Mark Noble has done a fascinating two part interview with European football journalist Graham Hunter.
Graham introduces the first part on his blog
JUNE 20, 2007. That was the day England faced their Dutch counterparts in a European Under-21 Championship semi-final and were only sent home after an all-out penalty battle royal. A record was set, with the 25 spot-kicks required to separate the sides still standing as the longest penalty shoot out in UEFA history. It was also the day that Mark Noble, who scored twice in that shoot out, was left in tears as his side fell just short of the final. But don’t worry, the midfielder was later consoled by a few sympathetic northerners he met on holiday. He was happy to be put on the spot for his country in Heerenveen, having practised penalties repeatedly in training sessions before the tournament. “Every day after training, every player took a penalty and [head coach] Stuart Pearce stood there with a pad and pen and took notes,” Mark says in the podcast:
“Mark, scored. James Milner, scored. Tom Huddlestone, scored. He went through the line, bang, bang, bang, bang… I never missed.” It is a habit he has continued throughout his career, with Mark now established as the penalty taker for West Ham United – and in this Big Interview he gives a wonderfully honest account of how he handles that responsibility.
Listen to part one HERE
This is Graham’s introduction to the second part of the interview…
MARK Noble grew up with a football field for a back garden. Or at least he did once his dad had a secret gate installed behind the house, so that Mark could take a ball and sneak on to the grounds of a school. It was not too long before he was stepping out at Upton Park. Or should that be the Boleyn Ground? Either way, in Part Two of his Big Interview, Mark talks about that famous old stadium and the final game there, against Manchester United under the lights. Mark has kept a photograph from that night – a picture of the West Ham fans looking on as he shields the ball to help see out the game. He remains connected to his support, his community, and Mark talks eloquently about the social housing projects being undertaken by the Legacy Foundation, which he founded alongside two other London boys: Bobby Zamora and Rio Ferdinand. Mark is a good footballer and a good man.
Listen to part two: HERE