Saturday, June 25, 2022

Noble wipes away tears after emotional farewell to West Ham ahead of Man City game

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The 35-year-old will retire at the end of the season, ending an 18-year professional career with the East London club

The 35-year-old announced at the end of last season that this would be his last season as a professional footballer, bringing an 18-year stint to the West Ham first-team. As well as loans at Ipswich Town and Hull City in 2006, Noble has spent his entire career playing for Bordeaux and Blue.

Emotions swept Mark Noble on Sunday as the longtime West Ham captain wiped away tears ahead of his last home game for the club against Manchester City.

A childhood West Ham fan who was born and raised in neighboring Canning Town, Noble made his first-team debut aged 17 in a League Cup game against Southend in August 2004 and has since made 548 appearances for the club . Only five players have amassed more appearances for the Hammers.

With West Ham chasing a Europa League spot, manager David Moyes left Noble on the bench for the visit of Pep Guardiola’s title chasers, but the club and fans ensured he was given a fitting farewell nonetheless.

Before the game, Noble went onto the pitch to greet the fans and he was greeted with an enthusiastic reception from all four corners of the pitch.

As a tribute to “Mr. West Ham’ by fan and actor Danny Dyer, a giant tifo reading ‘Noble 16’ stretched across the main stand and was shown on the big screens at either end of the London Stadium. A giant West Ham shirt with Noble’s name and number on the back was also placed over the center circle.

After returning to his seat on the bench, Noble was seen wiping away tears and in the 16th minute the home fans gave him another salute, standing up for 60 seconds to applaud.

Noble came on to make it 2-2 after 76 minutes after Jack Grealish and a Vladimir Coufal own goal equalized Manchester City after Jarrod Bowen’s brace in the first half.

Ahead of the game, Noble said: “There will be tears for sure. I’m an emotional person anyway, I usually wear my heart on my sleeve.

“It gets emotional but I’m happy that I can do it on my own terms and retire from football rather than football retiring me.

“I will not regret quitting because football can change quickly. Sometimes it’s not often that you get the right exit and I feel like I did it.”

Moyes praised Noble’s professionalism during his Friday press conference, calling his longevity at the club a “great achievement”.

“When you say you’re retiring from football, it’s a big deal,” he said. “Your career as a footballer is never that long, but I think you appreciate it when you started as an apprentice when you were 15 or 16 and left when you were 35.

“It’s a huge achievement to do that at a club – it’s not done by a lot of people these days – so a huge credit to Mark for the way he’s behaved throughout his career as a player.

“He’s great off the pitch and for me personally he’s been outstanding since I came back. I’m sure it will be emotional for him, but in the end he will think he’s had a really good career.

“He was tremendous off the pitch too. During the pandemic, he played a small role in everything that went on between all the club captains.

“When I came back he helped me a lot because he gave me an idea of ​​what is required and what is needed. He’s steered me in the right direction on a thing or two and he’s a really good sounding board. I think you need people to talk to. He will certainly be missed in the dressing room next year.”

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