‘Great honour’: Mark Noble returns to West Ham as sporting director | West Ham United team

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

As training is currently not a priority for Noble, he will be working closely with David Moyes and the directors. The 35-year-old will provide input, advice and assistance across the West Ham football operation, with responsibilities including a focus on player recruitment, academy development and player and staff welfare.

Noble, who made 550 appearances for West Ham before retiring at the end of last season, will focus on ensuring that players from the academy embrace the club’s football philosophy. It will also ensure that there is a strategic alignment across the club.

“I am really excited to be back and can’t wait to get started,” said Noble, who traveled to the US to complete a business, entertainment, media and sports course at Harvard Business School last summer. “I would like to thank the club for giving me this opportunity – it is a great honor to take on this role West Ham United team.

“I have 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 have strived to achieve more than anything else has been continuous improvement, both on and off the field.

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

“In particular, in the last couple of years, as my playing days started to fade naturally, it gave me a great opportunity to spend some time educating myself and gaining more knowledge and understanding of the work that goes on behind the scenes. This club has made some great strides forward in that period. I am really looking forward to returning at such an exciting time.”

Moyes, whose team are in 18th place after a difficult start, said: “I am really happy to welcome Mark back. He has been a huge strength for me as a player and captain and I know he will give the club and I a fantastic support once again in this role.”

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan said: “He has been and always will be a part of the fabric of this club. There was no doubt that he would return in a senior position in the near future.

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