Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan have thanked the people of New Zealand for making West Ham United's Football United Tour such a success.

While the Hammers may not have tasted victory on the pitch, the Club has taken a huge amount from the amazing impact the tour has made off it.

Thousands upon thousands of supporters from across New Zealand, Australia and beyond descended on Auckland and Wellington to meet and greet the Joint-Chairman, players and staff with warm smiles and open arms.

Noble and Nolan, along with everyone involved in the eleven-day trip, will never forget the time they spent on the other side of the world.

"Everyone in New Zealand has been absolutely fantastic with the way they have welcomed us and the way they have accommodated us," said Nolan.

"They were just so pleased to see us and it has been so nice to have that feeling of being wanted. They've thanked us for being here and we thank them all for their hospitality."

Noble, in fact, would love to have stayed longer to enjoy the many natural delights that the Land of the Long White Cloud has to offer.

"I've really enjoyed it and it's a shame we didn't have more time to see a lot more of New Zealand," said Noble. "We have had a lot of media commitments and events to go to, such as a lunch with the British High Commissioner, so we haven't had that much time to go out and see everything.

"We went to see the Weta Workshop and Park Road Post Production, where they make all the films, and that was really good.

"The people have greeted us and treated us unbelievably, like stars, and we've been looked after well. We've met an amazing amount of fans who have moved here years and years ago from the East End and it's great to see that they have stuck with the Club.

"It's been really nice to visit what is a beautiful country, and it's just a shame we've not had a chance to see and enjoy more of it. It's a lovely place and I've enjoyed my time here."

Kevin Nolan
Kevin Nolan meets fans during the Football United Tour

West Ham's visit to New Zealand is the furthest the Club has ever travelled for a pre-season tour - and is likely to remain so - and forms part of a strategy to enlarge the worldwide fan base.

The Hammers already possess fans all over the planet and, with a move to the Olympic Stadium to prepare for in 2016, the continued growth of the supporter base is vital to the future success of the Club, on and off the pitch.

"I think it's massive for the Club and they've got it absolutely spot-on with what we've done," said Nolan. "A massive pat on the back must go to all the staff who have worked hard to make sure that this tour ran as smoothly as possible, with us going here, there and everywhere.

"It's been brilliant for the Club and the positive feedback we've had from the fans suggests we have increased our fan base over here.

"It's amazing how many people have emigrated who are West Ham fans and have brought that here. They've not gone looking for the Club - they were born and bred into it and they've taken it on to their families.

"It's been a long trip, but a good trip."

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