Mark Noble: I’ll continue teaching youngsters the West Ham Way
Mark Noble is planning to use his final season as a Hammers player to continue preaching the West Ham Way to the next generation of players coming through the Academy of Football.
It is 16 years since Noble himself graduated from the Academy, having served his apprenticeship under the guidance of the legendary Tony Carr MBE and his coaching staff, before going on to make more than 500 first-team appearances in Claret and Blue, winning two Hammer of the Year awards and captaining his boyhood Club for the past five seasons.
Noble has always kept a close eye on the youngsters following the same journey he made as a schoolboy, regularly visiting Little Heath and Chadwell Heath to mentor players – including his own son Lenny – speak to coaches, offer guidance and share his experiences.
Having formally announced on Tuesday that next season, 2021/22, will be his 18th and last as a West Ham player, the 33-year-old confirmed he will continue helping the Hammers produce not just good footballers but, more importantly, good people.
West Ham as a Football Club has a way of thinking, a set of morals and an identity at the Club that stems from the kids at Chadwell Heath at Under-9s to the first team boys
“It’s a case for me that I believe and I always have done that West Ham as a Football Club has a way of thinking, a set of morals and an identity at the Club that stems from the kids at Chadwell Heath at Under-9s to the first team boys and the boys we sign, the foreign players and English players who come in,” he told West Ham TV.
“It’s up to someone like me and Cressy (Aaron Cresswell) and Angelo [Ogbonna] and Dec [Rice], who has come through the Academy, to show them those ethics of this Football Club.
“The Academy are doing a great job of that. Ricky [Martin] and all his staff there are doing a great job of teaching the boys how to be people instead of how to be footballers, because we know not everyone there is going to be a Premier League footballer, so the way they leave, whether that’s at 23 or 16, they should come out of the Club as a better person, for one. That should be the case.
“Even when I go over to the Academy now and watch training and see the players, they all work over and shake my hand and speak properly and I think that’s a massive thing for this Football Club and one of the main things I’ll carry on.”