The Captain’s Dilemma


On the 16th of June last year, West Ham confirmed the signing of Kevin Nolan, who was seen as influential in Big Sam’s masterplan for an immediate return to the Premier League. It was labelled one of the biggest coups of the window, despite being rumoured to have cost around £4m. The West Ham faithful were full of optimism that the former Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers midfielder would fill the void left by the influential Scott Parker and knock in a considerable amount of goals in the process.

This hasn’t been the case.

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The 29 year old has not been the shining light that us Irons had hoped for in an otherwise positive season for the Hammers. The combative midfielder was promoted to captain upon arrival and looked certain with Allardyce to send some fire power into the rather lacklustre squad. However, Nolan, who is on a £40,000-a-week salary, has spent most games arguing with officials, losing possession and most recently, getting sent off. A derby game is where you would expect your captain to lead from the front and not get involved in unnecessary scraps and to keep the team calm; However in the 9th minute Nolan was sent off for a two footed challenge on Jack Smith. It was reckless, it was out of control and it was stupid and if it wasn’t for a stellar performance from stand-in captain Mark Noble, we may have slumped to an embarrassing defeat to our bitterest rivals.   A captain is a player who leads by example. He can rally the team when victory seems impossibl, he is a motivator, he is influential on and off the field, he is a tireless, he is hardworking and he doesn’t give up on his team. A West Ham captain is a player who comes out of a game with blood on his shirt, who fights for every ball, has claret and blue running through his veins and would give anything to pull on the famous shirt, worn by some of the greatest players in history.   Some of the greatest captains in the history of the beautiful game have graced the turf of the Boleyn. These players include Julian Dicks, Billy Bonds, Steve Potts, Paulo Di Canio and the greatest captain of all, Bobby Moore. These players epitomise what means to play for West Ham. As fans, we are drawn to players who work hard for the team. Often, players have struggled to win over the West Ham faithful. This is not usually due to a lack of technical ability but laziness. As fans of the English game we are drawn to players who battle hard, win tackles and do not give up on the team. Xavi Hernandez, arguably one of the greatest midfielders of all time, said that “England are a nation of warriors” And that is the sort of player that we are drawn to and a warrior is what often defines a captain. Even at Barcelona, the best team in the world, playing phenomenal attacking football with flair and unrivalled passing ability have Carlos Puyol as their captain, their warrior.   Looking for experience? Just want to be heard outside of the Boleyn? We are currently looking for writers, drop us an email at for more details  

Mark Noble, SBOBET’s January player of the month (and many fans Hammer of the season so far) has taken over the captaincy from Nolan for the last couple of games and has played like a man who has been the captain for years. Mark is the longest serving West Ham player and joined as a schoolboy and worked his way through the famous academy. He made his debut in 2004, aged 17 and has made more than 170 appearances for West Ham. A West Ham boy through and through, who grew up in Canning Town and has also played through all the England youth sides, captaining the under 21 side.

The perfect captain? Most certainly. He’s a player who has all the attributes to make him a good captain, but more importantly, he has all the attributes to make him a great West Ham captain. In the Millwall game, he not only showed his technical abilities, he showed his leadership qualities, his passion, his never-say-die attitude and most importantly his love of West Ham United. He’s our longest serving player, he’s our stand in captain, he’s our warrior.

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  • HMMMM says:

    OMFG really?

    So much contradiction and pure rubbish written here.

    Seriously everyone needs to get off of his back. Yeah he’s had a few dodgy games but who hasn’t (apart from Noble) Seriously everyone forgets about Brighton where he won the game for us and against Coventry AND all the other games and vital goals he has scored for us. He is a great leader and YOU being a typical West Ham moaner doesn’t help.

    Your drilling pure trash into peoples minds.

    Look Kevin Nolan is and always will be a great leader, he gets goals everywhere he goes and behind the scenes is truly inspirational. So what he got sent off against Millwall, we won the game, and you go on to say a true West Ham captain comes off the pitch with blood on his shirt, all Nolan did then was go in hard and because the FA are trying to turn football into NON CONTACT football he got sent off.

    West Ham actually convinced someone of pure quality to drop down a division, to start a fresh and build a solid squad. And yet YOU and many others sit back and grill him for every mistake.

    Absolutely sick to death of people jumping on his back. Next time you watch West Ham watch how he defends from the front, and how every player on that pitch respects him and listens to him. Ive seen games where every player looks down and out and he goes round every player has a quick word and its like a second wind.

    You DONT know what your talking about. Nolan is a great captain and will see us through to win the league. ANd you can’t sit there and say we can do without him because since we havnt had him our midfield has looked lost. Don’t get me wrong the lads done great to get 7 point from 3 games with 10 men but the midfield has looked lost. And there is only so much Noble can do.

    So how about this, you give him a chance, get behind YOUR clubs captain and support the club. Stop writing about negatives we need to transform this club to be positive.

  • Kat says:

    I completely disagree with the above comment. Think Nolan is too quick to put in a rash challenge, and doesn’t calm down bad situations. The role of a captain is to lead the team by example and getting yourself sent off so early in a game and being banned for 3 more is NOT good behaviour. I personally don’t think Nolan has made a good impression at all, and completely agree that he seems to lose possession all the time. As Big Sam himself has said, we haven’t missed him. Think this is a great article, Noble for captain!

    • HMMMM says:

      Yeah if you read it properly he states we haven’t missed him POINTS wise.
      But no matter what your uneducated mind tells you he IS a great captain and a great player.

      Let me guess… both of you never played at a very good level and all you actually know about the BEAUTIFUL game is what they talk about in the pub.

      Seriously its actually embarrassing!

      More to the point though why is it fans like yourselves feel the need to pick holes in the team you love. No matter what you should back every player because they play in Claret and Blue. And the fact that you can’t even get behind your clubs captain really does say something.

      Im going to take another stab in the dark and suggest both of you are of the OLDER generation and have this myth engraved into your minds about West Hams lovely attacking football… well those days havnt been around probably since Harry so you need to get over it. Our performances over the last 2-3 seasons have been embarrassing. Im happy we went down if I’m honest, get some top quality players in and start a fresh.

      For Big Sam to make a big difference he HAS to have the backing of the club and fans, he chose Nolan as captain so we should respect that. If West Ham had all our decisions made by fans like YOU then we would be in a much worse situation.

      Noble is and always will be a true hammer, he is Vice captain and inspirational to everyone! He will have his chance at West Ham captaincy we all know this.. so get behind Nolan and stop with the pointless negatives threads and comment because I’m sick of it!

      You can disagree all you like and sit there reading this comment like I’m talking crap… but its the complete opposite.

      Im being loyal to my club, respecting the managers decision to appoint a PROVEN top quality player as captain and NOT pocking holes in something that is good.

      Fans like MYSELF are the only fans that should fill Upton Park at our home games, fans like YOU should sit at home sipping your tea moaning about the weather, because thats all your good for. So get on with your negative life and just imagine what club West Ham could be with positive fans and figures around them.


      • Michael Hunt says:

        This comment is the most disgusting thing i have ever seen, clearly you havent understood this article in the slightest and all youve been doing is trying to tear the writer to pieces. You are clueless to the fact that this was written by someone who is under the age of 20, someone who clearly shows he has an understanding of the game that you would only get from playing the “BEAUTIFUL GAME” at a high level. And your other post underneath this suggests that maybe youre 7 years old? “SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP”- this isnt a website for miserable kids to hurl abuse at people, its a website for people who both support a club, but can look past their own teams colours to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of their own team. So no, why dont you sit down and shut up.

  • HMMMM says:

    OH OH




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