Nobes Speaks

West Ham United captain Mark Noble cannot wait for the return of several Hammers legends for his Testimonial match on Monday.

Cult-heroes Paolo Di Canio, Rio Ferdinand, Trevor Sinclair and John Moncur, alongside many more, will be part of the All Stars squad taking on the current West Ham team in front of a sell-out crowd at the Boleyn Ground.

And the Hammers skipper is expecting the match – in the last season at the Boleyn Ground – to be a special occasion and something he will never forget.

He said: “I’m looking forward to getting it underway and enjoying it on the day.

Paolo, Rio, Scotty [Parker]…they are all coming back and they’ve been some really good friends of mine over the years.

To be able to play in my Testimonial in a season like this, and the last season at the Boleyn Ground, is pretty special.

You can imagine what the ticket situation has been like. It’s sold out and I’ve been driven mad for tickets!”

Noble is also relishing the chance to play with James Short – one of his oldest friends from when he was a youngster.

I’ve got my best mate from when we were kids coming to play ten or 20 minutes with me at the end, so that’s going to be great.

He comes to all the games as he’s a big West Ham fan, so it’s just silly things like that that will make it great. When it’s your own game you can do what you like!”

The midfielder made his first-team debut against Southend back in 2004, but says it feels like yesterday when he played his first game as a young 17-year-old against Southend in the League Cup.

To be honest, my career has flown by so far. I remember making my debut here and thinking ‘I’m 17 and have got so many years left’ and now I’m 28 and I’ve played the most Premier League games for a West Ham player.

It’s just been a rollercoaster, but with West Ham, it always is. This season has probably been our best, especially since I’ve been involved.”

Noble reveals there were times he could have left throughout his career, but he has always stayed loyal to the Hammers and is thrilled he made the right choice.

I remember when we got relegated [in 2010/11], I was away on holiday and I was obviously gutted, but there was some attention from some places.

But, that year, when I saw that, the Chairman had brought in Big Sam and some great players and we had the chance to have a real go. I always said to myself that the grass is never greener and I was proved right.”