“It was early in the season and a couple of the boys said we’re going to play golf. Noble was so enthusiastic he was like, ‘I play golf, I play golf, I’ll come with you guys’, so it was me, James Collins and I think Matty Etherington, and we took Noble to the golf course in West Essex. Noble came running down and he was like, ‘Come on, I’ll play first, guys. Where do we have to go?’

“We were laughing and thinking, ‘Oh, he’s a bit enthusiastic’, so Noble took the first shot and he said, ‘Oh, that’s not bad for a first shot, guys. What do you think?’ Me and the others are pissing with laughter and we were like, ‘You silly bastard — the hole is up there to the right’, so Noble had to run and get his ball from about 200 yards in the wrong direction, put it back down on the tee, and do it again. That was how gullible and lovely he was as a young boy.”

Noble
Noble and Chris Powell celebrate promotion in 2005 (Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Despite being a newcomer to the first team, Noble was keen to show he was able to handle himself in that environment. Former West Ham striker Harewood, who scored 56 goals in 170 appearances, remembers a moment when a baby-faced Noble showed a level of confidence rarely seen by players of his age.

“He was always screaming at lads, asking for the ball,” says Harewood. “So being a senior player back then, we were thinking, ‘Who’s this cheeky little boy? Who does he think he is?’ So Steve Lomas got the ball and pinged it into him really hard to see if he could handle it and Noble controlled it and played a pass, and screamed at Lomas, ‘That’s what I’m talking about — give me the ball.’ We all started laughing. From that day, we knew he could handle himself and you could tell he was a player.”

It was Pardew who gave Noble his first-team debut. Pardew had been appointed West Ham manager in 2003 and spent three years at the helm, during which time, they were promoted to the Premier League and reached the 2006 FA Cup final, which they lost to Liverpool. Noble made 27 appearances under Pardew and later had loan spells at Hull City and Ipswich Town.

“I knew nothing about Mark before I got the job but once we introduced him to training, it became obvious that we needed to get him involved,” Pardew says. “I remember Sheringham saying to me, ‘Gaffer, this is a proper player’. Teddy’s not the type to throw out too much praise to other players, so it backed my own personal belief that Noble was going to be good for West Ham.

“He had a joy about him. Win, lose or draw, Mark just enjoyed playing football. Mark was so humble and he never wanted to go anywhere else. He was so proud when I gave him his debut. I can’t think of any manager or player who would have a bad thing to say about Mark. It was such a big deal for him to make his debut for West Ham. Till this day, he still thanks me. He always says, ‘I’ll never forget that you gave me my first chance.’ It’s nice for a player to remember stuff like that. I was very proud to be the man to give Mark his debut.”

Noble the captain: ‘It’s hard to be a leader at 4ft 9in but that’s what Mark is’

Robert Snodgrass has been Noble’s team-mate for the past three years, playing 61 matches together and getting on well on and off the pitch. The Scotland winger believes Noble’s role as a leader is on par with former Manchester United and Chelsea captains Roy Keane and John Terry, and thinks that the 33-year-old’s ability won’t be truly appreciated until he retires.

“When I first came in, a lot of the fans were giving him a hard time and he always looked for the ball,” says Snodgrass. “That’s what I love about Mark Noble. He always wants the ball. Any kid aspiring to be that centre midfielder, always try to get on the ball. His passing range is unbelievable.

“As a guy, he has been the focal point and the leader, and he has so many traits like Roy Keane was to Manchester United, Steven Gerrard was to Liverpool, John Terry was to Chelsea. He’s got everything. That’s why he’s been the top man here for so long and he’s still doing it. I still watch him in training. I’m still trying to get the ball off him.

“He just makes sure everybody’s all right but I find it’s important you know that until he’s finished, no one will realise how good a player Mark Noble actually was. He’s a terrific talent. He uses people around him really well, he picks up great pockets and his finishing and passing ability is top-notch.”

Noble
Noble after scoring in the Championship in 2011 (Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images)
During half an hour on the phone with Sheringham, it is obvious he enjoyed friendly banter with Noble. As a young player, the midfielder would seek advice from Sheringham, something that put him in good stead for the future. “Noble is only about 4ft 9in on his tiptoes, so it’s hard to be a leader at that height,” Sheringham deadpans. “But joking aside, players like Dennis Wise, who were short, showed great leadership. I think Noble was very similar to that. Once he got his foot in the door, you could tell he was a leader with the way he carried himself.”

Noble’s acts of leadership and kindness never go unnoticed and it is one of reasons why former team-mate Jack Collison considers Noble a good friend. It was the 33-year-old who recommended Collison for the under-16 manager’s role at West Ham in 2017 and in April, the West Ham captain used his free time to give advice to Collison’s under-17s at Atlanta United. In the video call, via Zoom, they all listened intently while Noble talked about his love for West Ham and the setbacks he has experienced.

A month before that, Noble had donated £35,000 to Basildon Borough Council to help ensure food and medicine for some of the most isolated and vulnerable people in the community.

Joey O’Brien, who now plays for Shamrock Rovers, tells a story of asking Noble for a favour years after he left West Ham. “It didn’t matter if you were a player, a receptionist, or the tea lady — Mark always had time for you that’s why he’s such a likeable guy,” O’Brien says.

“I left the club a few years ago and pretty much had no contact with anyone at the club. Then I came over to Shamrock Rovers and started coaching the under-15s and I wanted to improve the lads, and I tried to arrange a game against good opposition. Mark was the person I contacted and that just shows you the type of guy he is. He went out of his way to put me in contact with the academy director at West Ham.

“Mark didn’t have to do that and without him, I probably wouldn’t have been able to bring over my boys and play a game against them. That, for me, shows a lot about what he is as a person. Like I said, I left the club a long time ago and for me to pick up the phone and ask Mark for a favour, and for him to not have any issues with it, meant a lot to me.”

While plenty of former team-mates are quick to praise his ability and leadership qualities, former Premier League referee Mark Halsey says that Noble’s on-pitch presence, particularly when defending his team’s actions, used to remind him of his ex-wife.

“You have to keep an eye on him with his tenacious tackling,” he says. “But looking back now, I used to love refereeing players like Mark. I gave him a yellow card a few times but I never sent him off!

“He was worse than my ex-wife when he was moaning about decisions in my ear. I used to say to him, ‘Listen, I divorced my first wife with the way you keep going on’ but he’s a great role model and a legend for West Ham. Hopefully, he has a few more years left in him.”

Noble
Noble gesticulates to referee Michael Oliver earlier this season (Photo: Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images)
When it comes to players joining West Ham, quite often, it is Noble who goes out of his way to make them feel settled. Jordan Hugill joined for £10 million from Preston North End on the last day of the January 2018 transfer window and it was Noble who made sure he felt comfortable.

“Noble was brilliant for me from the first day I moved to the club,” says Hugill. “When I first signed from Preston, I was a bit nervous because I was seeing all these names that I had seen on the telly so much. To be honest, I was starstruck walking into the changing room, I thought to myself, ‘Do I deserve to be here with all these good players?’ From the moment I arrived, Mark walked over and introduced himself. He gave me his number and then he introduced me to everyone.”

Similar to Hugill, the Championship was the highest level Nicky Maynard had played prior to joining West Ham from Bristol City in 2012. And despite not being the captain at the time, it was Noble who was keen to make Maynard feel part of the team. “He really went out of his way to make me feel welcomed,” he says. “Noble wasn’t even the captain at the time — it was Kevin Nolan. It was the first time in my career where someone pulled me to one side and instantly made me feel part of the team.”

Stewart Downing, who often socialised with Noble during his two-year spell at West Ham, laughs as he remembers Noble’s reaction after Downing’s free-kick helped win a game against Tottenham at Upton Park in May 2014.

“I played with Noble for the England youth team and we clicked straightaway,” he says. “When I scored against Tottenham, he was like, ‘You don’t know who you just scored against. It’s Tottenham. I hate them’ and all this and that. I know it’s a cliche but Noble is Mr West Ham and Karren Brady (the chief executive) loved him. He came through the ranks as a kid. He will probably finish his career there and become a manager there.”

Noble the player: ‘His footballing intelligence is as good as Pirlo’

Gianfranco Zola managed West Ham for two seasons between 2008 and 2010, and loved working with Noble, a player he tells The Athletic had a similar footballing brain to Italy legend Andrea Pirlo. “He was an intelligent player and I’ve always considered his footballing intelligence to be as good as Andrea Pirlo,” says Zola. “Noble was an important player for me on and off the pitch.”

In the recent win against Norwich City, David Moyes played Noble as a No 10 and it was one of his best performances of the season. He provided an assist for one of Michail Antonio’s four goals, had a pass accuracy of 89 per cent, created eight chances and recovered the ball five times. Despite appearing as a No 10 at youth level for England, Noble’s career has predominantly been as a deeper central midfielder.

His former manager Pardew believes Noble’s dictation of the tempo of the game is something the player has been able to learn over time. “With young central midfield players, they have a lot of responsibilities and sometimes, you worry about how they will get on,” he says. “It’s much easier for wide players and attackers because you don’t have to rely on them so much defensively. But in central midfield, you do, and Noble’s defensive work was good, even as a young player. He was mature for a young player.”

Sheringham, Noble’s team-mate in that Pardew team, says: “When you play with Noble, you realise how good he is. He’s one of those players you look at and wouldn’t think, ‘Wow, what a player’ but West Ham fans appreciate him. You have to watch him week in, week out, to understand how he makes things tick. He’s not one of those players that’s going to dribble past six players and put it in the top corner.”

Ex-West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop was approaching the latter stages of his career when Noble broke through at West Ham. “A lot of the time, I get asked, ‘What does Mark Noble bring to this team?’ The only way to describe it is you have to play alongside him to truly appreciate what he does,” says Hislop. “You know where he’s going to be. Rarely does he give the ball away and you know exactly what you’re going to get. When you get yourself in trouble, you know you can rely on him.

“Without a player like Mark Noble, you can’t have flair players in the midfield. He’s just one of those players that good teams can’t do without, and you don’t appreciate him until he’s not on the sidelines. I love Mark for everything that he does on the field and the person that he is off it. He is the epitome of a team player, he really is.

“I remember we played Spurs and Edgar Davids was getting on the ball a lot and running the game in midfield. It was at White Hart Lane and I was on the bench. I remember the manager sending on Mark and telling him, ‘Stop Davids getting on the ball’. Mark rattled Edgar Davids every single time and it was so funny because we’re sitting on the bench and we’re killing ourselves with laughter. Davids had these glasses and here he is, this big player, and Mark Noble is just rattling him every single time. It was so funny. That’s definitely my favourite memory of Mark.”

Noble, Davids
Noble challenges Davids (Photo: Ben Radford/Getty Images)
Noble has a great desire to win even when he is not on the football field. In the 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion in August, which Noble missed due to injury, he was in the press box with his son urging the team on. A hamstring injury ruled out any involvement in the recent 3-2 win over Chelsea but he was in the stands cheering his team-mates on. Former club captain Matt Upson remembers a pre-season tour in Europe which perfectly sums up just how competitive Noble is.

“We were in Austria and we had a day off and we organised to go go-karting,” Upson says. “I was beating him on the final lap and he was turning at this corner and he just accelerated straight at me and absolutely wiped me out. It was such a reckless move! But that’s Mark; he has a real desire to win.”

Overlooked by England: ‘I was texting Roy saying, you need to get Noble in the squad’

Noble played for England at under-16, under-17, under-18, under-19 and under-21 level. He made his first appearance in 2002 and over the course of seven years, played 47 times for England at youth level. Noble was part of the side that finished Under-19 European Championship runners-up to a France team that boasted Hugo Lloris, Abou Diaby and Yohan Cabaye. Four years later, he was a runner-up again when England lost to Germany in the Under-21 European Championships in 2009.

That final against Germany was his last appearance in an England shirt.

How is it that someone who featured so heavily for the youth teams and is nearing 500 appearances for West Ham has never received a call-up to the England senior squad?

It is something the former West Ham striker Bobby Zamora has struggled to fathom over the years, so much so that he was in regular contact with Roy Hodgson about why Noble deserved a place in the team.

“I still speak to Noble and when he was having a great season for West Ham, Roy Hodgson was England’s manager,” he says. “I had a good relationship with Roy during our time together at Fulham and I was calling him and texting him saying, ‘Look, you need to get Noble in the squad. He needs to be in the team. He’s good enough’ but for whatever reason, he didn’t make it. It is a shame because I think he would’ve done very well in an England jersey.”

Hampson, the scout who helped sign Noble for West Ham, agrees. “I think it’s criminal that he has never been given the opportunity to play for England,” he says. “Yes, there were some good players in front of him but Noble definitely deserved to be called up to at least one England squad.”

Noble
Noble in action for England Under-21s (Photo: AMA/Corbis via Getty Images)
Downing made his debut for England in 2005 against the Netherlands and was also named in the 2006 World Cup squad. He earned 35 caps for the national team and he also believes Noble should have earned at least one cap.

“Mark definitely should’ve had the chance to play for England,” he says. “When I got back in the England squad, Hodgson was at our ground every week. Sam (Allardyce) told me Hodgson was watching me, Noble, Tomkins and Aaron Cresswell. There was a moment at West Ham when we were third in the league and we were flying. So I thought to myself, ‘If Roy ignores us now, then we’re never getting in’. He picked me. I think Cresswell went on standby for one game and someone got injured and Roy put someone in from nowhere, like (Fabian) Delph, who had been out injured for like a year. That’s when I knew Noble wasn’t going to get in.

“I asked what he would do if England turned him down again and he said the Republic of Ireland were desperate for him to play for them because his mum is Irish. I think she wanted him to play for Ireland too and I honestly thought he was going to play for them and he didn’t in the end.

“West Ham were challenging for a top six/seven spot and Noble wasn’t even making the 30-man England squad. No disrespect to Jake Livermore but he was at Hull City and they were struggling in the bottom half of the league when he got picked ahead of Noble. If Livermore could get in the squad, why not Noble?”

O’Brien, who won five caps for the Republic of Ireland, tried to work the charm to get Noble to switch international allegiance but his efforts were in vain. “It’s disappointing that he was never given that chance (for England),” says O’Brien. “I was trying to nick him to play for Ireland but he had no interest. He only wanted to play for England.”

In terms of goals, the 2015-16 season was Noble’s best campaign at West Ham. He scored seven times in 46 appearances under Slavic Bilic and was the club’s joint fourth-highest scorer, along with Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho. None of the former England managers have ever gone on record to explain why Noble was never called up to the England squad.

His former team-mate Matt Jarvis found it hard to mention Noble’s noticeable absence. “I think he should’ve had a chance to get in the squad,” Jarvis says. “It’s just been unfortunate that his position over the years has been one that has a hell of a lot of top-class players. Sometimes, we would be like, ‘Mark, why are you not in the squad?’ but it got to a point where you didn’t really want to bring it up.”



Pardew was linked with the England job in 2016 when Hodgson left the role following a disappointing performance at the Euros. Although he was not given the role, he believes current manager Gareth Southgate would have been a fan of Noble had been in charge a few years earlier.

“There’s a lot of players that have played for England that weren’t as good as Mark Noble,” Pardew says. “He was definitely unlucky on that front. If Noble’s career started again and Gareth was manager, I think he would’ve got picked. Gareth would’ve been a big fan of Noble but that chance has bypassed him now.”

Cohen, the former Nottingham Forest midfielder who came through the West Ham academy with Noble, believes that the retirements of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in 2014 should have presented Noble with an opportunity for England.

“The most upsetting thing about it is there was a space for Noble in the England squad,” Cohen says. “Gerrard and Lampard had retired, and it felt like the right time for Noble to get his chance. They were trying lots of different players in midfield and it’s a great shame because I’m gutted he was never given that chance.

“But if I go back to when we were 15 and on the bus going to training, and I turned around and told him, ‘In the future, you’ll make 500 appearances for West Ham and win a couple of promotions’, then I think Noble would’ve bitten my hand off, so I hope he doesn’t have any regrets about his career.”

Reaching 500 games: ‘He deserves a statue. The guy is a legend’

Noble will always have a special place in the hearts of West Ham fans. He has been loyal to the club throughout his career and is their all-time record Premier League appearance-maker (379) and a two-time Hammer of the Year. Captain since 2015, his next game will take him to 500 senior appearances for West Ham.

“Noble deserves a statue because in this day and age, players like him are so rare,” says Calum Davenport. “Let’s be honest, West Ham has been a circus at times over the years and Noble is probably the only one who’s been through it all with the club. He’s a massive role model for any young player. Noble has kept his head down and been loyal to West Ham. The guy is a legend. To play under so many different managers and still be consistent shows you just how good of a player he is.”

Walker, who made his West Ham debut at the same time as Noble, agrees. “He’s been loyal to the club and I can’t recall Noble ever pushing to leave,” he says. “So for him to come through, captain the club and play 500 games is incredible. I’m proud of him.

“He’s got skills on the pitch and off it as well. His main skill is keeping his barnet. I don’t know how he’s done it. That’s a special skill. At 19, 20, I used to say to him, ‘You don’t have long left with that hair’.”


Noble celebrates scoring in the final game at Upton Park in 2016 (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Noble is playing a pivotal role in West Ham’s quest to secure Premier League football for another season. His dedication to the sport is one of the main reasons why he remains an important player for West Ham, says former team-mate Matt Taylor.

“Every single day in training, he gave it his all,” he says. “That’s why he still plays for the first team and I don’t think he gets enough credit for how good he is at the game. The majority of the 500 games Mark has played have been in the Premier League. He’s a great guy and it’s a great achievement for him and his family. Noble is 33 and he’s as fit as he’s ever been. Although West Ham won’t be happy with where they are in the league, they’ve got a fantastic captain in Noble, who will drive them on.”

It is a great shame no supporters will be present when Noble achieves this huge milestone. West Ham are three points clear of the relegation zone and the game against Watford will be their most important match of the season. Depending on the result, Noble may not get the opportunity to enjoy the occasion but Cohen hopes Noble’s achievement will be celebrated by West Ham fans when they are allowed back in the London Stadium.

“The first time we all saw Noble train, we just knew he was special,” he says. “In modern-day football, with the high turnover of managers, Noble still remains an important player for West Ham. His family are West Ham fans and it’s an amazing achievement for him to play 500 games for his boyhood club.”

So, what next for Noble? His contract expires at the end next season and he will be 34 by then. He has been earmarked as a future West Ham manager and Zamora believes his old team-mate deserves a senior role at the club.

“I would like to see Noble have a proper role at the club and have a real say because I know he isn’t going to do it for a pound note, or to make himself look good — he’s going to do it because he just wants West Ham to win.”

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

tnb 10:37 Tue Jul 20
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
Swiss,

Agree completely. That Tevez season and in the England u21 run to the Euros final he was basically playing as a number 10. At his peak a few more non penalty goals was the only thing most people agreed was missing from his game to get at least a chance with England at senior level (and I’m not necessarily saying he would have proved good enough, but compared to some of the caps in midfield around that time…) but he was never really given a chance.

Even more recently (Leicester away a couple of years ago I think?) with what legs he ever had gone he’s done ok there.

Swiss. 6:28 Mon Jul 19
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
I agree with posts that Noble should never had been deployed as a DM. His strengths were as an attacking midfielder.

twoleftfeet 6:24 Mon Jul 19
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
My son wants a new West Ham shirt with Nobles name on the back.

£85!!!!

The shirts only cost about £3-£5 to make in some sweat shop in China!!

Swiss. 5:55 Mon Jul 19
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
Glenn Rodent 1:10 Mon Jul 19

Have to agree with all of that.

cholo 4:16 Mon Jul 19
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
I don't think in this day and age you can rack up 400+ premier league appearances by being a mediocre player.

Although I suppose we'd have to agree on what defined mediocre in this sense.

stewie griffin 3:37 Mon Jul 19
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
Steve POTTS is a fucking legend.
Good for NOBES if that's the company he's keeping.

Glenn Rodent 1:10 Mon Jul 19
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
I don't really understand all this 'Mr West Ham' love-in.

Of course, Noble is a good pro, committed, hard working and a nice guy I'm told. I get all that, and he deserves respect.

But working hard, being committed - isn't that his job?Isn't that what he is paid to do and why he earns £50k per week?

And 'Mr West Ham'? - Bobby Moore is Mr West Ham. From the Academy, a World Cup Winning captain, a world class player, born in Barking, an FA Cup and a ECW Cup. He even has more appearances than Noble.

Loyalty? - it is only being loyal if another team was looking to take him away from us and he decided to stay put. I might be wrong here, but I never heard that he had a choice to go on to bigger and better things. So it isn't really loyalty when you haven't got anywhere else to go is it?

Like, I say, a good honest pro, did his best and fair play to him for that. But lets not get obsessive about it. He is a mediocre player, playing in an era when the club have been by and large unsuccessful. He didn't even get an England cap. There were better players out there and he just wasn't good enough.

If we do call him Mr West Ham, then you have got to call Steve Potts 'Mr West Ham' too. He was from the Academy, captained the club, won nothing and spent his career with his boyhood club. He is also still at the club, 19 years after retiring.

Maybe I'm being harsh, but I think some people go a bit too far with all this Mr West Ham malarkey. Not for me.

chedylan 2 9:29 Sun Jul 18
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
Gph

Agree with you.

Texas Iron 5:26 Sun Jul 18
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
Cheers...

gph 11:48 Sat Jul 17
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
He's an attacking midfielder (most of his best games were played there) forced by the cack-handed ownership to play as a defensive midfielder most of the time (because they have left us weak in defensive midfield).

That's probably the reason he never got England caps.

(Also, most of his sendings off have been down to him not being able to tackle like, say, Declan Rice.

Mex Martillo 11:35 Sat Jul 17
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
It is odd, more so when he played in every squad up to the senior squad, it shows no continuity. Thats what that other article was saying Sir Trev was changing.
Thanks Irish

cholo 9:05 Sat Jul 17
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
*one England cap

cholo 9:04 Sat Jul 17
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
When you look at the list of absolute toilet that have got at least England one cap since Noble made his West ham debut its criminal he never got one. CARL JENKINSON FFS.

Jaan Kenbrovin 7:20 Sat Jul 17
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
Good read. Cheers Irish.

Hopefully his last season can be his most memorable. After that I hope he does his badges for a crack at management. Certainly has the right personality.

Tomshardware 6:39 Sat Jul 17
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
Kaiser Zoso 2:15 Sat Jul 17

Kaiser Zoso 2:15 Sat Jul 17
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
charleyfarley 1:10 Sat Jul 17

charleyfarley 1:10 Sat Jul 17
Re: Mark Noble - good positive article on a great servant
Thanks Irish





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