Why West Ham Legend Mark Noble Shouldn’t Retire Just Yet

Mark Noble, West Ham. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Mark Noble, West Ham. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) /

After over 500 games for West Ham, club captain Mark Noble has just a few months left on his contract that expires at the end of the season.

It’s strange to picture a West Ham squad without Noble in it. “Mr West Ham” made his debut back in 2004 versus Southend in a League Cup match aged just 17. Brief loan spells at Hull City and Ipswich Town followed but ever since 2007 Noble has been a regular in the Hammers team.

Although this season, minutes on the pitch have been limited, the club legend is still a valuable member of the squad and he should take up the rumoured option in his contract for a one-year extension.

Mark Noble has a matter of months left on his West Ham contract; it would be a shame to see him hang up his boots now.

Mark Noble, West Ham.
Mark Noble, West Ham. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /

He is not the only player with his contract set to expire this summer; Fabian Balbuena and Lukasz Fabianski are yet to sign extensions too.

Noble has started just seven games in all competitions this campaign, four of which have been in cup matches. He is no longer a regular starter and rightly so, but it’s his 11 substitute appearances in the league that show his main role nowadays and it’s vital.

From those 11 games, West Ham have won nine, drawn one and lost one. Manager, David Moyes, clearly brings on Noble for his experience to ‘see out’ wins. His leadership, organisation and ability to retain possession helps the team to seal victories in the final stages of matches and not let leads slip.

He was never blessed with pace but his hard work and experience shouldn’t be underestimated in the last ten minutes or so when you’re just looking to hold onto three points. Nor should his massive influence in the dressing room, there have been countless occasions where new players have said how Noble assists them with settling into life in East London and being the leader in the team.

Speaking after the FA Cup defeat to Manchester United, Noble said:

"“I am 34 in May, I have not got too long left but I am going to enjoy every minute of it. To play out there at Old Trafford for maybe the last time, because whether I’ll play here next year I don’t know.”"

It’s quotes like this that seem to hint he is into the last year or two of his career.

Mark Noble, West Ham.
Mark Noble, West Ham. (Photo credit should read Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images) /

We have been led to believe that when Noble does retire, he will be offered a place amongst the coaching team or in some role at the club. Next year could see him begin to transfer to that role slowly rather than retiring come the summer.

Noble playing on for one more season has its benefits. West Ham do still need to sign another central midfielder as back up for the fantastic midfield duo of Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice though. Another year could also give Moyes more time to perhaps introduce talented youngster Conor Coventry into the team but still having Noble there if needed.

Perhaps one of the main reasons he shouldn’t finish his playing career just yet is the lack of fans in the stadiums. It feels wrong for a player that has been so important to the club for years and years to pull on the claret and blue shirt for the final time in front of empty stands. If anyone deserves a better send-off, it’s Mark Noble.

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At the moment, only Noble himself seems to know if he will be a West Ham player next season. Even if it is hopeful reasons such as him lifting a trophy for the club or the possibility of him leading the Hammers out for a European game – it just doesn’t feel the right time for him to go.