Filed: Monday, 2nd May 2016
By: Graeme Howlett
Mark Noble might not be good enough to represent England at this summer's European Championships, but he proved to be the difference as West Ham United ran riot at the Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon.
Noble's chances of representing his country in France this summer all but disappeared the moment England's myopic manager, Roy Hodgson, scoffed at the prospect of including the in-form 28-year-old in his squad.
However that particular disappointment hasn't prevented the midfielder from hitting the form of his life; Noble added to his pair of penalties against Watford at the Boleyn last weekend with a second brace in seven days against West Bromwich Albion, taking his personal tally for the season to seven goals.
Cheikhou Kouyate grabbed West Ham's other goal as they ran out 3-0 winners against Tony Pulis' side, thereby maintaining United's slim hopes of qualifying for the Champions League - although a far more realistic target is fifth spot, which will require Slaven Bilic's squad finishing above Manchester United.
Whilst Saturday's success was just the latest in a long line of impressive wins on the road this season (seven so far), it was also a record-breaking victory.
The three points took West Ham to 59 for the season, two more than the club's previous record over the course of a 38-game league campaign (57, recorded by Harry Redknapp's 1988/99 squad). It also extended the club's unbeaten Premier League run to ten games - another record sequence since those particular records began in 1992.
And with a goal difference of +17 going into the final three matches of 2015/16 the campaign, West Ham are also on course to record their first positive GD in the Premier League era. In fact, you have to go all the way back to the 'Boys of '86' to find the last West Ham team to end a season in the top flight having scored more goals than they've conceded!
All of which bodes well for the forthcoming 2016/17 season, which West Ham will begin at the Olympic Stadium later this year. Vice-Chairman Karren Brady revealed this week that the club have already sold in excess of 50,000 season tickets for United's first season in Stratford, with thousands more signed up to a waiting list.
That's an incredible achievement, given that it was initially feared West Ham - whose existing stadium can hold just 35,000 - would be unable to fill the 60,000-capacity venue on a regular basis. And there are even suggestions that the current capacity - which has already been extended from an initial 54,000 - could be increased further to accommodate thousands more spectators.
It's an exciting time for the club and it's fans, who can now begin to dream of challenging the Premier League's elite for the first time in a generation - or two!
* An abridged version of this article first appeared in the Echo newspaper.
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, KUMB.com.
12:14PM 28th Jul 2009
''Nice to read a bit of positivity instead of all the doom and gloom merchants, well done!
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