Fan. One of us. Servant. Captain. Legend.
These are just some of the words that come to mind when I think of Mark Noble, West Ham’s captain who played in front of home crowd for the last time on Sunday.
He came through his favourite club’s academy, was the youngest ever to play in the reserves, made his first-team debut at 17 and served the club for almost 18 years.
Usually when I write these articles, I try to be impartial and keep my own fandoms out of it and looks at the facts. Today, I am unable to do it.
I am a huge West Ham fan myself. I became a fan around 2012 when the club wasn’t doing that well. They had been relegated to the Championship and were fighting to get back into the Premier League.
In midfield they had a player I started to love immediately. Mark Noble. Coming through the academy, playing for his favourite club. He was living everyone’s dream.
Few years later he became captain. He deserved that. He was always a player that fought for the shirt. He didn’t care about the glory or the money. Sure, he got those, but all he ever wanted to do was do that with his favourite club.
Nowadays, it is rare to see a player to play for one club for their whole career. It used to be a norm. Now, not so much. Players leave their clubs when they get offered more money, when they are promised championships, when they are not good enough. Mark Noble never did any of that.
Still to this day (as he has one game left as a West Ham player) he is the longest tenured player in a single club in the top leagues. Lionel Messi used to be second before his departure to PSG.
That attitude of loving your club and fighting 110% for it every time is what made me fall in love with his game. And to never leave, even when things weren’t great, it shows to me the great character that he is.
Being at the London Stadium for the occasion was amazing and something I will never forget. We sang. We cheered. We cried. We did this all as one, as West Ham family. Mark Noble was always one of us. And he will always be Mr. West Ham.