Dead Captains Society: A tribute to Mark Noble
Leaders like Mark Noble are hard to find. A captain like Mark Noble is a rare as a T206 Honus Wagner baseball card. Saturday against Watford marked Nobles 350th premier league appearance and his influence both on and off the pitch is more important than it’s ever been for West Ham. Over the past two years, Pelligrini and the board have invested in young, gifted and expensive signings for the club to have the talent and depth to push for European football. Yet, one name for the past fifteen years has remained a constant on the team sheet each week.
Mr. West Ham has been a polarizing figure around the club for the past few seasons. Some fans claim that he’s too slow or that he only passes side-to-side, while other fans argue that his leadership on the pitch is more important than his play. In recent months, it seems as if Noble has gone from polarizing to beloved. After two down seasons at the Olympic Stadium, Noble summonsed the ghosts of the Boleyn past and had his best season since West Ham played at Upton Park; and it looks as if he’s starting the 2019-2020 campaign where he left off.
Now surrounded by talented, creative players Noble patrols the midfield alongside his protégé Declan Rice, disrupting the opposition attack and dictating the flow of the match. He pulls the strings knowing when to play it safe or picking his spot to play a through ball to our front line. Most importantly, he is a leader that has earned the respect of everyone at the club and holds each person to the standard that makes fans proud to support the Claret and Blue. Against Watford, Noble was heard screaming at players who didn’t track back on defense; a sound that wasn’t head in the previous two weeks with Cresswell and Ogbonna as captain.
In a world where players only have loyalty to themselves and chase the riches that come with modern day football, West Ham are lucky to have a player in Mark Noble that has dedicated his life to serving the club. Gone are the days where a player stays at his boyhood club, captains the side and embodies everything that is the West Ham Way. While Noble may be in the twilight of his career, the boy from Canning Town has this group of players and fans standing one by one exclaiming O Captain! My Captain! with pretty bubbles in the air.