A 6-5 victory for West Ham against a West Ham All Stars team was the final result in Mark Noble’s testimonial. Another entertaining match, and another one to cherish at The Boleyn Ground before we move in the summer.
Noble was amongst the goals as expected, but it was a great day to be a part of with some truly touching moments. Taylor Tombides goal was particularly emotional, in loving tribute to his brother and West Ham academy’s Dylan who tragically passed away in 2014.
Ashton rolled back the years with a truly stunning bicycle kick and Adrian, of course, ran the pitch and slotted past David James.
There were goals from Diafra Sakho, who took a selfie with a few players including Jimmy Walker as part of his goal celebration. Paolo Di Canio scored a cracker and Bellamy, who still looks a player, beat Adrian with a nice finish. Alex Song was loving the amount of time he got on the ball and slotted past David James, while Teddy Sheringham scored from half a yard for the all stars.
However, the real hero of the day was Noble. A true one club man, you could see the emotion as he was given a guard of honour before kick off and after the victory.
Noble’s career has played out in parallel to West Ham’s, his best moments often coincide with our best moments as a club. This season, in our most successful campaign in recent years, he has captained the side and led superbly. The players understand Mark Noble’s passion for the club and he leads by example, demanding performances and the same desire from his team mates. The fans couldn’t ask for a better leader, he is one of their own. Despite fierce competition for a midfield position with Kouyate, Obiang and Song, Noble has kept his place and thrived. He has added to his game this year and is finally being considered a International player, even if the call up from Hodgson hasn’t quite happened yet.
When the club escaped relegation in 2007, Noble put in some great performances and along with Tevez was one of the reasons we did survive. Nine years ago, he had the same level of importance to the club in a situation where we needed players like Mark Noble. Players who want to perform for the shirt are vital in a relegation scrap, and no fan would ever accuse him of not giving 100%.
Noble has experienced relegation but decided to stick with the club and help get us back to where we belong. Offers from top flight clubs came, but Noble was never interested. Footballers are often remarked upon as being money grabbing, and having no loyalty to certain clubs. Generally, as soon as a team gets relegated, anyone half decent jumps ship. This was never the case with Mark Noble, it is his club, and he felt responsible in getting West Ham United back into the Premier League.
It speaks volumes that West Ham’s rise to the top has coincided with Noble’s. His performance level has improved dramatically alongside the clubs, and be sure that if West Ham continue to rise up the Premier League table and beyond, Mark Noble will rise with them for a few more years yet.
All the best Tweets from Mark Noble’s testimonial:
If Carlsberg did Testimonials………!!
— Dean Ashton (@Dean36ashton10) 28 March 2016
— Carlton Cole (@CarltonCole1) 28 March 2016
— Matthew Etherington (@mattyethers) 28 March 2016
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) 28 March 2016
Images courtesy of WHUFC.com