Mark Noble – Club Legend?
Author: Richard Dixon. Published: 14 May 2018 at 9:53pm
There is a lot we don’t agree on as West Ham fans at the moment, but one thing we would all agree is that this has been a terrible season, both on and off the pitch. When times are bad we football fans tend to look back and remember happier times. At West Ham that will bring up a number of familiar names, Moore, Hurst, Di Canio, Peters, Bonds and Brooking. So whilst there may be some debate, these players are generally accepted as legends at our club.
Now I’m willing to bet when you read that you were mentally adding more to the list, Devonsonshire, Dicks, Cottee, McAvennie… I could go on and on. The point being, that with certain notable exceptions club legends are subjective and based on your own personal experience. It could be something from your first West Ham game or maybe Modibo Maïga gave you his shirt after a game where he scored (really really unlikely) or some other random act that just chimed with you in some way. We all have our favourites, but few make it to true legendary status.
It seems like a long time since we have had a widely accepted club legend, I suppose Dimitri Payet was on course to achieve this accolade, mostly because he was just so damned good. However, we all know what happened there, so lets not dwell on our French ex-girlfriend, the man we just love to hate. Payet is a lesson to those who throw the ‘legend’ title around lightly (or worse get a tattoo!). What about our 2107/18 squad? The current fan favourite is clearly Arnautovic. He has a long way to go, as stated, one season does not a legend make, and the dour amongst us suspect that he won’t be here long enough to reach legendary status. A couple of other names pop into your head as future legends, Collins, Rice and Lanzini are contenders, but really there is only one name that really fits, and that is of course Mark Noble.
Our current club captain is not going to be remembered as a skipper who shepherded us to glory, it seems unlikely that he will ever lift a cup of any note. Also there is much debate about his abilities on the pitch. If you had no idea about him and tried to learn from Twitter I suspect you would find out that his is brilliant, but his legs have gone and he is an awful player and probably 50 other contradictory opinions. There is certainly no consensus on his ability, but surely no one can argue about the man’s commitment to club? He now has over 400 appearances for the club, scored 50+ goals and been Hammer of the Year twice. What ever you think of his skills this man is a West Ham player through and through. He made his senior debut at 17 years old, back in August 2004, but after this his career at West Ham faltered and he spent most of 2006 out on loan, first to Hull and then Ipswich. It was under Alan Curbishley in the 2007/08 season that he really established himself as a first team regular and he hasn’t looked back since.
Coming right up to date his passion for the club, and temper, has been on display this season. At the now infamous Burnley game Noble split opinion with his “handling” of a pitch invader. We spoke to Mark briefly after the game and when asked if he thought the club would fine him his response was bullish, “they better fucking not!”. I think his actions that day and his subsequent response show that he feels the frustrations of the fans, others may say they show he is a “thug”. In the Manchester United “bore-draw” Noble’s tussle with Pogba again showed that he can let his feelings get the better of him. I’ve seen comments that state this is why we love him, and others saying that as Captain he should be above that type of behaviour. However when I think of this season I prefer to think of his stunning right footed volley against Leicester which put the game out of their reach and ensured the Hammers Premier League survival. When that ball hit the back of the net there was a look on Noble’s face that told everyone what it meant to him, and where did he run to celebrate? To the fans of course.
There has been the occasional rumour about other clubs wanting him, but can anyone imagine him in anything except a West Ham shirt? He may not be our greatest talent, but who amongst can deny that we would hate to see him pull on another shirt? My suspicion is that as much as much as we wouldn’t want to see this, the person who would be the most pained is Mark Noble himself. Mark Noble is a local boy (born in Canning Town) who has been granted the freedom of the Borough of Newham and his heart is with us.
At 31 he is still going strong, the ‘legs gone’ comment is often made about Mark, but he is still capable of galvanising the team, putting in a shift and giving a great performance. It is clear that as the seasons progress he will become a fringe player on the pitch, but off the pitch his influence will continue. I am prepared to put it in writing I do not believe that he will leave us for a lesser team to see out his career or move to the USA/China for the money. It is my belief that he will stay at his beloved West Ham and take a coaching role.
So considering it all, at this time I don’t think Mark Noble is a legend, but I have no doubt whatsoever that he will become one. Not because he has won anything, or scored important or impressive goals, but because he is one of us. Mark Noble is a destined to be a West Ham legend because he loves the club as much as we do, and for that I salute him. Mark Noble is “Mr West Ham”.
The Mark Noble “Mr West Ham” A2 print (pictured above) is available to buy here bit.ly/NOBLEPRINT