As bad as the past few matches have been for West Ham, they have been even worse seeing the decline of Mark Noble, the clubs forever hero and leader.
In choosing the profession of football one must know that it’s not forever. Eventually, your body will tell you that it’s had enough and that it’s time for something new. When you have the leadership and love as Mark Noble does for West Ham, it makes it easy to find a way to help but harder in seeing the decline from such an iconic legend.
Mr. West Ham has been a one-club man, as the nickname suggests, and has been here for the Hammers through thick and thin. Relegation battles, promotions, and the ever-constant leadership changes. One man has stood the test of time for this club. But now, it’s time to find a new way to lead.
At the start of this campaign, many were surprised to see just how well he was getting on and commanding the midfield as well as grooming his protegé, Declan Rice. After a grueling first half and an even more stressful winter stretch, the Skipper might not have the legs anymore.
His passing has been off, his abilities to get up and down the field like a true box to box midfielder is gone, and his temper has been noted a bit more recently as there is no doubt that the play of himself and his squadmates are getting to his head. It’s frustrating to watch, imagine what it’s like to be a part of it.
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However, that doesn’t mean that his heart isn’t there anymore. There is no one on that squad that has given more or cares more about the status and well-being of West Ham then he does and now its time to move away from on the field leadership to off the pitch and in the dressing room.
The phrase “when Mark Noble speaks, West Ham listens” is not a foreign thought, it’s the truth. When the Hammers were going through a tough relegation battle a few years back his leadership was noted in the locker room as he pushed the squad on to finish strong.
When certain players on the squad got a bit outspoken or fell out of favor with fans or the game itself, he was there to real them back in. Case in point, Marko Arnautovic. And Nobes has always been a good sounding board for the media. Anytime the Hammers are in trouble he seems to have the right way ahead for all involved.
This idea of leading from the rear isn’t a weird concept for West Ham either. In recent times the likes of James Collins and Kevin Nolan had both seen declines in abilities but never let that get to their way of leading the team.
This in no way is a call to slate or get rid of Mark Noble. No, this a call to action that he must be used differently. As concerning as his comments were a few weeks back, they are true. The Hammers shouldn’t have to rely on his skills anymore and rely on him in a much bigger way. His ability to lead his team and show them what it means to be a Hammer.