Olympic Games founder Pierre de Coubertin insisted that ‘the most important thing is not winning but taking part’.
Respectfully, West Ham United captain Mark Noble disagrees.
With his side sitting bottom of the Premier League after three away defeats, the Hammers return to London Stadium – ironically home of the 2012 edition of De Coubertin’s event – to face Huddersfield Town on Monday evening, and skipper Noble says winning is all that matters.
“We’ve spoken about those three games, and we have worked hard to put things right on the training pitch,” Noble wrote in his column for tonight’s Official Matchday Programme. “Our season starts again tonight, really.
“If I am being honest, all that matters to us at the minute is winning football games. I’ve said it many times before and I’m not going to stop saying it!
“It doesn’t matter if we play like Barcelona or Real Madrid, because if we lose then how we played is not important when you consider the position we find ourselves in.
“If we were safely in mid-table, in top form or coming to the end of the season, then maybe we could say ‘performances are just as important as results’, but at present our results are the be-all and end-all.”
If West Ham are to record the win Noble craves, then the captain knows just how big a role the 54,000-strong Claret and Blue Army can play in helping their team achieve it.
“It’s going to be great to lead the team out in front of more than 50,000 of our fantastic fans tonight,” wrote the Club’s all-time Premier League appearance leader, who could play his 293rd top flight game for West Ham on Monday.
“Before I talk more about tonight’s game, I want to say thank you to our amazing away fans, who have travelled more than a thousand miles already this season, spent a lot of money and obviously not watched us play great football.
“[I’d say to our fans] ‘Please give it your all and get behind the lads tonight. We want to make this place a fortress this season and you can play a massive part in helping us do just that’.”
*West Ham United’s Premier League fixture with Huddersfield Town will be shown live in the UK by Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event, and across the world by the Premier League’s international broadcast partners.