Thursday 22nd September was another significant moment in West Ham’s history, in a similar way to 24th August 2004 was. Both involve Mark Noble. The latter was his debut, and the former was the announcement of his appointment as Sporting Director at the club.
Whilst it was impossible back in the summer of 2004 to predict what a career the boy from Canning Town would have, it is much easier to predict how well he will do in his new role.
‘There is nobody better qualified when it comes to understanding West Ham and to bring new ideas to take the club forward,’ as David Moyes explained.
Everyone is convinced that this is the right role for the club legend. As we do on our patreon, we exclusively broke this news a couple of months ago and in the comment section there wasn’t one person who was against the appointment, which shows the extremely high regards that Noble is held in by the club and supporters.
Although the role doesn’t officially start until January, you can bet that Mr West Ham is already preparing himself for the role. This preparation has in fact been going on for a number of years already. He recently completed a course at the esteemed American University Harvard, as well as continually visiting the academy since his retirement at the recently named Mark Noble arena.
Various managers have trusted him with responsibilities that will fit the new role he has.
I was told a story by someone very close to Noble, who said a young academy player had been approached by a number of top clubs and was considering leaving us for them. Mark went round the players house, with all sorts of gifts such as memorabilia from his career, and sat with his family at a game and made him feel that he could achieve the same as him if he stayed at West Ham. The player ultimately signed a new deal and is said to be progressing very well.
Other examples include welcoming new players to the club and teaching them on the history and the characteristics of our fanbase. This is backed up by interviews we have had with foreign players such as Guy Demel, Freddie Piquionne, Nobby Solano and Alessandro Diamanti on our patreon podcast.
Another crucial role he has played in recent years is a sounding piece to the managers. When David Moyes returned for his second spell as manager, the first thing he is said to have done is call Mark Noble in for a meeting to discuss what the problems were and how they could be fixed from a playing perspective.
Previous managers including Pellegrini, Bilic and Allardyce have all spoken positively about how useful Mark Noble was to them both on and off the pitch.
The same can be said for young players who have come through the academy, you only have to look at the close friendship that he shares with Declan Rice to know how important he was in his development.
The same can be said for many other academy players who have come through. We have interviewed the likes of Dan Kemp, Conor Coventry, Nathan Holland, Elliot Lee, Freddie Sears, Frank Nouble, Robert Hall and Jack Collison and everyone has mentioned his role in their development, which is remarkable considering he is only a few years older than some of those players.
The man has often been a bridge between the manager and the players. Often when players have had issues, the likes of Arnautovic and Payet spring to mind, Mark has been used to speak to them and try and resolve the situation, as well as dealing with underperformance or players showing a poor attitude in training.
The one thing I’ve always maintained when talking about our former number 16 is that it cannot be underestimated how important and wide-ranging his role and influence is in the club. One of the strongest arguments for our dip in form so far this season is the loss of Mark Noble from the training ground, dressing room and pitch.
When he returns in January, his role will be very similar to what it was before, minus the playing. He will be the link between the manager and the players, and between the manager/players and the board as well because he is respected by everyone. He will advise on recruitment, giving personal knowledge from a range of his own experiences and that of teammates he knows on the character and credentials of future signings.
He will attend academy training sessions and signings to welcome new players. By coincidence this happened when we signed young Northern Irish player Patrick Kelly. Noble just happened to be at the training ground in the summer, and when asked whether he would like Noble involved in his media photos, the young lad couldn’t contain his delight at the prospect.
One of our own
Mark is one of our own and as his chant goes ‘West Ham through and through’ there isn’t anyone better to have this role than him.
Yes, the counter argument is, he hasn’t got any managerial experience but he doesn’t need it in my eyes. Everything this job will demand of him, he will be able to do, and there isn’t a better man on the planet for it.
Noble is one of us, the fan who got to live out his dreams and took a part of us from the terraces into the club. January can’t come sooner and I am sure within the first few weeks his impact will be clear for all to see. Good luck Mr West Ham in your new role, although I am sure you won’t need it.
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