Return of the Nobes

Mark Noble is back. I doubt there’s a single West Ham fan out there who isn’t delighted that our former skipper is returning to the club as Sporting Director.

You would also doubt there’s anyone who is surprised. It seemed clear that plans were afoot to ease Noble back into the operation in some capacity.

It’s a newly created position, but one West Ham have needed very obviously. When you look at the big clubs around that we are aspiring to join, we lack the infrastructure they possess.

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Sporting Directors at places like Manchester City are crucial to the smooth running of the backroom administration. They take much of the pressure from the manager and recruitment staff - such as when you hear the likes of Pep Guardiola explaining that he doesn’t know the exact position of a transfer deal, least of all the financial package being negotiated. He’s given the club the names of who he wants, and let the suits get on with it.

Now seeing Noble in a suit will be odd but having his charisma, knowledge, reputation around the game and deep knowledge of how the football industry works can only be a giant step forward for the club.

What is interesting is the club statement, a very carefully-worded document, that talks of ‘working closely’ in support of David Moyes, as well as the board of directors with input, advice and assistance across all aspects of the football operation.

It talks of the Academy development, player recruitment, player and staff wellbeing, nurturing talent in the club’s philosophy and values.

Noble has been in the States at Harvard, no less, learning about the sport business, media and leadership. I'm not sure he needs much help with the leadership bit, he could probably teach them a thing or two.

The appointment also comes after some subtle hints from Moyes that Noble could be returning in some capacity.

This role, in my view, does not challenge Moyes’ position in any way. It just takes a level of middle management away from the manager and may also take some of the weight from the shoulders of Rob Newman. We shall see.

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There are many who feel that West Ham have missed the involvement of Noble this season. The man has an aura about him and attracts immense respect from the football world. He’s a talent we need to nurture.

This position, without doubt, has been created with Moyes’ support and Daniel Kretinsky's approval. To have Noble around, front of house, linking the football side with the business of the club can only be a boost.

There will, incidentally, be a autobiography of Noble in the book shops before Christmas. He’s clearly intent on writing a few more chapters. Welcome back Mark, you have been missed.

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