By Sam Stone

24th Sep, 2022 | 8:40am

David Webb: Lots of eyes on Mark Noble as West Ham United sporting director

David Webb believes Mark Noble will have “a lot of eyes” on him as he takes on his new role as West Ham United’s sporting director in January.

The Hammers confirmed (22 September) that the club legend would be returning in the new year after retiring at the end of the 2021/22 season.

His new role will include player recruitment, academy development and providing support for players and staff for both women’s and men’s teams.

Webb, who has held football operations roles at Southampton, Bournemouth, Tottenham and Huddersfield feels the 35-year-old must seek more advice in January in order to adapt to the role after only just retiring from the professional game.

As quoted by The Athletic [24 September], Webb said: “He has the advantage of knowing the club but some of the disadvantages could be lack of experience in the recruitment market and having to review staff’s individual performances.

“You don’t get to experience a lot of these factors when you play. Mark starting in January is ideal because the next four months will allow him to get his head around the role and seek more advice.

“If I was in his position, I would be doing that to give myself a head start and looking at how to improve for the next three to five years. There will be a lot of eyes on him because of his new role now.”

Pros and cons

The appointment of Noble makes sense for a lot of reasons but there are also a couple of concerns that should also be raised. From the club’s perspective, having Noble in the sporting director role will help keep a connection with the fans.

Nobody knows West Ham better and what is required at the club, particularly in the academy. Furthermore, the 35-year-old has been in and around the first team and knows what the current objectives and goals of David Moyes and the players are.

However, there is always a concern about throwing an ex-player into a role such as this, particularly straight after he has finished his playing career with the club.

Dan Ashworth, now currently technical director at Newcastle United is an excellent example. He has previously worked wonders and Brighton and Hove Albion and also spent time at West Bromwich Albion. Ashworth didn’t have a distinguished playing career but has gone on to be regarded as one of the most highly regarded sporting directors in the country.

Sometimes a measured approach with the appointment coming from outside the club can work better. However, Noble will be given the chance and starting in a January transfer window will hopefully allow him to really get grips with the role going forward.