Football fans can be fickle sometimes – they pay enough to buy a licence to moan about their weekly dose of misery. They also can be short-sighted and just plain mean, which is less forgivable.
“If I am really honest, a lot of people who now go to football don’t really understand the game,” said Mark Noble this week. He was referring to the tiny minority that have formed the self-defeating “Drop Noble” lobby.
Fans value loyalty and grit above all and it is embodied by Noble who – in his role as club ambassador – has needed the diplomacy of a peace-maker to bring the club and the stadium from Upton Park to the London Stadium.
That burden, as well as a loss of form appears to weigh heavy on the midfielder who has been less of a dominant figure in caret and blue than he was at the Boleyn.
This was epitomised by the mistake that allowed N’Golo Kante to unlock West Ham and free Eden Hazard to give Chelsea the three points at the London Stadium last week.
On Saturday they lost against Bournemouth which means the Irons have gone four games without a win. This Saturday they welcome a rampant Leicester City to the London Stadium, high on their European Cup win against Sevilla midweek, a vibrant symbol of what middle ranking clubs can do.
Hardest period of my career
Critics suggest the captain should pay the price because West Ham have failed to make that jump and he has been substituted which can only compound his sense of frustration at a season that has gone horribly wrong for him.
Manager Slaven Bilic has defended the 29-year-old saying he can handle the pressure. Such a defence should be superfluous.
Noble told Sky Sports : “It’s probably been the hardest [period] of my West Ham career because we’ve had so much to deal with off the pitch.
“The move to the new stadium, the Dimi situation, so much has gone on and we lost four of our best players to injury in pre-season, which is hard to replace.
“You’ve got to stick at it, the players have dug in and though we’ve lost a couple of games, in this day and age you’re not allowed to lose games.”
The driving force
Those who want him dropped appear to misunderstand what he brings to the team, (aside from his link-up play which put him on the brink of an England call-up). He is the driving force, the supporters’ representative on the pitch and the man for whom West Ham means everything and no cause is ever lost.
He wants to finish his playing days at West Ham and will, when the time comes, be feted among the club’s greatest servants. Till then he has to live with the rumbling voice of ingratitude.
“It’s just football, you’ve got to live with it,” he said. “The things Arsene Wenger has done for Arsenal and some people want him out.
“Players like Wayne Rooney, some people want him out of the Manchester United team. That’s why we are captains of our clubs, because we can handle that pressure.”
Keep up to date with all our articles on Facebook