Ben Burgess column: Nothing Noble about football’s crazy week

West Ham United's Mark Noble
West Ham United's Mark Noble
Share this article

What a week it’s been for reactions and provocation.

Don’t miss the latest football transfer news and gossip from leagues in England, Scotland and Europe with footballwire.co.uk

It began with Jamie Carragher and his reaction to being taunted by the father of a 14-year-old girl.

Carragher’s reaction was completely out of order and most people would be in agreement that spitting is one of the worst actions you can take.

What seems strange is that Carragher has played for Liverpool for more than 15 years.

For most of that time, he – alongside Steven Gerrard – was the figurehead of the team and the focus of away fans anger/banter/frustrations.

In all that time, I don’t recall him reacting that badly, even when he suffered defeats at Old Trafford.

He probably always felt that he could react with good performances on the pitch while he was a player, but now he doesn’t have that option.

Another player in the news was Mark Noble, who confronted some of his own angry supporters during their capitulation at the London Stadium against Burnley.

It really has been an horrendous move to the new ground for West Ham.

From day one, they have had trouble with poor results, poor atmosphere and now angry remonstrations from fans.

I fully understand Noble’s reaction and it’s a sad situation when players have to physically defend themselves from their own fans on the field of play.

Work must be done to stop supporters from getting to the players in the first place.

I remember a funny episode when ex-Blackpool loanee Graham Stack was confronted by fans during a loan spell in Belgium.

Two of them ran towards him and began kicking him, Stacky promptly put one on his backside and the other ran off.

I understand fans getting frustrated but players should also be able to defend themselves if they’re under threat.

On the subject of being ‘under threat’. Gary Bowyer described facing Rovers as being armed with a penknife against an army with heavy artillery.

I think he was being generous to describe himself as having a penknife; after all penknives cost money!

In all seriousness, it must frustrate Bowyer and the many other clubs who find themselves in similar situations.

The disparity between clubs in the same league has never appeared greater.

In the Championship, Wolves have come under fire for spending fortunes on a plethora of players, who are mostly under one agent.

It is certainly working for Wolves as they sit at the top of the Championship.

In the Premier League, every team in the top six or seven appear to have limitless funds and this has made for some exciting seasons but it also means there is a huge divide with those teams below.

The money can be viewed negatively and people will say that Wolves are buying success, just as Manchester City, Chelsea and even Blackburn Rovers – under Jack Walker – have done.

The counter argument to this is that if City, Chelsea and Rovers hadn’t spent money, then the league would only have ever been won by Manchester United, Arsenal or Liverpool because they had managed to amass the most money through their success and were paying fortunes for players.

The fresh money is evening it up in one way, but widening the gap in others.

We don’t want a league like Germany where Bayern Munich win everything because they are the one team with a huge budget or France, where PSG are streets ahead with their finances.