Mark Noble sees West Ham’s plan to increase the Olympic Stadium capacity as a clear sign of the direction the club is heading in.
West Ham are fifth in the Premier League, only one point behind fourth-placed Manchester City with eight games to play, and will reach the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in a decade if they overcome Manchester United in a quarter-final replay at Upton Park.
The East Londoners are also set to move into their new stadium in time for next season, with £30million apparently set aside to sign a new striker as revenues prepare to increase.
For Noble, who will on Monday afternoon be honoured by a testimonial to reward his loyalty to West Ham, the only way is up.
Noble said: “We are moving to the Olympic Stadium and we have been told the 54,000 capacity will be increased to 60,000. That shows you the way the club’s going.
“And the money in the game now means we are able to keep hold of our best players. Most of the ‘lesser’ clubs in football can buy equally good players.
“We’ve just signed Dimitri Payet for another five years. We’ve signed Manu Lanzini. We have Cheikhou Kouyate on a long contract. The board have done a great job in getting everyone. That shows you the ambition at the club.”
Noble, who joined West Ham as a 14-year-old and made his first-team debut three years later in 2004, is something of a rarity in football these days, but the midfielder has admitted he could have left Upton Park following the club’s relegation from the Premier League in 2011 were it not for the appointment of Sam Allardyce.
“The question was asked when we got relegated in 2011,” Noble said.
“I remember being away on holiday and getting phone calls from my agent, who told me that people had been in touch.
“But when I realised Big Sam Allardyce was coming in, I just batted it all away. I love this club. Sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side.”