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Noble hails ultimate team player

Filed: Friday, 1st March 2019
By: Staff Writer

Mark Noble says that West Ham United legend Billy Bonds is the "epitome of a team player".

The 72-year-old former player and manager will officially have the East Stand of the Olympic Stadium named in his honour tomorrow in a ceremony ahead of the home clash with Newcastle United.

And Noble maintains that nobody could be more deserving of the accolade than Bonds, who made 799 first team appearances for the club during a career than spanned some 21 season.

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"No one deserves this honour more than him," Noble said in his latest column for the Evening Standard.

"Billy is what this club stands for and what itís always been about. He is the epitome of a team player, always prepared to run the extra mile ó or, in his case, hundreds of miles ó for the team, rather than thinking of himself.

"Tomorrow will be a special day - not only for him, but for his family and his legacy. My dad watched him play and told about how he was as a player.

"Billy embodies West Ham. He represented the fans on the pitch. Billy loved a tackle in an era when you could really make an honest challenge without fear of punishment.

"Iíve seen footage of Billy playing and the impression I have is of someone you would always like to have in your team, especially if youíre expecting a scrap, but thatís not dismissing how good he was with the ball.

"I hope he and his family thoroughly enjoy tomorrow ó no one deserves it more than Billy."

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Meanwhile Bonds, in conversation with The Telegraph, typically thanked the club's fans for their support over the years. "I know the West Ham fans helped me to do what I am doing on Saturday," he said. "Believe me, I donít underestimate them.

"I just loved competing and playing; it was in my blood. Playing and the ovation you get when youíre running out, you miss all that. But all I think about is just how lucky I am."

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