West Ham United captain Mark Noble has revealed he is still angry with the club’s owners for one particular piece of transfer business.
Back in 2016 West Ham made the surprise decision to sell homegrown Hammer James Tomkins to London rivals Crystal Palace for £10million.
The move brought an end Tomkins’ lifelong association with West Ham, the club he supported as a boy.
Why Hammers took the wonga for Tomka
Tomkins was still a first team squad regular and had made nearly 250 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions.
The move was controversial as West Ham fans felt the club were wrong to cash in on a key figure in the dressing room who knew the importance of representing the club.
Speaking to the club’s official website at the time, West Ham co-owner David Sullivan explained Tomkins had requested to move if he was not guaranteed first team football.
But three years on that doesn’t wash with Hammers skipper Noble.
Speaking in The Evening Standard, Noble said he is still upset at seeing his good friend sold.
Noble still upset with owners for cashing in on good friend
“It’s nice to see my old mate James Tomkins when (we play) Crystal Palace,” Noble told The Evening Standard.
“James is coming back from a groin injury, but he’s a top player and it’s still a personal regret that we sold him.
“He used to live just a few houses from me, but he has moved now, so there is no chance of me sending up another drone over his place, which is what I did once, so he’s safe!”
Tomkins has gone on to make nearly 90 appearances for Palace since.
West Ham should have stood firm
He has made himself a firm fans’ favourite with the Eagles too.
Noble is right to question the decision to sell his fellow Academy graduate.
Not only was Tomkins more than good enough to challenge for a first team spot, he knows what makes West Ham tick as a club.
His connection with the fans was crucial and alongside Noble he played an important role in helping new players understand exactly what it takes to play for the East Londoners.