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Iron facing huge decision – what do you think?

Mark Noble has a very big decision to make.

Should as appears increasingly likely West Ham sign  Said Benrahma, another young, driven signing to work under David Moyes, the captain’s days finally do really look numbered.

Time has caught up with a very loyal servant and that’s always sad when a player’s service has been so devoted to the one club.

He has played just four minutes of the last three games, and his only impact on the last game against Leicester was almost in gifting them a gaol – thank you VAR.

Now the question has to be asked: Where does Nobes fit in?

In defensive midfield, Declan Rice is by far his superior. In central midfield, Tomas Soucek is the better player, and there could be Benrahma along with Pablo Fornals ahead of him in the attacking midfield pecking order for which he was once used by Moyes.

We know that there is a drop-off in quality between the starting XI and the bench but we can no longer rely on Nobes to be the one to come on and plug the gaps in high-intensity Premier League games.

He surely knows this, and one has to wonder if now is the time for him to put his hand up and admit that his time has come to call it a day.

It would allow West Ham to potentially move him on – he deserves a swansong in the American sunshine for example – and bring in a more dynamic, young midfielder to join Rice 21 and Soucek,25.

What do you think? Is now the right time for Noble to move on and allow a younger player to come in? Or should we try to keep him going?

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About Dave Langton

A journalist with 10 years' experience of working on National newspapers, now chief reporter covering the club that I've loved since I was a boy. Upton Park remains the greatest football stadium ever built.

24 comments on “Iron facing huge decision – what do you think?

  1. Pretty simple isn’t it. It’s up to him. He knows minutes will be very limited from now on, but he’s club captain, a figurehead and if he wants to stick around and continue to play a big role around the club and in the dressing room then fine. But if he wants to go and get some sun and a good final paycheck in the States he’ll have everyones blessing. He’ll be back regardless. It’s Nobes, he’s earned the right to do what he wants!

  2. The short answer, in my view, is that he doesn’t fit in. I love what Mark Noble stands for, but I’ve always felt that he’s been part of a problem over the last few years. The problem has been that the central midfield hasn’t done enough to support either the defence or the attack. Mark Noble has been emblematic of that: he’s not good enough either defensively or offensively, relative to opposition players. He has the odd game here and there where he plays well, but these tend to be against weaker midfields (e.g. Fulham two seasons ago and Norwich last season).

  3. It’s by no means a failing on his part it is simply age and time have caught up and whilst a mini revival out in the US might appeal to some I don’t see that with Nobes so would suggest that his time is spent on a more Club captain and getting your training badges role to be part of the Club and management team in the future. (Could you imagine going in at half time and facing Nobes & Phsyco after a bad first half?)
    That’s not to say he doesn’t have a role within certain match day squads but not every game. Whilst those that won’t see Noble needing to take a step aside won’t like me for comparing the two but the same happened when Nolan came to the end of his time for us, he had been incredible and was the glue that held a lot together and made the difference but Alladyce’s persistence with him caused many (or at least in the STB Upper) to slate him for his under performing of his usual standard which was unfair to the man and I hope that doesn’t happen to a wonderful club man like Noble.

  4. I think Soucek is 25

  5. Interesting post Dave – I think that the answer is something to be worked out between Nobes and Moyes. In Moyes first spell he brought in Patrice Evra – a move slated by the fans. While Evra contributed very little on the field I read an interview with Stuart Pearce saying how important Evra was in the dressing room. So if Nobes is satisfied with that role – including a mentoring role for Declan in captaincy, then we should be happy with that.

    In any case with the transfer window about to shut we can just see how the rest of the season pans out – I think that it is a pity that Nobes hasn’t managed to re-invent himself – like James Milner or Gareth Barry or the aging midfielder who joined Liverpool in the twilight of his career – I think his name was McAllister

    I still feel that the player who could do that is Snoddy

    • I’m not sure why they haven’t given him an opportunity to go for his coaching badge. Offer him a player/coach role next year.
      He’s West Ham through and through. His influence on the academy would be a positive role model for the kids.

    • Mostly agree, zahamoore. However, I think captain mentoring will best be delivered by Kevin Nolan. Mark’s period of captaincy has hardly been a golden era. Yes, he was the right man for the job with what was available on the pitch. Kevin was the real deal. Not just leading by example, but dealing wonderfully well with all the off-field stuff, too.
      I’m sure that a useful role can be found for Mark – somewhere in the set-up. Oh, by the way, I also think that Stuart, David and Alan can have input into captain mentoring and not just for Declan. If all the players know what is going on, the better the team will be!!

  6. Nonense! No he doesn’t!!

    Noble is literally the only CM cover we have for Rice and Soucek! Rice and Soucek cannot play every single minute of every single match.

    We’ve just got rid of Wilshere and Cullen. Until the day we buy at least 2 new CMs then Noble will get game time.

  7. always a tough one for such a noble player. I would bring him onto the staff, and use his experience to bring on the younger players. It’s a great pity that his last game (whenever that might be) will probably be ‘behind closed doors’, not in front of his loving supporters

  8. Do we have the squad depth now in the middle of the park, to let him go? Its a long old season, I think Noble will pick up games before the end.

  9. Noble has been below PL standard for 3 – 4 seasons!

    He is now a liability because he fails to track back with opponents, his lunging tackles are outlawed so give free kicks to opponents in dangerous positions. His creative ability has always been low. He slows the pace of Hammers’ tempo, routinely pivoting in possession only to usually pass the ball sideways to the player next to him.

    Mark must know his time is up in reality. He must move to a lower league club or the MLS or gracefully retire to coach one of the youth teams, rather than routinely embarrass himself given his long service to the Hammers!

    High success ratio on penalties & being a local lad are not sufficient credentials for a place on the bench.

    Hammers should have let Noble go & retained Cullen when the latter was first loaned to Charlton.

  10. Having first seen on this site that Leicester’s disallowed goal was ‘Noble’s fault’ I’ve watched the replay several times and can see no evidence of any truth in that (unless the fact that it was scored on his side of the pitch). Still, in the same way that Newcastle’s opened was blamed on Cresswell – who has morphed from Sinner to Saint in a fortnight – if something’s said often enough it must be true. An inconsequential article fuelled by tenuous speculation.

  11. Noble’s contributions are greater than what he does on the field. I think his value is being part of the squad. Also, this is the first season he can’t make the team, so it’s a little early to start suggesting he shouldn’t be there.

    For the last few seasons, every time they try to phase Noble out, the team was terrible without him, so he ends up back in the starting XI. Finally, with Soucek and Rice, that isn’t a problem anymore. I think that’s something we should celebrate, that we have actually upgraded our midfield, rather than to use as something to question our longest servant. No, he won’t be needed on the field as much, but I still think he has a valuable role to play in the dressing room, advocating for players, and as a backup player in the midfield.

  12. Mark Noble has been a great servant to the club, so I would say it’s up to him. If he is happy to play a bit part role in the squad that’s fine. He can end his days when his contract runs out. If however he sees himself looking for one last earner somewhere else then we shouldn’t stand in his way. He’s earned that right over the course of his career.

  13. I may be wrong on that, but is Noble in the final year of his contract? If so, he realizes his days of being really productive on the pitch are numbered. He – most likely – will have nothing againt coming off the bench. Plus – his lockerroom presence is undeniably a big factor as well. And then (at the end of the season) he’s going to ride into the sunset. I’m sure he’s OK with that scenario pretty much in the picture. And so should we.

  14. He needs to get his coaching badges and we need to help him achieve that. He has and still is Mr Westham and now in his twilight playing years we the supporters and board need for him to chose which footballing pathway he wants, hopefully to stay at Westham, as a coach and our next Manager, after Moyes that’s what I would like.

  15. Noble played relatively well after lockdown imo. This season he has not had many minutes and was poor games when he has played. However lets not forget everyone had a shocker against Newcastle! I agree and i think most fans do he is not in the starting 11 week in week out but to write him off completely i think is a bit harsh. I think this could be his last season though at West Ham. I think he is well liked and respected player/captain/role model/ ambassador for the Club and i don’t think that should be overlooked when we have Sullivan/Brady to contend with. I don’t feel he has ever let us down and always wears the shirt with pride and in every interview you can tell he truly loves the club. When he gets the chance to play this year (quite a bit our squad is thin) – we all know he will give 100% commitment and sometimes that is all you can ask for and if you want someone to take a penalty in the last minute – he would be at the top of my list. We don’t have many pro’s like Noble anymore in this era of football and therefore i think when he goes it should be done with grace befitting him.

  16. Bit late now to nice him on and find a replacement, and I dont want to the squad reduced further.

    See where we are in the next window. If he is not getting any minutes at all (I doubt it) and he wants out, let him go.

    Otherwise wait til next summer.

  17. I think Mark Noble deserves a bit more respect after the huge service he’s given to our club quite honestly.

  18. I think as a playing force he isn’t likely to offer us more than anything we already have (aside from his exemplary penalty-taking prowess). However, football isn’t just about what goes on on the pitch and Noble has a huge role to play in ensuring the new players that come in understand what the club is about, it’s traditions, expectations of the fans, etc.

    As such a loyal servant he should be able to dictate his next move and have the club support him in whatever that may be. We don’t have a great history of doing that, unfortunately…

  19. Nobes should never be ” Moved On” as you suggest.
    His service to the club should be acknowledged with a transition straight into coaching staff at the end of his current contract.
    Keep him at the club in whatever capacity that mutually works. We will not see his like again.

  20. Don’t loan him out. Having sold Cullen, we have no real cover for Rice or Soucek if they get injured. I don’t think Snoddy can do that job. But let’s pray we don’t have to use Noble as his time is up other than to come on at the end of a match to waste time

  21. He stays until we have another player who can provide midfield cover for Rice and Soucek. We have moved on Wilshire and Cullen, if a young guy steps up from The Academy then fine, til then he stays. He also can take a penalty!

  22. If anyone read interviews with Noble they would know he’s not that interested in a coaching role after football. I wouldn’t assume he will stay around after his football career is over as I don’t think he wants the stress. I think he’d rather go fishing. In fact As a millionaire I could easily see him going into the fishery business, maybe buying a fisherie or two.

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