Cottee’s column: What has West Ham’s Mark Noble got to do?

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Tony CotteeTony Cottee is back with his EXCLUSIVE Forever West Ham column. Read about Tony’s thoughts on The Hammers’ transfer window, Winston Reid and much, much more.

Transfer Window

I was pleased that West Ham hadn’t left themselves with anything major to do on Deadline Day.

It was expected that one or two may join but I did think a couple more exits may have happened – Mohamed Diame was always going to go, that has been on the cards for a while.

Alex Song was the name that really grabbed the headlines, however, I’m reserving my judgement a little bit on the midfielder, just because we’ve been stung by high profile players in the past – especially ones from Arsenal!

What our transfer business does now allow Sam Allardyce is flexibility and options within our play, something that was lacked last season. Sam can line-up in a 4-4-2, 3-5-2 or 4-5-1 and it is great to have that fluidity available.

With the signings we’ve made, I feel the most important issue that we need to get right is the balance of the midfield. Cheikhou Kouyate seems to have become an instant hit – but I’ll wait until I’ve seen him play live before putting my opinion out there. One question I will ask, though, can Song and Kouyate play together? They’re very similar and we must combine creativity with brawn in the middle of the park.

All I know is, Mark Noble is the first name of the team-sheet and then Sam must build the right team around him, utilising the new faces correctly.

Winston Reid

The fact the club managed to hold onto Winston this window is massive; he is exactly the sort of player we need to be keeping if we want to develop, grow and improve as football club.

Most fans will agree with my above statement, however, from a club point of view, the fact Winston has one-year remaining on his contract is worrying.

Reid, easily a £10million asset, could be walking away for absolutely nothing in less than twelve months time, which is why I am surprised the board didn’t cash in on Winston, especially given failed contract talks.

It does really beg the question of how, someone of Reid’s importance and talent, was allowed to get within two-years of his contract expiring, let alone one!


There’s no denying it was a really poor result and performance, especially as teams like Southampton – and our next opposition Hull City – are opponents that we really should be expecting to get something from.

You have to hope that the 90 minutes on Saturday was just a one-off, freak result and performance rather than an insight into our season ahead.

What is worrying, though, is that we have now lost both our opening two home games and, with Liverpool visiting Upton Park next, it will be a hard task to get our first home three points of the season against Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Solid home form is what keeps you in this league not an unexpected win over Manchester United at Old Trafford or a plucky hard-earned point away at Chelsea.

England squad

What has Mark Noble got to do? Nobes has been West Ham’s most consistent player for, at least, the last seven or eight seasons; everyone knows who he is and what he is capable of and yet, rather strangely, he hasn’t been given a chance.

I know it must be frustrating for Mark, which is why I urge him to explore the route of representing the Republic of Ireland at international level. Us footballers, our careers are short and we need to grab every opportunity we can. At 27, Noble is in his peak years and deserves to be playing at highest level and, with Republic of Ireland having every chance of qualifying for Euro 2016, Mark could be playing in one of the highest profile tournaments.

The chance to work with Martin O’Neill, a former gaffer of mine, and Roy Keane will, I’m sure, appeal to Nobes. This will also benefit West Ham as international football will develop his game further as he will be experiencing different attitudes, players, formations, styles and everything else that goes with playing at that level.

Tony Cottee was talking to Forever West Ham’s Editor

Tony’s book ‘West Ham: The Inside Story’ is out NOW and you can order a SIGNED copy from

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to,

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  • rivieralet says:

    How about ……. learn how to tackle ,take free kicks / corners,and pass forwards to Claret and Blue.

    He is one paced and cannot read the game quickly . He will NEVER be a quality player and has more chance of getting pregnant than starring for England .

    • Dave Branch says:

      What utter and total garbage !!! Your comments show a total lack of understanding about his role in the side, his ability on the ball, and the fact that the lad has been our best player for years. What the hell have you been watching for the last 8 seasons mate !!!!!

    • WHUTID says:

      Spot on, he is 1 dimensional to slow, predictable and a liability. He is an average premiership or good championship player at the best of times.

      He is never going to be England quality and that say at lot when you know how useless and under achieving they are !!!

  • beckton Geoff says:

    There always one isn’t there

  • beckton Geoff says:

    I absolutely agree with you Mr cottee and you to Mr brance , as far as I am concerned mark noble is a legend in my book and if he is not picked for England again then it is there loss , England will not win anything while they don’t have a west ham player in the squad and they differently won’t with Hodgson in charge. Club before country that’s me COYI !!.

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