Ashley Wells is in his eight season with the Terras; although all of these seasons have been spent in the Southern League, since Wells made the move from Portland United the Terras couldn’t be much further from the position they were in 8 years ago. The fact that Ashley is still an important member of the first eleven is testament to his hardworking character, a trait that has allowed him to keep up with the progression and evolution of the Terras squads over the past 8 years.
Now the squad’s longest serving player by some distance and quickly approaching his 300th game, Ashley Wells spoke to Ryan Asman from theterras.com about his time at the club.
theterras.com: As somebody who grew up in Weymouth, what was your relationship with the club? How did you find playing for the youth teams?
Ashley Wells: As a boy I use to go down and watch most home games when I didn’t have a game. I only played for Weymouth in the youth set up for about 3 years but was good as I got to go and watch games and at the presentation nights you’d always have a Weymouth player presenting the trophies.
theterras.com: Are there any matches that stand out from when you used to go as a boy?
AW: It has to be the FA cup when Weymouth got drawn away to play Nottingham Forest, I went up there to watch it and Weymouth drew 1-1.
theterras.com: How did you find the transition from going from youth football to playing for Portland? And what were your footballing aspirations at the time?
AW: It was a big difference, you go from playing against lads your own age to playing against men so it was a lot more physical. I have always wanted to play as high as I can so my aim was to cement a place in the first team then go from there.
theterras.com: You get the call from Brendon King asking you to join Weymouth, what goes through your mind?
AW: As soon as he said he wanted me to join I instantly made up my mind. It was crazy to think a team I use to watch as a kid wanted me to go and play for them.
theterras.com: When you joined Weymouth the club was just beginning to find its feet after a troublesome couple of years, how much do you feel the club has progressed in your time here?
AW: I remember turning up to my first training session and I believe bailiffs were there walking round the ground; then going to the game on Saturday wondering if we would have a team as the players hadn’t been paid in weeks. We were in a relegation battle for 3 years, always trying to stay up. Now it’s the most professional time at the club and the most enjoyable. The town is starting to come back down to the Bob Lucas and support us. It’s been a massive turnaround and one everyone has been waiting for.
theterras.com: Do you feel a different sense of responsibility now you are one of the older and more experienced in the squad? How has your role within the team changed over the seasons?
AW: I feel like when new players come in it’s my responsibility to make them feel settled also to help the younger lads who are coming through by just passing on my knowledge of the league to them. I now try to lead by example whereas a few years ago I was a quiet lad who didn’t say much on the pitch whereas now I believe I’m a lot more vocal because I have to be.
theterras.com: You’ve played in various positions along the back four, and in an attacking full back role, where do you think your best position is? And which do you enjoy playing the most?
AW: I don’t mind playing either as the sweeper or a right back, I’m just happy to be playing. If I could choose though I prefer right back as I can attack. I think my best position is at right back but as long as I’m playing I’ll play anywhere.
theterras.com: How do you start your matchday and get into the right mood ahead of a game?
AW: I start the day of every game by asking my little boy if we are going to win today and he usually predicts it right. I also have a Red Bull and I’m very superstitious, I never sit under my number and when at home I will only wee in one of the urinals.
theterras.com: Who controls what music is played in the dressing room and what can you do about it if you don’t like it?
AW: The dressing room DJ is usually Josh Carmichael or Jake McCarthy, there isn’t a lot you can do, you just have to listen to it, you know if it’s Jake’s music it will be DJ Ruskie and it is dreadful!
theterras.com: You’ve been lucky enough to play in front of some large crowds for Weymouth, how do those matches compare to when you are playing in front of just a couple of hundred?
AW: They give you that extra buzz and help drive you to compete at the best. When we are home the couple of hundred who are loud all the way through help drive us to be at our best and try get a result not only for ourselves but for the fans also.
theterras.com: Us Weymouth fans can be a demanding bunch, how do you deal with the expectations?
AW: It’s like most football fans, just so passionate so I can relate to how they feel. We never put too much pressure on ourselves and know comments that are negative or insulting are just a result of heat of the moment.
theterras.com: Do you think playing for the club and working in the town put you under more pressure than other players?
AW: In a way yes, as they could easily access me whereas other players only had to see the fans on match days. The thing that made it worse was that there was some who only ever wanted to talk about a negative result and never when we had won.
theterras.com: Away from football how do you enjoy spending your time?
AW: Sporting wise I’m a keen table tennis player. I love spending my time with my children and fiancée, it’s never a dull moment when I’m with them!
theterras.com: And finally, is your boy going to play for Weymouth?
AW: I think so, he already has a Weymouth kit and when we play football he says he’s Weymouth and he’s playing against Croatia; he doesn’t like them as he watched them knock England out the World Cup! He already has a better strike than me so I think he will be a striker or winger.