Savour the occasion, Noble tells fans

  • by Staff Writer
  • Tuesday, 6th June 2023

Mark Noble has told Hammers fans to "savour every minute" of Wednesday night's Conference League Final against Fiorentina.

West Ham go into the game as slight underdogs according to many analysts, yet Sporting Director Noble - who is in Prague with the first team squad - has warned the Serie A side that West Ham are not there just to make up the numbers.

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"On Wednesday night, West Ham United will play in a major European final," Noble told West Ham's website. "Just saying those words feels so, so good.

"Ever since that unforgettable night in Alkmaar a few weeks ago, there has been a fantastic sense of excitement and anticipation as we prepare to face Fiorentina.

"There will be just under 6,000 Hammers inside the Eden Arena - a stadium we could have easily filled four or five times over - but every single Hammers fan around the world will be there in spirit.

"Tomorrow night is our opportunity to show the world what a unique and special club this is. Whatever happens on the pitch, let’s make sure we come back to London with pride. Pride in our performance, pride in our support, and pride in how we have all represented our club.

"We’ve all waited so long for this moment. Let’s savour every minute."

While he dismissed suggestions that he was disappointed not to be involved in the game - which comes just one year after he ended his playing career - Noble revealed that the current squad are "desperate" to bring the Conference League trophy home.

"A few people have asked me if I feel a little twinge of bitterness or frustration that West Ham have reached a major European final the season after I retired - the answer is absolutely not," he confirmed.

"Throughout my playing career - and particularly once I was appointed captain - all I ever wanted was for us to be successful, and for people around the club to have smiles on their faces. That has always come before any personal ambition.

"So to see the boys reach this occasion makes me so, so happy. Because I know how much it means to them, and I know how much it means to all of you.

"Finals, generally, are only enjoyable and memorable if you are on the winning side. And make no mistake - we are not in Prague just for the fun of it. We are going there to win.

"The players are determined, focused and have prepared fantastically well to be in the best possible condition and mindset going into the game. The spirit in the camp is magnificent, and all of the lads are so desperately determined to bring the trophy home to east London."

Finally the former skipper spoke to every fan when he stressed how the occasion would first and foremost be a family affair. "Sometimes it is important to take a step back and remember that it isn’t just about winning a football match," he added.

"Wednesday will mean many different things to all of us. For many it will be the first ever experience of a European final. For some of our older fans it will bring back memories of the glory of 1965 with Bobby Moore and co.

"And, for a lot of people, it will be a chance to remember those who are no longer with us - the members of the West Ham family who never got to see this day…but would be so hugely proud that we are here.

"Whatever tomorrow night means to you personally, and wherever in the world you are watching it from, we all have one thing in common: We are West Ham.

"To everyone travelling out to Prague, have fun, look after each other and stay safe. Enjoy yourselves, but also make sure we respect our Czech hosts…and remember that we are all there as ambassadors of West Ham United Football Club."

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