NOMAD FRANK FEELS AT HOME
AS HE so charmingly sums it up himself, Frank Nouble has played for so many teams he ‘probably has two or three friends’ at every club across the country.
Though he is still just 26, the Newport County front man’s list of clubs now stands at 17.
After learning his trade at Chelsea’s academy, his career has taken him from the Premier League with West Ham, the Championship with the likes of Swansea and Ipswich, League One with Coventry and Gillingham, and even Tianjin Quanjian in the Chinese Super League – though that was before they had the staggering financial clout they do today.
Nouble has lived an existence where the goalposts are forever changing.
Even now, at Rodney Parade, his contract runs for just a single season. But, however much one-club men are admired in modern football, this journeyman striker cherishes every new challenge he has taken on to date.
“I’ve always been a bit headstrong in trying to go out and gain experience,” said the welltravelled Exiles man.
“Sometimes it hasn’t worked in my favour, but, at the same time, I don’t regret any of it.
“It’s hard to explain because you don’t know where’s going to work out for you, or what level. So, there are different reasons why it’s not worked out at different places.
“Maybe I’ve not stayed somewhere long enough or the manager’s gone early, or maybe I’ve not played to my best, but I just think it’s about timing.
“I’ve been at so many places now I’ve probably got two or three friends in every club.
“It’s very rare you see players that have come through academies and stayed there.
“They’ve usually been shunted out on loan and stuff like that.
“So, coming down to League One or League Two, it’s maybe another way of looking at it.
“Go out there and get some games and showcase your talent and your potential.
“No matter what age you are, you can always show something. And there’s someone out there ready to take a risk or a gamble on you. I think that’s where I’m at right now and it’s paying dividends.”
While it might be easy to imagine Nouble effectively lives out of a suitcase, he finds familiarity in the support of his fiancée Gemma, who, he says, has been with him ‘since the get-go’.
The pair have a one-year-old daughter called Nyah Eve and another girl due next March.
The London-born striker counts his spell on loan at Swansea from West Ham in 2010, under former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, as one of the happiest periods of his career, even though he was recalled by the Hammers after little more than a month.
Ipswich, where Nouble spent a full two years between 2013 and 2015, was also another formative chapter.
The former Premier League rookie was forced to grow up quickly by Mick McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor.
In August, after scoring five times and registering four assists, Nouble was named League Two player of the month and, under manager Michael Flynn, he believes he has – for now at least – found a happy home.
“I’ve had many a club and many a manager, and it’s good to be somewhere where I’m really trusted, given full rein to go out there and try and lead as much as I can,” said Nouble.
“Mike’s a young manager and he’s maybe more up-to-date with how players are today.
“He’s taken me in well. We’ve started really well for him, and long may that continue.”
BOOTS FOR HIRE: Frank Nouble, left, has had 17 clubs but feels trusted at Newport