One club man. On Saturday, Mark Noble made history as he became only the 19th player to pass 400 appearances for West Ham United.
Now aged 29, Noble joined the academy as a 13-year-old, made his Hammers debut in August 2004, enjoyed the highs of two play-off promotions, endured a heart-breaking relegation, and has come out the other side as captain and a living legend of the club.
His debut came as a second-half substitute in the Hammers 2-0, Third Round League Cup, victory against Southend United on 24 August 2004. His league debut came later that season, aged just 17, against Wolverhampton Wanderers. He would also come on as a second half substitute in West Ham’s 1-0 Play-off Final victory over Preston in May 2005.
However, Noble would have to wait until January 2007 to score his first West Ham goal. It came in the FA Cup Third Round victory over Brighton & Hove Albion, as he latched on to a Carlos Tevez knockdown to fire home from 18 yards.
Since then, Noble has gone on to score 48 times in all competitions. His most recent was a converted penalty against Hull City on 17 December – his second of the current campaign. His best goal scoring record is against Southampton - in ten meetings, Mark has scored five goals and assisted twice.
Last season’s total tally of seven goals was his best to date as he played a starring role in the Hammers climb to their highest league finish in 17 years: a fitting way to say farewell to the Boleyn Ground.
400 appearances, but who have they all come against?
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Swansea City was his ninth appearance against the South Wales club. Noble has spent the majority of his career playing in the Premier League and at the top of the pile is Manchester United and Chelsea, who Noble has faced a record eighteen times.
Other Premier League stalwarts Arsenal, Everton and Manchester City have faced Noble on just one less occasion. Mark’s first Premier League goal came against Tottenham Hotspur, who he has faced 16 times in his career: three as captain.
Whilst the yellow card he picked up on Saturday means he will miss West Ham’s next two fixtures, Noble will not stop as he looks to add to his 400 appearances. He is now the club’s 19th record appearance maker with Ted Hutton (402) and Tommy Taylor (403) both within his reach. Undoubtedly, he has every chance to pass them before the end of this season.
Congratulations on 400 appearances, Mark.