Mark Noble

Mark Noble criticism is both embarrassing and unfair

Author: . Published: at 12:54pm

Written by Daniel Fisk @fisko27

While social media may well represent the opinion of a small minority that shout the loudest, I can’t help but feel embarrassed by what seems to be a rising swell of negatively towards Mark Noble.

I don’t think there is much argument between Hammer’s fans as to Mark Noble’s status at the club; ‘Mr West Ham’ embodies the loyalty, passion and commitment seen so rarely in today’s game, and watching a boyhood fan captain the club is something to be cherished.

Increasingly though, Noble’s form seems to have led to increasingly vocal sections of our support calling for him to be dropped from the starting eleven.

I fully support the idea that any team selection should be made on merit. Elite football is a pure meritocracy in which previous achievements and personality mean little if a player isn’t doing the business on the pitch. And I don’t think that Mark Noble should be picked indefinitely just because he is an inspirational captain and club legend.

However, I he think he deserves a lot more respect and I think the attitude of certain West Ham fans towards him is embarrassing.

Personally I think the criticism of his form is overdone. The usual gripes of “he gives the ball away” or “he slows the play down too much” are ignorant. Mark Noble shows bravery on the ball that others don’t, and too often he lacks the support of players making forward runs beyond our striker.

This season the usual shout is to drop Noble and start Kouyate and Obiang in the middle. Slav hasn’t gone for that much and there will be a reason behind that. Although I think Kouyate has filled in well as part of a back three this season, as a midfielder I think he has regressed from the dynamic box-to-box player that burst on to scene in 2014.

Slav dropping Noble means his dropping his lieutenant on the pitch and the biggest leader in the dressing room, and clearly this holds sway with the manager.

The fact is our win record is also significantly better in games when Mark Noble starts.

One-club-legends like Mark Noble are a rare breed, and I think we should be proud that we have one as our captain. I hope Mark gets a bit more respect from certain quarters as he approaches the latter stages of his career as a guaranteed starter for West Ham.



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  • Lee
    19th February 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I agree with the view that he does slow the ball down, gives the ball away to much and concedes too many fouls in dangerous positions AND kouyate and obiang should start , I don’t think this is “ignorant” but I respect the writers right to an opinion even if he assumes everyone not agreeing with him is ignorant. I also respect Nobes’ loyalty and commitment to the club but it shouldn’t cloud what is perhaps best for the club IMHO

  • Paul
    19th February 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Totally agree. He is one of the West Ham greats. He has been never endingly consistent. He has been our only decent player in many teams and in many games. Never hidden in backs to the wall games. This is probably the issue. He is held to a higher level of judgement. And what about injuries? Virtually none. Always on the team sheet.
    Look at the Palace game and that reverse spin ball he placed in Antonios path for Feghoulis goal. Pure quality and under a great deal of pressure whennthe team were under par.
    He probably does need to be managed now and coming off after 60-70 mins does seem a sensible strategy. Although only last season he was still topping the Kms run during a game. He deserves a great deal of respect and i hope we don’t start going down the route of grumbling every time he gets on the ball.

  • 19th February 2017 at 3:35 pm

    You are entitled to your opinion as are the neh sayers, I think your article is condescending to those who believe he is struggling as if you are more West Ham than they are! Nobles loyalty shouldn’t justify a starting place and his current form doesn’t justify one either !

  • 19th February 2017 at 4:43 pm

    West Ham is not West Ham without Noble. He has given us his all week in week out for years

  • Colin
    19th February 2017 at 10:19 pm

    No player is beyond examination or reproach. That has to be the only way a team can develop & improve. Football is about opinions & currently Slav sees more pros than cons with Marks captaincy & general play. Eventually the cons will outweigh the pros & change will be inevitable. I trust in Slavs opinion, his future depends on getting this stuff right.

  • West Ham Fan No 32
    21st February 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Hi Daniel, you have an opinion shared by many but there are many like myself that disagree, imho Mark Noble’s place within the club and to the team puts him firmly as Mr West Ham, complete Claret and Blue legend but he has slowed down, all through his career he has been a reactive player rather than a reader of the game, the way the top teams move the ball at pace with one and two touch passing makes him almost redundant in games if you look at his tackle rate in those game you will find it mostly in low single figures sometimes not a single tackle all game, against the top teams they simply bypass him and pull him out of position creating space for their teammates in the process, at the start of the season I would agree Kouyate wasn’t playing well but he has upped his game considerably allbeit in defence, in truth it is a defensive midfielder that we need someone to fully replace Noble, we did have that in Song but he and Bilic fell out and that was the end of that, Bilic has tried Fernandes who may well grow into the role there but at the moment he lacks a bit of bite, although lacking in bite for my mind the most suitable player to play alongside Obiang is Lanzini whenever I have seen him play there his reading of the game means he often arrives where the ball is before the opposing player negating the need to stick his foot in like Nobes would but also not giving away stupid fouls and holding onto the ball for long enough that players can move from defence to attack but Bilic seems to use him in the floating / no 10 role, having seen a few clips of the boy we signed from Everton Holland he may well be getting a chance in that role sooner rather than later, there seem to be shades of Ravel Morrison with more end product about him certainly at u23 level.