Mark Noble has revealed his pride at how far West Ham have progressed this season in a thank you message to the club’s supporters.
The 2017-18 campaign was a difficult season for the Irons both on and off the pitch. They continued to struggle to adjust to life at the London Stadium, with fans complaining about the atmosphere and how far away from the pitch they were due to the running track.
There was also a divide between supporters and the club’s board, with crowd unrest at their home game with Burnley resulting in several pitch invasions and a group of fans trying to get to owners David Gold and David Sullivan.
On the pitch a poor start to the campaign saw manager Slaven Bilic sacked at the start of November and replaced by David Moyes, who oversaw a 13th-place finish before being replaced by Manuel Pellegrini last summer.
The former Manchester City boss was allowed to invest heavily in the squad with the likes of Lukasz Fabianski, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko moving to the London Stadium.
The result has been a much-improved campaign this time around, with West Ham finishing in the top half of the table with 52 points, three places higher and with ten more points than last year.
Noble concedes that there are areas of improvement but overall he is pleased with how the season progressed.
“I am also really proud of the season we’ve just had. To have secured a top-ten finish in the Premier League was a real achievement, make no mistake about it,” he told West Ham’s website.
“The board invested heavily last summer and we have made real progress, both in our results and the way we’ve been playing. For me, we’ve had a very good season.
“We did not just bring in a new manager and nine new players last summer; we brought in a whole new philosophy and a whole new style of play.
“It would always take time for Manuel Pellegrini’s methods to take effect and, since that happened, we have produced some superb performances and some outstanding results.
“As a player, it’s been so enjoyable to be part of it all, too. While professional football is about winning and losing, at the end of the day it is still a sport and meant to be fun, and I have definitely had a lot of fun being part of Manuel’s team this season.
“If I think back to my favourite moments, obviously beating Spurs and becoming the first visiting team to win at their new stadium was the highlight, but it wasn’t the only one.
“Our win at Everton got us going back in September and it’s always nice to get one over Manchester United and Arsenal, then obviously to finish with three wins and a couple of goals at Watford on Sunday was the icing on the cake.
“We are only four or five points off where we wanted to be, but with no wins in the first four and we’ve probably been a little bit sloppy against the teams in the lower end of the league this year, but some of our performances, especially at London Stadium, have been fantastic.”
Away from the first team, Noble was also keen to praise the club’s academy and women’s team, who reached the FA Cup final in their first season as a professional side.
“I am down at the Academy a lot as my son Lenny is there, and I must say I am hugely impressed with the redevelopment work that has been done at Chadwell Heath. It is a special place for West Ham and it is so important that we continue to produce our own players,” added the 32-year-old.
“The women’s team have also really impressed me this season – their first as full-time professionals. They did something we would all love to do as West Ham players by reaching an FA Cup final and their future looks really bright.”