Phil Parkes: Noble’s had a great innings at West Ham but will he retire after next season?

I can’t see him packing up at the end of next season and walking away from it all

For the second time in a season West Ham have been involved in a 3-0 comeback except this time it was us on the receiving end of the comeback.

When you are 3-0 up at home, most fans would be forgiven for thinking that was it. And I think had we got in at half time with it being 3-0 still, then it might have been a different story.

But they managed to pull one back before half time and that would’ve given Arsenal a lot of hope and from that moment on the comeback was always on.

It’s not unlike West Ham to be involved in games of two halves. You’ve seen times where we are dreadful in the first half and much better in the second and vice versa. But you have to remember the quality of Arsenal. They’ve got good players and as soon as they got going, we found it hard.

Games against Arsenal have been particularly tough lately. Last season at home we were pretty comfortable at 1-0 up and then they scored three goals in 10 minutes and we were out for the count.

I don’t know quite what it is but we seem to play well against them but we don’t always get what we deserve – just look at our game at their place earlier this season.

I think most of us would’ve taken a point before the start of the game but I’m sure we are all disappointed to have drawn after being three up.

On the other hand, Arsenal created enough chances to arguably have won the game so maybe we were lucky to get a draw in the end?

I know Arsenal haven’t had the greatest of seasons but they have a strong squad of players and a good side. They’ve also started to turn things around and have had a few good results lately.

It was a bit of a sickener that we gave them two own goals but it’s always the way when you are three goals up. It just takes something; Either a bit of genius, or fluke or a mistake and everything can change.

You can be cruising and then it takes just one thing that produces a goal and while your heads don’t go down, and you aren’t thinking about it, suddenly it feels like you are running uphill. But when you look at the fixtures we had in April, I think most of us would’ve taken four points from those games.

Having said that, when you saw how we played against Manchester United, we weren’t great. We should’ve got a point from that and it was another own goal that was our downfall. Then with the Arsenal game on top of this, you’d probably argue that there were points dropped in April.

Just touching on Manchester United briefly, and I watched their game against Leicester who never let them settle at all.

Leicester played with a high tempo and they made Manchester United give the ball away – although it wasn’t especially hard for the Foxes. That really is something we don’t do enough of at times. We give sides too much of an easy run.

Maybe the players don’t have enough belief that they are big enough but I think we are. We have a great nucleus of a side.

One player who’s not featured a great deal in the side this season is Mark Noble. It was great to see him get a contract extension until the end of next season and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. It really does depend on what he wants to do. Does he want to carry on playing for a bit longer?

I don’t think he will need the money but maybe he does want to play somewhere else if he feels he has got another year or two in him?

He could play for another three years but I don’t think the Premier League would be his level now. He doesn’t have the pace and that’s been his downfall in recent years. It will all come down to whether or not he has the ambition to carry on playing.

Maybe his thinking is to play for one final season at West Ham – in front of fans – and then maybe go into coaching or even player management. But then I’m left asking myself whether or not he will want to go into management?

Either way, I really can’t see him packing up at the end of next season and walking away from it all. He’s too young.

He’s had such a great innings with West Ham. There were rumours years ago that he could move elsewhere but he’s West Ham through and through. He was never going to go anywhere. He really cares about the fans and the club.

If he leaves the club completely at the end of next season, he’s going to find it really difficult having spent so much time with the club and it being such a huge part of his life.

Like Alvin Martin and Billy Bonds, it’s a long time to be at one club and in one environment but if you’re happy, it perhaps doesn’t feel like a long time and I’m sure the years have flown by when Mark looks back.

The one thing I do know for sure is that Noble will be the last of his kind. Loyalty in football is not there anymore and that’s why I think Noble deserved a new contract, he’s been a great servant.

There’s greed and players are looking after themselves now. I understand it from the point of view that they have a short life as a footballer so they need to make as much money as they can. But I do think sometimes there’s an element of being too greedy.

Finally, as we enter the last two months of the season, I really hope that we just carry on as we have been and are ruthless whoever we are playing. I want us to go out and try to win all our remaining games. There are some teams and managers in football – like Allardyce and Pulis – who set up their teams not to lose.

But I would like us between now and the end of the season to set out to have a go at other teams and see how good we really are. We are in no danger of relegation and we have the freedom to have a go and see what we can achieve.

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