Joel Nouble's key attribute revealed on Arbroath fan favourite's bittersweet loan farewell

Joel Nouble is the player Dick Campbell has waited over 30 years to manage. Sadly for the Arbroath manager, he only has another 90 minutes left in which to savour him.

Arbroath's Joel Nouble.    (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Arbroath's Joel Nouble. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

It is equally sad that only 494 supporters were able to take the opportunity to say goodbye to the on-loan striker after Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Nouble returns to Livingston, for whom he has still to make his debut, after this Saturday’s clash away at Ayr United. Due to current restrictions, there will be no Arbroath fans present.

Campbell has praised Nouble’s contribution to helping the part-timers reach the top of the Championship, where they remain after stretching their unbeaten run to 10 league games last weekend.

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“I’ve been looking for a player like that for 33 years,” Campbell told The Scotsman last week. “When I played and started coaching, you’d rate strikers by how many goals they got, or even assists. Not now.

Arbroath's Joel Nouble scores to make it 0-2 during the cinch Championship match between Queen of the South and Arbroath at Palmerston in September. (Photo by Roddy Scott / SNS Group)

“With the shape everyone is playing now, it is how many times a striker gets you up the park; he is the best at it. The best I have ever seen. What a great player. The fans love him.”

Nouble could make his first appearance for Livingston in the rearranged game with Dundee later this month. He has already played his last game at Gayfield and it proved a wind-affected stalemate in front of far fewer fans than would otherwise have been the case. Trying to control a ball being tossed around by 40mph winds might not be the most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, but it did not diminish his affection for the club. Indeed, Nouble, who has scored five times this season, promised he would be back.

"It's my last home game for Arbroath,” said the 25-year-old. “It's just a shame it has worked out with the restrictions.

"Normally for a game like this there would be a lot of fans. It would have been nice to have signed off from my time here in front of them all with a win. It wasn't to be so it's a bittersweet day for me.

"I wanted to say goodbye properly but hopefully the fans have enjoyed my performances for their club. I've enjoyed every single second.

"I'll be back for Bobby Linn's testimonial next month and any chance I have to come and watch or visit Arbroath I'll take it. If I'm not playing and I can come and watch them I will. I'm an Arbroath fan for life now. The club made me feel wanted from the very first training session.”

Now Livingston supporters can look forward to getting to know a fan-pleaser. He was a hugely popular figure at Arbroath and was happy to stay around long after the final whistle in often freezing conditions to sign autographs.

“The chance to go and play in the Scottish Premiership is huge for me,” he said. "I might not play straight away. I may have to be patient but I'll wait for my chance. I want to play at the highest level I can and the Scottish Premiership is a great step for me.”

Nouble is comforted that Arbroath are being allowed to exchange him for Jack Hamilton back on-loan from Livingston. “The quality won’t drop at all,” he said.

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