It's been a tough season at West Ham and one where they have needed the commitment of Captain Mark Noble to maintain a sense of identity during the transition to their new home. Nobes has been a key face in reassuring fans that we are still, and always will be, West Ham United. Through the early season dip in form and whole Payet-fiasco, Captain Claret has been the voice of reason that has calmed emotions.
Meanwhile, a section of fans feel that Noble is past his best and struggling in the wide expanses of the new stadium. At 29 years, Noble's all action Duracell style is increasingly difficult to maintain, but he still tops the West Ham stats charts in terms of ball touches and passes per game. Quite simply, Nobes is the fluid that oils our team and keeps things ticking over - often quietly in a way that many fans fail to appreciate.
Not surprisingly therefore, Noble was somewhat irked when asked about some fans criticisms this week and countered with the surprisingly candid observation “If I am really honest, a lot of people who now go to football don’t really understand the game.”
Either way, Noble's stats continue to support his position as first on the team sheet and he deserves a chance to rest and recover from his recently sustained dead leg.