WEYMOUTH defender Ashley Wells admitted his decision to sign dual-registration forms with arch-rivals Dorchester Town was “very hard”.
Wells, affectionately known as ‘Mr Weymouth’ by the Terras’ faithful, has played more than 300 games for the Bob Lucas Stadium club.
However, a sequence of just one start and two substitute appearances in 13 games has led Wells to find match minutes elsewhere, with the Magpies landing his services.
Wells made his debut for Dorchester in the 1-0 Southern League Challenge Cup victory over Wimborne on Tuesday.
In an honest review of his circumstances, Wells told Echosport he would do whatever necessary to “stay relevant” at Weymouth.
“It was very hard,” Wells said. “From being a Weymouth fan and watching them to playing for them for eight years and not going into another dressing room to being told I’ve been offered to Dorchester was a big shock and something I didn’t ever think would happen.
“Things change quickly in football and you’ve got to do what’s necessary to stay relevant. That’s just what I’m trying to do – get my minutes up then, if Weymouth need me, come back and do what I need to do for them.”
Wells hopes he remains in Weymouth’s plans, stating his level of service for the Terras.
“It’s a club I’ve given so much to,” Wells said. “Obviously it’s a club I’m very fond of and I’d never leave Weymouth if I had the choice.
“It’s just that our two best players this season have been our full-backs (Ollie Harfield and Calvin Brooks). They’ve both been playing really well. I’m not a bitter guy, credit where credit’s due.
“It’s just a case of doing what I can to stay sharp so that if I’m needed I can come in and stake my claim.”
Explaining the decision to let Wells play for Dorchester, Weymouth manager Mark Molesley said: “If you take the emotion out of it, it’s the right decision.
“Ash Wells is a Weymouth legend and has done great for this football club, but he finds himself out of the team at the moment.
“Like we’ve done with a lot of the players, we need him to keep match sharp for the benefit of Weymouth Football Club.
“There’s only a handful of teams in the area, location-wise, for Ash for his travel and the fact he can still train with us, that he could’ve joined.
“Dorchester were the ones who wanted to take him. We left it up to Ash – him wanting to do the best for Weymouth knows he needs to be match-fit.
“It suits Weymouth that he goes and keeps his match fitness sharp, so when called upon for Weymouth he’s ready. Dorchester are getting a very good player, so it suits both parties.”
Molesley added: “That shows the character of him. He’s Weymouth through and through. He’s been a great servant to the club and to continue to serve the club he wants to put himself in the best possible position to do that.
“That means going to play some football and he’s taken that chance. We want him local, because we need him for us.
“We’re fortunate enough that we’re in the higher division now. We can utilise that division to suit our needs.”
For Dorchester, Wells is a ready-made replacement for long-term knee injury absentee Kyle Egan.
Magpies’ boss Callum Brooks said: “With Ashley, he’ll be a big player for us. I was delighted the opportunity came up.
“Kyle’s out and we’ve been a defender light for a while. You’re looking at someone versatile and Ash has got that.
“You’ve got to be very, very good to play for Weymouth 300 times.
“The squad Weymouth have assembled – credit to them, they’re in a very strong position – they also employ proper people. You’ve got to be a proper person to be a part of their group as well as a proper player.
“They don’t suffer fools. Immediately we’ve seen with Ash we’ve got a proper character on board. He was booked (against Wimborne) after 20 minutes.
“As we came under pressure, was there ever any danger of him getting sent off? No. He’s been around too long.
“Their wide player Sam Bayston, who’s been flying, he defended him excellently. He’s a very good replacement for Kyle, but he’s more than that. It’s a big step forward for us that he’s on board.”
The Terras host St Albans today in the FA Cup third qualifying round, while the Magpies go to Tiverton in BetVictor Southern Premier South (both 3pm).