Mark Noble doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves for his contributions on the pitch, but in my opinion the club captain will go down as a West Ham legend when he retires.
The Canning Town born midfielder made his Hammers debut as a 17-year-old in 2004, but it was three years later when he began to really make an impact for the Hammers.
After loan spells with Hull City and Ipswich Town, he came in to help with the 2006/07 great escape, starting each of the last 10 games and scoring in the 4-3 loss against Spurs in the first of that run, but more important was a wonderful volley in the 3-1 win over Bolton Wanderers.
He celebrated staying up that season as much as any other fan, eternally securing his place in the hearts of Hammers supporters.
Ever since then he has been an integral part of the side, whether the club has been in the Premier League or Championship – turning down advances from other clubs when many would have taken the easy choice to leave.
Noble has played over 450 games for West Ham, becoming the first at the club to play over 300 Premier League matches; he has also won Hammer of the Year twice and had his testimonial in 2016.
What will always stand out as the most significant thing, though, is that he was captain for the last ever game at Upton Park. Even if he hadn’t done enough to earn his place in the club’s history books, that night alone was enough to do so.
Even now, a decade and a half after he made his debut, Noble is still an important part of West Ham for his leadership qualities and what he can contribute on the pitch – as he reminded everyone during the final game of last season by scoring twice against Watford.
He’s won two Play Off finals, was in the FA Cup final, has been part of great escapes, relegations and European competition.
Mark Noble has been through it all with West Ham and has carried himself spectacularly well every step of the way; we should have at least a couple more years with him, but when he does retire, the consolation will be that he’ll be remembered as a West Ham legend.