In light of Mark Noble’s announcement that he is to leave West Ham at the end of next season, how did you feel about this at the time, and how do you feel about it today?
Geoff Hillyer: I think the time has come for Noble, sadly. He has been a fantastic servant to the club but he’s now become a bit-part player for West Ham. I feel the same now as I did when the news broke – it’s the right thing to do for all parties.
Dylan Bregman: Mark Noble has been at West Ham as long as I’ve been alive! He’s been a great servant for the club and despite this announcement being inevitable, I still think it’s very upsetting. Players like Nobes aren’t seen very often in the modern game and I think it’ll be hard to come by another like him anytime soon.
Lucy Woolford: I felt emotional at the time of the announcement and I still feel emotional now. It’s weird because we knew it was coming, but somehow hearing it, was just sad. Geoff’s right, it’s the right thing to do for everyone though.
Meirion Williams: He has been a fantastic servant to the club but it’s the right time. He is Mr West Ham but the game has now passed him by. Initially, I thought another season was one season too many as I didn’t want him to be an even greater bit part player than he is now. But he needs to have one last season in front of fans and I think that’s right. I would love for him next season to come on as a substitute and refuse the armband from Declan Rice as an almost passing of the baton moment.
What are your favourite memories of Noble’s time at West Ham?
GH: I remember an away volley in a win against Leicester in a season when we were fighting relegation. I remember thinking; ‘What a goal. I’m so glad that he is in our side’. You just knew you were always going to get 100% and he would fight for the cause. That’s all we want in our players.
DB: Growing up watching Noble at West Ham, there are so many great memories. For me leading us out against Manchester United in the final game at the Boleyn tops the lot. His performance that day just shows what it is to be a real Hammer.
LW: Geoff, I was in the away end that day and it is up there with my favourite West Ham memories ever. I agree Dylan, that night was iconic in general, but everything about Nobes that night was a statement of his commitment to this club. I’ll never forget his face walking out.
MW: It has to be many years back and that loss to Spurs at the Boleyn which looked as if it was the result that would take us down. I will never forget him sitting on that grass bawling his eyes out. It was a real moment of showing just how much he cared for this club.
March saw us beat Leeds, lose against Man United, and draw with Arsenal; Is this what you’d expected us to do points-wise at the start of the month? Now with hindsight, do you think we could’ve done better – especially at Old Trafford?
GH: Pretty much, to be honest. I was disappointed with our showing at Old Trafford, but really I expected four points from those fixtures and we got four. The comeback by Arsenal is a bit galling though and please, David Moyes, help the players become more fearless of the so-called ‘Big Six’.
DB: Points wise I was hoping for six. Against Leeds, I thought we put in a really professional performance despite playing poorly. However, at Old Trafford I feel our negative approach was a complete mistake. The comeback from Arsenal was gut-wrenching and showed shades of the old West Ham.
LW: Four points sounded fair enough from those three games. Beating Leeds was great. A point at Old Trafford would have been nice, but I can see why Moyes was cautious. We talk about hindsight, and he could have very easily gone all out and lost 5-0. As we’ve seen, Man United don’t have to be good to win.
MW: I believe it’s a fair return on paper but have to say now, it looks like points lost. We should have taken the game to Man United. We are in fifth place on merit and not by chance, we should have had a little more belief. As for Arsenal, I would have settled for a draw at kick off but we really shot ourselves in the foot by becoming too defensive. It was a frustrating month in my eyes.
The opening of the summer transfer window draws closer with each day, who do you think will leave and where would you like to see us strengthen?
GH: I’m worried about Declan Rice leaving, but I think that a club would have to pay through the nose and I’m not sure that kind of money will be spent this summer. Some of the fringe players will go – maybe Yarmolenko? We need more cover in the striker, centre midfield and left-back areas.
DB: I think a lot of our summer business depends on whether we achieve Europe or not. I expect to see Yarmolenko and Lanzini leave at the beginning of the window. In terms of strengthening, I think the main priority needs to be a striker, maybe Adam Armstrong or Ivan Toney. Backup in central midfield is also essential.
LW: I agree, it doesn’t look like Yarmolenko is going to be included in Moyes’ plans and he wants, and deserves, to play. I think having a positive end to the season will make a difference, regardless of whether we actually get a European place. Team spirit is good, opportunities are good, so I can’t see too many outgoings. But we need another striker.
MW: I think we will lose Lanzini which is a real disappointment as I believe he still has much to give. I also feel Diop will go too as once Ogbonna is back he will be sitting on the bench. We need to strengthen considerably. Antonio cannot do it alone up front and having two goalkeepers regularly on the bench just shows our lack of depth.