Mark Noble: To reach 500 games for West Ham United is incredible


Mark Noble was full of pride and relief after captaining West Ham United to a vital 3-1 Premier League win over Watford.

The skipper was in typically resilient form at London Stadium in a game the Hammers needed to win to put themselves on the brink of mathematical safety.

Noble enjoyed seeing Michail Antonio and Tomas Soucek continue their recent scoring form to put West Ham two goals up within ten minutes, before adding an assist for Declan Rice's outstanding long-range third.

As always, the No16 demanded more from his teammates, and he admitted he was not happy with the Hammers' second-half display, which included a goal for his friend and counterpart Troy Deeney, but he told West Ham TV the overall feeling was a positive.

We knew that three points tonight would probably make us safe so, yeah, when the final whistle went it was a massive relief!

Mark Noble

"I'm just gutted the fans weren't here because it would have been electric," he began. "I know they were at home watching and you can feel [their support]... I obviously got a load of text messages today for a couple of reasons.

"To be 3-0 up at half-time, in this case it made it harder for us because, with the amount of pressure we've been under, to go 3-0 up at half-time you can't help but sit back and try to protect that lead because you know what's at stake.

"We knew that three points tonight would probably make us safe so, yeah, when the final whistle went it was a massive relief!"


Mark Noble celebrates victory with David Moyes


For Noble, West Ham is his life and has been since he made his first-team debut against Southend United as a 17-year-old in August 2004, 500 games ago.

"I care about it so much," he confirmed. "It's a hard one, because unless you sit in my shoes for a day, you don't see how I care about the players, every staff member and the way the Club does.

"I'm at the age now where as long as the Club is winning, it makes me happy. I just want us to win.

"I train every day and I'm fit for 90 to 95% of the games so to win like that, having won another massive game at Norwich, after the COVID-19 lockdown and going through our wage deferrals to make sure all the staff got paid, it's just a relief for me."

Focusing on the game itself, Noble felt it was one of two distinct halves, with West Ham controlling and clinically finishing their chances in the first, then sitting back and having to soak up Watford pressure in the second, particularly after Deeney had pulled a goal back four minutes after the break.

"Listen, we were playing a team in exactly the same situation as us," he observed. "They're fighting a relegation battle and if they'd won, they were probably safe, so they were going to have a go.

"To be honest, I hated the way we played the second half. I didn't enjoy it at all, but what we did do was we dug in, stuck at it, didn't play well, but it really didn't matter.

"All that mattered was getting the three points and I'm pretty sure all our fans at home were absolutely buzzing and the news was out today that they might be coming back in October and that would be lovely."


Mark Noble


Finally, Noble was asked to reflect on becoming just the tenth Hammer to reach the 500 games landmark.

"It's incredible," he said. "I don't think I'll appreciate it until I finish playing and I can sit up there and watch the team play, because when you're involved in it so much, you care about everything and you don't appreciate it.

"Seventeen or 18 years ago I was standing outside Upton Park, trying to sneak in and asking for players' shirts and here I am playing 500 games, Club captain and I've been part of this Club for many years. I'll never forget it."


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