Mark Noble urges West Ham stars to etch names into history with ‘life-changing’ Europa League triumph

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Mark Noble urges West Ham stars to etch names into history with ‘life-changing’ Europa League triumph
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Mark Noble says this West Ham squad have the chance to write themselves into history and change their lives for good with European glory.

The Hammers begin an historic few weeks with a Europa League semi-final, first leg, against Eintracht Frankfurt at the London Stadium tonight.

Ahead of the game, legends of previous European campaigns have this week visited the West Ham training ground to impart their wisdom.

Players from the 1976 team which beat Eintracht Frankfurt over two legs to reach the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup dropped in at Rush Green, and Noble says this current crop have the chance to join them as immortals in the weeks to come.

Asked if this was a shot at writing history, Noble said: “If we win it, yes. Winning it would be life-changing for all these players. Not just myself, but also for a club and fanbase that has really stuck with their team.

“We get 60,000 every match. It would be a really good payback for them, because we have had some tough times. These are the good times and you’ve got to enjoy them.”

Noble, who will retire next month, has been the heartbeat of the club for the past 18 seasons and has seen West Ham through toxic lows and dizzying highs.

Should he end his career with a European trophy in his hands, things could get even better next season, with Champions League football coming to east London — but he is convinced he is right over his decision to hang up his boots.

Noble said: “Winning the Europa League and lifting the trophy, would I come back? No. And that’s my honest answer. To end on that would be pretty special. I was joking with the lads the other day, saying if that did happen, I’d happily come watch the Champions League games with the Europa League trophy on the next chair.”

Mark Noble is hoping to mark his 18th and final season as a West Ham player by winning the Europa League (Getty Images)
Mark Noble is hoping to mark his 18th and final season as a West Ham player by winning the Europa League (Getty Images)

The Hammers captain, who is expected to return to the club in some role behind the scenes following an extended break this summer, has been moved to tears after West Ham’s triumphs in the last two rounds and will struggle to hold back the emotion should they get past Frankfurt.

“I’m quite an emotional person anyway,” said Noble. “It’s the way I am. I think it is the thrill that I’ve fought so hard for this club for 18, 19 years and when you have feelings and emotions like that [it is] because I know how much it means to the West Ham faithful.

“If I go into a coffee shop, or watch my son play, or watch my daughter play netball, or go to a restaurant with my wife, I’ll be talking to someone about West Ham within five minutes.

Winning the Europa League would be life-changing for all West Ham’s players

Mark Noble

“There have been times where we’ve not been doing so well and I don’t even want to get out my car to put petrol in, because I know the geezer behind the pump is a West Ham fan.

“The emotion comes deep from within, knowing that it’s my last season as a West Ham player and it’s such a nice feeling to win and be successful.”

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