Mark Noble’s 2004 debut: Where are his teammates now?

We take a look back to our Carling Cup victory over Southend and explore the careers of those Noble played with

With the end of the season fastly approaching we have to say goodbye to our Mr West Ham. It would only be right to remind everyone of his debut and the players he played with. It may seem like a lifetime ago when he first came on the pitch so let me just rejog your memory. 

Coming up to nearly 18 years ago, Nobes made his debut for his childhood football team against Southend United in the Carling Cup first-round tie at the Boleyn on the 24th August 2004. Mark Noble still describes this moment as ‘unforgettable’. Team sheets were in and a 19:45 kick off was soon to be underway. 

This is the way West Ham United lined up on the day the most loyal man in Premier League history made his debut: Walker, McClenahan, Repka, Ward, Brevett, Cohen, Chadwick, Reo-Coker, Nowland, Harewood and Rebrov. Substitutes: Bywater, Blewitt, Noble, Sheringham, Ashikodi.

Marlon Harewood opened up the game with a great strike assisted by Nigel Reo-Coker within 11 minutes. Then all eyes came onto youngster Mark Noble in the 68th minute. At just 17 years old Alan Pardew believed it was time to introduce Noble to the 16,910 West Ham fans at the game. In the 90th minute Marlon Harewood struck the ball through the keeper’s leg to secure West Ham the win and to put them into the next round of the Carling Cup.

As some fans are already aware, young Mark Noble after making his senior debut for the club walked home after the game- seems crazy to think that some football players used to walk home.

Where are they now?

So what happened to Mark Noble’s team mates from his debut? Well I’ll start off with a fan favourite as well as my personal favourite – Marlon Harewood.  After an impressive four year spell with the hammers scoring 47 goals, Harewood went on to play for 11 other clubs including the likes of Villa, Wolves and Newcastle.

Now he is the founder and director of AC13 Premier Lifestyle which is a luxury car service to help you get from A to B along with other services they provide. As well as still being very much involved in the club as a West Ham ambassador. 

The man Mark Noble replaced on the pitch was Luke Chadwick. He started off his career at Manchester United and came to West Ham in 2004 and made 32 appearances and scored only one goal for West Ham. He then went on to play for the likes of Stoke, Norwich and Milton Keynes Dons. Now Chadwick works for the Football Fun Factory for children who want to have fun playing football!

Nigel Reo-Coker signed for us in 2004 and went on to score 11 goals in 120 appearances and became West Ham’s skipper. After leaving West Ham he went on to play for Villa, Ipswich and Bolton before making a move to North America to carry on his footballing journey. Reo-Coker is now in the USA covering sport on CBS Sport.

‘Still involved with the club’

Jimmy Walker made his debut for West Ham on this day as well as Nobes. Most may remember Walker for saving a penalty taken by Frank Lampard in the League Cup in 2004. He’s also known for helping West Ham win promotion back into the Premier League. Unfortunately, Walker suffered a serious knee injury which saw him miss the majority of 2005-2006 season. Where is Jimmy now? He is still much involved within the club and is the U18 goal-keeping consultant at West Ham. 

Sheringham came to the football club he supported when he was growing up in 2004 and scored 28 goals in 76 games. On 30th December 2006, he broke the record for oldest Premier League outfield player once more, playing in the 1–0 defeat against Manchester City, aged 40 years and 270 days. After his long playing career, he managed two teams – Stevenage and ATK – where he got sacked from both. It remains to be seen where Sheringham’s next role will be. 

Starting off his career in 2003, Elliott Ward made an impact on the West Ham first team during the second half of the 2004–05 season. This was mainly due to injuries to more established defenders, and he found himself with the opportunity of partnering Anton Ferdinand. Ward went on to play for Coventry, Norwich, Bournemouth and has recently retired in 2021 finishing playing football at Chelmsford City. 

‘Youngest first team player for 30 years’

Chris Cohen played 18 games for us. making his debut at just 16 years of age which made him the youngest player to appear for the West Ham first-team for 80 years. Cohen then went on to play for Yeovil and spent the rest of his career at Nottingham Forest before retiring in 2018. 

Sergei Rebrov who was one of the two strikers that night. He joined West Ham in 2004 on a one year contract with the club – only scoring two goals in 27 appearances. He went back to his home country Ukraine and retired in 2007. Now after making his managerial debut for Dynamo Kyiv and being the assistant manager for Ukraine, he is now the full time head coach at Al Ain in Abu Dhabi. 

Rufus Brevett, who was the captain this night, made 25 appearances for us, scoring one goal. He said after the game ‘Mark Noble is going to be a very good player.’ Little did we all know that Mark Noble was going to become Mr West Ham. 

Brevett went on to play for Plymouth, Leicester and Oxford before hanging up his boots in 2007. Upon retiring from playing he was appointed sporting director at Swindon Town by a Portuguese consortium that was about to takeover the club, however the deal fell through at the last minute.

‘Focus on coaching’

Adam Nowland came to West Ham in 2004 and went on to play 15 games, scoring just one goal.  Nowland was loaned out for one month to Gillingham. On his return to West Ham he played in our 1-0 defeat against Chelsea in the League Cup. 

Since playing for West Ham, he has played for 12 other teams which include Blackpool, Lancaster City and FC Tampa Bay. Since retiring from the game, Nowland has gone on to start Nowland Premier Soccer Academy (NPSA) to focus on coaching and developing youth soccer on the East Side of the Metro Seattle area. 

Darren Blewitt is a massive West Ham fan and academy youngster who was on the bench the night Nobes made his debut. He has known Noble since he was 12 years old. He said in a previous Blowing Bubbles interview that ‘Noble was the club and the club was him. He was a leader almost as soon as he was in the first team.’ 

Blewitt also spoke about how it amazes him that Noble never won an England cap. Think all of us West Ham fans can agree with Blewitt on that one! He also spoke about what he is doing now: ‘Eight years on, I run one-on-one coaching sessions for youngsters, and am hoping to set up an academy in the next year which I do alongside the role of Assistant Manager at Harlow Town. Outside of football, I also work as a retained firefighter. But my love for West Ham is as strong as the day I joined, just as I know Mark’s would have been, had he not made it either.’

Unfortunate

Blewitt unfortunately was an unused substitute for West Ham and didn’t make any senior debuts for the club. He went on to play for non league teams in and around Essex. 

On behalf of all West Ham fans I would like to thank Mark Noble for his service at West Ham. For being a leader and a role model I have looked up to ever since I was a little girl. We all love you Noble and are wishing you a happy retirement and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you. Once again, thank you Mr West Ham.

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