Filed: Tuesday, 11th September 2012
By: Jack Bowers
West Hamís longest-serving player, Mark Noble, is in the last year of his contract and the West Ham hierarchy are very keen to sign him up on a long term deal.
As everyone knows, Noble is West Ham through and through, and ideally would like to spend the rest of his career at West Ham. However, the current Hammer of the Year could leave on a free transfer next summer, if contract negations break down.
If negotiations were to break down there would be no shortage of clubs queuing for his signature. Fulham tested the water in the recent summer transfer window but Sam Allardyce was adamant that Noble would stay.
Signing Noble on a long-term deal is imperative for the club. He is ĎMr West Hamí and the board need to do everything they can to keep him in the claret and blue.
When Noble graduated from the famed Academy and had his first run in the team he was an exciting attacking prospect. He had a slight frame and had rawness about him that many of the fans enjoyed.
He loved to break forward and in his first proper run in the team, in 2007, he scored three goals, including a memorable volley against Bolton that won him the KUMB.com award for goal of the season.
However, without meaning to have a dig at Noble, after his breakthrough season he seemed to go missing a bit. He would always give 100 per cent and would never let the side down, but he didnít seem to influence games in the way he did in his first season.
His lack of pace, and reluctance to shoot from range meant that he couldnít really be used as an attacking midfielder - so Alan Curbishley, Gianfranco Zola and Avram Grant would all use Noble in a midfield two, alongside Scott Parker.
But Noble was always in Parkerís shadow. Parker won awards, was spoken about in the press and was playing brilliant football. Noble was always seen as just 'the hard working one'.
However over the last 18 months, his improvement has been marked. He has developed into the main midfielder. While Kevin Nolan will score the goals, Noble does the majority of the work.
Physically he is in fantastic shape. His fitness levels are as high as they have ever been. In the opening game against Aston Villa, Noble covered over six miles.
But it is not his physical ability that has impressed me the most; itís the way he has improved tactically, and for this Big Sam deserves a lot of praise. Moving Noble back into a defensive midfield role has been a stroke of genius, and I think we are now seeing the very best of him.
He can use his vision and passing ability to start attacks. In the two home wins so far this season, every meaningful attack started from a Noble pass. Some deep lying midfielders donít keep the ball well but Noble is superb at keeping the ball.
Noble is a superb reader of the game; he hasnít got much pace, but he doesnít need it. He can read the game so well, he is always in the right position defensively to break up play and is always an option to be passed to.
Recently, before the 3-0 win against London rivals Fulham, someone said to me that Noble is currently the best English defensive midfielder. When I first heard it I laughed, and thought the guy was deluded. I like Noble, and rate him highly in his new role, but the best in that position in England? Iím not convinced.
So, with that in mind I watched the Fulham game a lot more carefully, concentrating on the number 16 in the centre of the park. Although Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan took most of the plaudits, it was the performance of Mark Noble that stood out for me.
He was everywhere; tackling, passing, creating chances, blocking shots. It was the perfect midfield performance.
Unlike some, I enjoy a good stat (even though Iíll admit it doesnít show the whole story) but Nobleís stats from the Fulham victory were fantastic. He ran over SEVEN miles, covering more ground than any other Premier League player that weekend and his passing was almost faultless.
He completed 79 out of 81 passes, giving him a completion rate of 98 per cent. People will say theyíre just simple passes, but even still that is superb. And as a defensive midfielder itís vital he tackles, and he completed seven out of seven tackles - as well as two blocks.
Mark Noble shouldnít just get this new contract because the fans love him, he should get the contract purely because he deserves it. Replacing him would cost a significant amount more than it would to up his wages, and sacrificing a future West Ham United captain makes very little sense.
My message to the board is simple; give Mark Noble what he wants - before someone else does.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
09:20AM 13th Sep 2012
''Good article. Cheers. That passing stat is bloody impressive - but it pretty much rules him out of ever playing for England. For all the avowed intent to make the national side play like Spain or Germany nobody at the FA seems to have got their head around the idea of a defensive midfielder winning and KEEPING possession instead of launching desperate and dramatic 'hail mary' passes like a yankball quarterback.
That stat is rather confusing though. I'm pretty sure I've read we're a route one, no frills, no variation long ball team. Did Carroll and Carlton really manage 79 headed knock-downs in that game? Or have Match of the Day misled me? ''
by Chris Walford
06:36PM 12th Sep 2012
''Absolutely agree although K.N. was given man of the match, probably because of the goal. I was in no doubt it should have been Mark Noble. The last two seasons and our opening three games he has been magnificent.''
by keith cockayne
05:49PM 12th Sep 2012
''I entirely agree - couldn't put it better. And, keep Carlton Cole, he's too good to lose, too!''
07:48AM 12th Sep 2012
''Could not agree more with the article. He runs and runs never complains or gripes, claret and blue thro' and thro'. So why are the board hanging about; pay him, get him on a long term contract. Cos' if we don't many others will try and sign him and he'll leave WHU with great sadness, and we would have let a dedicated player just slip through our fingers.
Two years ago when we had so many players who were not interested (no names no Upsons) in WHU except for the wages at the end of the week. Who was one of the very few exceptions, who wore the colours with pride week in week out? Mark Noble! No ifs or buts, give him a new contract NOW.''
by Gary Rutland
07:16AM 12th Sep 2012
''Interesting article. I've spent the last few years living firstly in Canada and currently in Thailand. In Canada it was hard to see any games but here in Thailand I'm getting to see every game. (I'm a Hammers fan from about '63, saw my first game in '66 and was at Wembley in '80.)
I was wondering what had changed about Noble and how he's never seemed to have "come on" as one would have expected. When I heard about Fulham's interest on deadline day I was worried not only because he's home-grown but also because at 25 he's still young and unlike so many players nowadays he's rarely injured. Having seen him in the Championship semis and final and then in the 3 games this year I can only agree with your views.
I think Allardyce is a much better manager than most people give him credit for and is bringing out the best in Noble as you pointed out. I was astonished at the 6 and 7 mile stat and hey he's a pretty useful penalty taker too. Let's hope he stays, his type of defensive midfielder is crucial in the modern game adn as you say he will cost a fortune to replace.''
11:20PM 11th Sep 2012
''Great piece Jack. I echo all your sentiments about his progression this season in particular. Like a lot of Hammers I suspect I too was worried that my heart was ruling my head. That I so wanted an academy product to succeed in our first team that maybe I was overlooking his lack of pace. That maybe in the modern game there is no place for that haircut allied with that turn of speed.
But this season Mark Noble has been almost a revelation. There has been no space for doubt with performances, even against Swansea, which mark him out as a top premiership player. He compares well to men who have won a lot of international caps in a similar mould as players.. Batty and Deschamps spring immediately to mind - But he brings so much more to the table than either of these.
Let's not just determine to hang on to him, he would willingly sign up to a flattering long term contract and deserves no less. To be our longest serving player at such a relatively young age has set him up to be not just an academy player in the first team. Legend status beckons.
For the record I have every faith in our current board and management team to get this exactly right.''
by Maurice Foley
09:20PM 11th Sep 2012
''Thank you for this deserved praise of Mark Noble, yes he is Mr West Ham, and like you I thought he was Man of the Match against Fulham. He is also a gentleman and took the time to pose for a photo with my youngest son and offer him advice and encouragement in his football career. My boy chose to have Mark's name on his shirt in 2008 when he was 7 years old!
05:21PM 11th Sep 2012
''Good read until the end. "Give him what he wants"? A club in our situation can't just do what the player wants, regardless of if they are "Mr West Ham" or not.''
by Mark Lynch
04:26PM 11th Sep 2012
''Good, thought-provoking article.
I'm in two minds regarding his new contract. I think he's matured as a player and after with the author's views on how well Noble has done to adapt his game. I still have reservations about where he would fit into a lot of sides. I'm not sure that he will be in great demand next summer and I'm not sure if he would command big wages. For that reason, I think we should be looking to pay him his market rate as a player without a Canning Town premium on top because the flip side to us paying over-the-odds to keep him on the basis that he is West Ham, is that he shouldn't demand as much because he is West Ham.''
by Left Foot
03:41PM 11th Sep 2012
''I agree. His performances last season where generally an improvement but the opposition were a lower standard. This season, in all three games of it so far, Noble has shown an improved impact on the game, (none in Wales).
Personally I think this is because of two reasons, the arrival of Diame has really lifted the midfeild performances. Remember the impact Parker and Berhami had on the team, the eagerness and determination they displayed motivated everyone, even Boa Morte felt embarrased enough into taking up a defensive position when required.
On the performances so far, Diame alone is more effective in regulating the midfeild and turning defense into attack. Also, Diarra is a great defensive midfeilder, his positioning is the key to his play, much like Makelele, so this could be a great figure for Mark to learn and compete with. The experience of playing with Parker and now Diarra can have positive effects on Nobles game if he learns from it.
You can find poor stats for Noble in previous years but my single criticism of Mark is that he is not a game winner at this level.
Parker would get us a point with his solid graft, Nolan will get us three points ghosting around the box waiting for opportunities to put his laces through the ball, but Noble will do neither. But does he need to... no.
He is good at keeping the ball, he can spray the ball about the pitch and find players in space, he has always bridged the space between defense and midfeild and is ever hungry for the ball. Which brings me to the second reasons I think his performances have increases in stature, the very fact he has not been given an automatic contract extension.
Look at Rooney, the talk of him being at a crossroads in his career, well surely Mark is at a cross roads too. Like Cole, Noble has been able to be complacent in his role for a few years but he is no longer able to be called a prospect and future talent when we need performances now. The emphasis on his game has shifted since he became a regular years ago and arguably, he is too good to be a squad player and should be sold if not a first team player. But what role is he going to establish as his own when we have Collison, Fanimo, Moncour who promise just as bright a future has Noble did years ago. We have heralded him as the fan favourite because well lets face it, we have all really needed one in the last couple of years.
I think he should get another contract but it says alot about who we utilise his talents that the board and management need even more time to know exactly what he NOW offers. ''
03:10PM 11th Sep 2012
''Great piece. Makes total sense. Just hope that Mark's agent realises that Mark loves playing for West Ham and there is more to life than maximising short term earning potential. Equally, we have to hope that West Ham plc will offer an appropriate reward for such a player.
Concerning Mark's remuneration, he should not be worried or envious of what anyone else may be getting. Forget Nolan and Carroll - they'll work out what's right for them. I really hope that he gets an offer to keep him at the club and one that keeps him happy.
If he should outgrow the team in a few years time, then that might be the time to consider a couple of years of graft elsewhere for megabucks (Lineker in Japan). Or maybe, if he's really lucky, he may have a chance to enjoy life and work as David Beckham.
A word of caution for other 'up and comers' though. Just because Mark deserves it doesn' mean that they all do!! As ever - COYI. ''
02:41PM 11th Sep 2012
''I agree with this 100 per cent. Noble was absolutely outstanding against Fulham, easily MOM in my opinion. Get him on a long term deal please!''
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