Easy to forgive Noble but Slav has to be brave!


slaven-bilic-and-mark-nobleI find it quite easy to forgive Mark Noble’s outburst about fans not understanding football just as I did Slaven Bilic’s rant about a lack of intensity from the Hammers team after they were hammered by Arsenal.

Why? Easy… It’s because we all  say stuff we can regret later and Mark – as loyal a club man as anyone will ever find – knows he is under pressure.

If the average fan can see he is struggling for form and is regularly passing sideways and backwards when a fit and firing Kouyate would be bombing forward aided by Obiang and Lanzini, so can the skipper.

He will probably be feeling very vulnerable and wondering whether given this set of circumstances he would win his place back were he to lose it.

And let’s be perfectly honest about this, that’s unlikely without injury or suspension intervening.

Now none of this is intended to be callous or patronising towards a man whom I and everybody else loves to bits. He is rightly dubbed ‘Mr West Ham’ just as many of our other heroes were before him

Many of us have been here before when the likes of Mooro, Devo, Brooking, Bonzo and the rest  started to slow down – when it all became just that bit harder and a new order was on the cusp.

You never want to believe that your great club loyalists may just be on the wane. It’s so hard for us but imagine what it’s like for the person concerned such as may be the case with Mark .

The man has my sympathy but can I support him as the first midfielder on the team sheet? If I do actually know anything about football then it has to be a NO.

We need the energy of Kouyate in midfield and in  the absence of anyone else, Slav will need to give Byram – whom I’m not convinced about – his chance.

In conclusion one other point: The absence of an experienced Premier League right back can only be explained by remembering Slaven was entirely convinced that Michail Antonio was set to become a great player in that position.

Since then Antonio has become Sakho; Arbeola and Notveidt are off the radar, and we are losing 50 per cent of our best midfielder as a makeshift right back.

It’s been a long season and I hope and pray for a big finish but the squad is unbalanced, the captain is making some unguarded and embarrassing remarks as he finds the heat rising. The boss meanwhile desperately needs some results.

Mark has done too much for this club to hold a vendetta against him but as I wrote once before Slav really does have to bite the bullet on this one or possibly pay a heavy price.

Football isn’t rocket science but it does sometimes need great bravery – now is one of those times!

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • icwhs says:

    Total rubbish ! Monaco knocked city out tonight with an average stating age under 24! Ours our still out on loan.
    They are the top scorers in Europe as well, football has, ans always be a young mans sport.

    Byram should have started every game, how can you come good when you don’t play, if we had have played him, he’d be ready as a seasoned pro in August, thus we save money.

    Our best footballing CM are Obiang and Fernandes, again should start every game.

    With Martinez and Fletcher up top.

    Fletcher played 2.5 seasons with Rashford up front at Manchester United, at U21-23 level.

    Scored more than Rashford, and set up an astonishing 61% of Rashfords goals.

    They were gutted he left.

    You say its not rocket science, then spout drivel you no nothing about..

    Pick your best starting 11, Noble starting lately is as wrong as Nolan starting under Allardyce in his last season, and you want to cut Noble and Slav because there West Ham

    Total rubbish

  • icwhs says:

    And at least Nolan had the nads to to comment on the fans when he was getting grief.

    Nobes also commented on Arsenal fans wanting Wenger out, I agree Arsenal need a change of managet as well.

    Giroud will never win the Premier league title, Wenger thinks he will.

    I know he won’t.

    Maybe its players and managers who don’t no enough??

    Zlatan was available, yes at cost, and Terry had been told he wasn’t playing for Chelsea.

    A good manager at Arsenal would have got those two, saved on Mustafa, and won the league.

    Wenger sold van Persie, at the time his best player and talisman to a rival, irrelevant of age, fee, he won the title with United, he should have walked then, he’d not done much fors years before,

  • Stan The Man says:

    And you say Hugh talks uttef drivle.Martinez and Fletcher to start up front??
    I knew it was too late for an oldie like me to read this site at 1am,reading some of your crap has confirmed that lol

    • icwhs says:

      I meant now starting after we are basically safe, re martinez/Fernandes

      All clubs bedding in younger players, the odd million on league placing shouldn’t stop clubs doing it, as it helps the player become used to bigger games.

      No point giving Fletcher 2 bench starts, if he can get 10 full pl games under his belt

      Then we’d no a lot more from those 10 games as if he might have it

  • Stan The Man says:

    And by the way Hughie do you get royalties for all the copy and paste of your articles elsewhere when people put it on the other site but mention nothing about stealing it from here lol

  • icwhs says:

    Its late stan
    Meant fletcher/martinez

  • bubbles says:

    Hugh … excellent article … 100 % spot on . Bilic and Noble are doing harm to each other and the team . Noble must know that he is way past it and Bilic puts him under pressure by picking him at the expense of two of our best players who are wasted at right back . If Noble were truly the great team man he would call it a day and retire not dis the fans . I really hope that I am wrong but I can see us getting a hiding from Leicster at the weekend if Noble plays in midfield and Kouyate at full back . We must have Kouyate pushing forward and pressing them back . He is a true box to box player and gives us so much more in midfield , pace strong in the challenge and physical presence . Think Cresswell should have a rest . The new guy was not brilliant but neither has Cresswell and he may improve as he gets a foot in the door ( like Obiang ) . Bilic must bite the bullit . Proper players / captains like Rooney and Terry have been dropped when their managers saw that they were off the pace .Time for Bilic to man up , shake Nobles hand and give him a back room job .

  • John says:

    So watching that Monaco match made me think they’ve got 11 players out there that are hardly world beaters are they? Certainly inferior man for man to City, they play in a new stadium which is maybe two thirds the size of the LS and they have a bloody running track around the outside which is much more pronounced than ours, certainly the fans are no closer to the pitch. The stadium will certainly not win any prizes for beauty.

    Why shouldn’t West Ham aim for champions league? Leicester? Monaco? Gold is right to aim for CL ok it won’t be easy but these clubs do not have better facilities or a greatly improved squad than us. 3/4 decent buys in the summer….

    • Carrerageorge says:

      My thoughts on the Monaco stadium when I saw the highlights last night as well.And what a roar.I think Byram should usually start on the right with Antonio protecting him when necessary.He either gets the experience and is good enough or not.At 23(?) he shouldn’t need to be loaned out and Kouyate will be more effective in midfield

  • sleepswithdafishes says:

    I agreed with what Noble said in principle, but he should not have said it, at least for his own sake.
    The root cause for everything this season has been said on this site enough times. One bad summer of transfers has led to all sorts of problems. No regular right back, and weakness up front. We are all suffering in some way or the other, because of that. Without a strong enough squad we have problems.
    We need 10 more points to be sure of survival, but we also need to give players like Byram their chance. It’s a juggling act which I’m glad I don’t have to do. Noble is an important part of the squad, but the team is more important at this time.

  • Hammer64 says:

    A tricky issue well handled Hugh. Have to agree with most of it, sadly. In the end a change has to come, but it is how it is handled that tells whether a club (and it fans I have to say) have got any class. That article was class.

    Icwhs- ‘young’ does not equal ‘good’. They say if you are good enough you are old enough, but the key words there are ‘if you are good enough’. We are not safe yet. In my book you certainly don’t experiment until you are safe. In 2011 we went from 33pts to 35pts over our last ten games. And went down.

  • markro says:

    How to polarise views!

    For the most part, Hugh, I agree with your thoughts. Kouyate is being both wasted and exposed at RB pointlessly. He is a powerhouse in midfield. Why, on earth play him elsewhere to accommodate a player who is demonstrably out of form.

    Last season there was a clamour for Noble to be considered for England. How many of us think that Southgate has him anywhere near his new squad? Hands up…..point made.

    Put simply, Noble is not playing well and we have players in the squad who would do a better job immediately. Noble is a professional and should understand that squad players compete for match day places.

    I to would drop him from the starting XI.

  • markro says:

    * I too

  • Maravilla says:

    Noble has made his own bed so has to lie in it. He’s not been good enough and Phil Parkes was totally spot on ! If he starts on Saturday and we get tonked then I can see Bilic going

  • PopRobson says:

    I too am worried about Saturday, I think Leicester are just the sort of team to expose our now well known weaknesses, I shall sit there with my hands in front of my face probably wishing I’d stayed home to watch the Rugby. If we lose, I expect the ‘end of season, we are not actually safe yet, panic’ to set in.

  • Radai Lama..Paid up member of Slavs Chavs. says:

    Lol Pops yeah like the bottom 3 whoever they may be are going to discover top 4 form 😂
    It still wont stop the skidmark pants fans from having a breakdown though 😁

  • John says:

    Nothing to forgive. He was right.

  • Hammer64 says:

    PopR -Let’s hope Albert Steptoe put on one of his Vardy Parties & that they are still boozing! Then we might just be in with a chance. Like that optimism Radai-a man whose glass is always half full. New fans should have to do one of those personality test before they are allowed to support this club. Only optimists allowed. Pessimists & those of a nervous disposition barred- for their own good!

  • Radai Lama..Paid up member of Slavs Chavs. says:

    Lol 64 i always prefer a full glass but there aint a cat in hells chance we will go down.In fact with goal difference considered it means one of the bottom 3 must get to 34 pts and all the teams below us over take us.
    Nope the going down fear is definately one only the skidmark crew are still contemplating 😂

  • MerryMichaelW says:

    So, we are to drop this(2nd) and last Season’s best passer of the ball, are we?

    Right-ho. Clearly it is me who knows nothing. Obiang? He is this Season’s 8th best passer, and is often the reason we lose the ball. Fernandes is top this Season, but has played 90 minutes … once.

    He has missed a few tackles this season, I’ll give you that. Still made 29, though, behind Obiang(52), but level with Kouyate. Next is Antonio, for God’s sake, with 27.

    Cresswell? 16. Might want to look at him, if a scapegoat is required. 😉

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