‘A great honour’: Mark Noble returning to West Ham as sporting director

<span>Photograph: Dave Shopland/REX/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Dave Shopland/REX/Shutterstock

Mark Noble is returning to West Ham as sporting director months after his retirement. The former captain will start in January in the newly created post at his boyhood club, where he played for 18 years.

With coaching currently not a priority for Noble, he will work closely with David Moyes and the directors. The 35-year-old will provide input, advice and assistance across West Ham’s football operation, with responsibilities including a focus on player recruitment, developing the academy and player and staff wellbeing.

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Noble, who made 550 appearances for West Ham before retiring at the end of last season, will focus on ensuring signings and academy players embrace the club’s football philosophy and values. He will also ensure there is strategic alignment throughout the club.

Noble, who travelled to the US to complete an entertainment, media and sports business course at Harvard Business School last summer, said: “I’m really happy to be coming back and can’t wait to get started. I’d like to thank the club for giving me the opportunity – it’s a great honour for me to take up this role at West Ham United.

“I’ve spent the last 24 years as a player here, first in the academy and then in the first team, and obviously have a deep knowledge and understanding of the club. Throughout my playing career, the one thing I strived for more than anything was constant improvement, on and off the pitch.

“That became even more important to me when I was named club captain in 2015 and the last seven years have given me such great experience and preparation for the next stage of my life and career.

“In particular, the last two years, as my playing days began to naturally wind down, gave me a fantastic opportunity to really spend some time educating myself and gaining greater knowledge and understanding of the work that goes on behind the scenes. This club has made some fantastic strides forward in that period and I am really looking forward to coming back at such an exciting time.”

Moyes, whose side are languishing in 18th after a difficult start, said: “I am really pleased to welcome Mark back. He was a great asset to me as a player and a captain and I know he will give the club and myself fantastic support again in this role.”

West Ham’s co-owner David Sullivan said: “He has been and always will be a part of the fabric of this club. There was never any doubt that he would come back in a senior role in the near future.

“He is already familiar in every aspect of the organisation, he personally knows all of the staff who work here across all departments, and he always puts the club’s best interests at the heart of everything he does. He will help to provide another strong link between the football operation and the wider club, and will continue to be a great asset to West Ham.”