As we look ahead and start preparing for a fresh start at a football season (after the World Cup of course), us West Ham fans start to think of who will be wearing the claret & blue next season, who no longer will, and how good will it be?
Well the dust has barely settled on the 2013/14 campaign and yet our club has already been at the centre of attention due to the saga surrounding our manager Sam Allardyce’s future as boss, which on Tuesday was decided that Big Sam remains. Although that didn’t go down well with some, he is the man leading us into our 3rd successive Premier League season.
But I want to ask, who leads us on the pitch? This last season I have found our captain Kevin Nolan’s leadership qualities to be questionable to say the very least. His constant laughing and joking with opposition in the tunnel and on the pitch whilst the club was battling against relegation had been stomach churning to watch, and his infamous sending offs earlier in the campaign showed a petulant side to a man that is paid to lead our players into battle.
That’s not to say that I don’t respect Kevin Nolan, because I do. He does have his qualities, and the fact he has been our top scorer for the past two seasons cannot be ignored. However I feel the time has come for Mark Noble to captain the side.
Noble has come of age this season, and leads by example. The effort he puts in every match outweighs every other player, including that of our current captain. In fact Noble covered more ground than any other Premier League player last season, quite an achievement.
The reality is Nolan will remain our captain due to his long standing relationship with Sam Allardyce. However with Nolan at 31 years of age, we must wonder how long can he continue at this level? I feel Noble is primed and ready to take the armband, and lead us out at the Olympic Stadium when that time comes.