Mark Noble has seen almost everything, endured devastating disappointments and enjoyed sensational successes during his 15-plus seasons as a West Ham United player.
The captain has suffered relegation, achieved promotion, won two Hammer of the Year awards and is closing in on 500 appearances in Claret and Blue.
As such, it is no surprise to hear that West Ham’s current struggles have left him feeling down, but Noble, in true east London fashion, is keeping his pecker up as the Irons prepare to face Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.
Writing in his weekly column in London’s Evening Standard newspaper, the skipper was typically honest and open in his assessment of the current situation and typically determined to lead his team back up the Premier League table.
I’ve been through this before and the only way to change things is to stay tight as a team and keep on going. You can’t give up before Christmas, that would be pathetic
“It kills me because I desperately want this Club to do well,” he wrote. “It has a big effect on my life in general. I’m miserable at home and although I try not to show it because I have a wife and two kids, I can’t help it as football is my life. I’m still sleeping okay but that’s because I wear myself out worrying about things during the day.
“As captain of West Ham, I need, above all, to be positive when I go into training and I’m around the players. If people see me down, angry or upset, that’s no good.
“It has to be part of my job to help pick the players up but when you’ve been doing that for so long, it is draining. I am always worrying about everyone else.
“The one consolation is I’m playing well and I’m not letting the overall situation affect my form. For me, that doesn’t really matter. All I want is for us to win some games, pick up some points — and raise the confidence levels.
“If you can win three in a row, but not play well, it doesn’t matter because, in the fourth match, you will start playing with freedom again. I’ve been through this before and the only way to change things is to stay tight as a team and keep on going. You can’t give up before Christmas, that would be pathetic.
“We — the manager and the players — are on the receiving end of a lot of negativity and I understand that. There have been suggestions this week, for example, that there is a rift in the camp, that our dressing room is divided. I’d like to put that one to bed right now. There is NO rift in our dressing room. Of course, a few wins would help the mood but the reality is that our morale is still really good.
“In fact, if we’d lost a few games and everyone was still buzzing, I’d be more worried. There are a lot of points still to play for. The Southampton fans and perhaps some of their players will be thinking they will roll us over tomorrow but maybe that’s a good thing.
“We need to remember what we did at Chelsea, as in we scored and they didn’t. It’s basic stuff but nothing has changed since I was eight years old and playing on a Sunday morning.”