Lee Clark paid tribute to West Ham midfielder Mark Noble in his latest column and discussed the idea of the veteran playing for a “bigger” club.
The former Premier League midfielder shared that he didn’t think the Hammers captain was interested or too bothered about playing for a big club as he’s living the dream at the London Stadium due to playing for the club he loves.
Clark added that he thought Noble had been a terrific ambassador for the Hammers and that the 32-year-old always steps up when his side need him, whether that be communicating with fans or through his displays on the pitch.
“The answer to Mark Noble joining a bigger club is tough when you’re playing for the club that you love and support and you’re playing every week and you’re classed as one of the main men,” wrote Clark in his column for Tribal Football.
“He’s been a terrific ambassador for West Ham. You can see he loves the club. When they’ve had the times of turmoil and disappointment, he’s always been the one that steps up and comes to the fore, whether that has to be communicating with the fans or on the pitch.
“He’s the leader for those West Ham supporters and their fans – and the group of players who are in the dressing room would understand what the club means to play for West Ham because of Mark Noble.
“Am I surprised he hasn’t been in the England set-up? Yeah I probably am. But in terms of playing for a big club, I don’t think he’d be too bothered or interested in that. He’s living his dream so I don’t think moving anywhere else would’ve been of any interest to him.”
Clark has somehow turned what should be a nice tribute to one of West Ham’s best players in recent history into a piece that appears to take a dig at the Hammers’ stature. It’s unclear whether the former Fulham midfielder has taken the dig on purpose or whether he is oblivious to what he has done. While the Hammers aren’t competing for the Premier League title, and haven’t been for many many seasons, and aren’t featuring in European competitions such as the Champions League, are they not considered a big club? The London club have a long decorated history, are seen as mainstays of the Premier League and have a stadium and a fanbase that can’t be sniffed at. It says a lot that the stadium with the third-highest attendance in the Premier League is West Ham’s as on average they get crowds of 59,919 people this season (Source: Transfermarkt). There may be no trophy for attendance or largest fanbase, but when you debating what clubs should be considered ‘big’ then it has to be taken into account. Otherwise, does Clark want to tell the likes of Leeds United that they aren’t big as they’re playing in the second-tier?