On and off the field for the last eighteen months Mark Nobles love for Dimitri Payet has been extremely apparent. Noble has always lauded Payet as the “best player he’s ever played with”, as the two shared what seemed to be an unbreakable bond.
Unfortunately however, both for us the fans and Noble the captain, the events of last Thursday have taken its toll. Noble has been left to feel “angry and disappointed” with the decision and admits he hasn’t spoken to Dimitri Payet for weeks.
“I had - and I say had because I haven't really spoken to him for the last two or three weeks - a great relationship with him, but I don't know his reasons.
“I am not going to comment on why he wanted to leave but I do know that if someone doesn't want to play for the team then they are better off not even playing.”
Noble however, was quick to praise the way in which Slaven Bilić handled the situation.
“I thought the manager was right in what he did because it is hard,” Noble added. “You have to win games and if you have your best player who doesn't want to play for you then obviously he has had to do something about it.
“I have been here all my life so I find it hard to realise that someone wouldn't want to play for the club. It's a massive club and he is absolutely adored - was adored here - by the fans. But football and fans change quickly.”
I can't help but feel truly heartbroken for Mark Noble, as I'm sure everyone else does too. He gave Payet everything he had to offer, giving up the limelight as Mr West Ham to truly dig in and work behind the scenes whilst Payet stole the plaudits. It gave their relationship an added je nes sais quoi.
Like the rest of the squad and the manager Slaven Bilić, we would have expected to see that same heart and that same commitment that everyone including the fans have shown towards Dimitri, it’s left us all numb, aggrieved and bereft at the outcome.
People change and players move on, unfortunately for this love story however, a fairy-tale ending was never to be.