Anton Ferdinand and Arthur Masuaku react as West Ham make surprise announcement

Will Butcher

West Ham have surprisingly announced that Mark Noble will take on the role as the club’s sporting director from January onwards, following his retirement last summer – prompting Anton Ferdinand and Arthur Masuaku to react.

Making his debut for West Ham in August 2004 at just 17, Noble went on to play 550 times in all competitions for the Hammers. But last season, with his future at West Ham in doubt, he decided to retire rather than continue his career.

A one-club man, captaining the Hammers for season upon season. Now, Noble has returned to West Ham – but upstairs. Many had expected Noble to be at West Ham in some capacity, but perhaps in more of a coaching role.

However, Noble will now become the club’s sporting director from January 2. It will see him look after the side of contract negotiations, transfers and managerial decisions in the board room. West Ham confirmed such on Thursday.

West Ham have announced Noble role: Ferdinand and Masuaku react

It is a surprise, in that not many ex-players are given such responsibility in Premier League football. Normally, ex-players go into coaching and then become a manager in that way. But Noble will now be in the board room.

Perhaps testament to the man he is. A Hammer at heart, he will have the best interests of the club at the forefront of his mind and will be able to look after West Ham as a whole. That, instead of simply coaching behind the scenes.

Now working alongside David Moyes, he remains the face of West Ham. AC Milan have done it with Paolo Maldini, while Pavel Nedved is Juventus’ vice-president. It is an appointment that has gone down well with West Ham fans.

Not just supporters, but out-on-loan West Ham defender Masuaku – as well as Hammers icon Ferdinand. They both responded to the news on West Ham’s Instagram post, with Ferdinand telling fans that it is a good appointment.

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