Club Captain Ashley Wells joined us on podcast #10 to discuss his time at the Terras so far. It has been an incredible journey for the affectionately known “Mr Weymouth”.
Ben Ashelford: First of all, how are you feeling?
Ashley Wells: I am getting better thank you. I have finished the course of my antibiotics and I’m on the up. I’ve had a few weeks off work and I’m going back next week so hopefully I can slowly start to get back into things.
BA: Lets take a minute to talk about your time with Weymouth. You are known affectionately as Local lad, over 300 appearances for the club, just how proud are you with what you’ve achieved at the Bob Lucas Stadium?
AW: Yes obviously it’s a proud thing for me to have done, reaching over 300 appearances for my hometown club that I used to watch when I was a kid. To play that many times for my hometown, well its a great achievement for myself and I love being there. Just the support and everything, it makes you proud to part of it.
BA: You have watched this team build, grow and develop. You were part of the setup to start with and then Mark Molesley came in. How does this team compare to when you first started at Weymouth?
AW: That’s a good question. To be honest, this club has always been a sleeping giant. We had some very good times before I arrived and then we obviously had the bad times. My first day was a bit strange. I remember turning up at training and there were reports of bailiffs being around, I’m not sure how true that actually is. There is a massive difference between now and when I first joined. When I joined we were always fighting relegation and now we are consistently fighting for titles and winning promotion. The transition has been slow at times and there have been a lot of players that have come and gone but if you look now at the squad the boss has assembled, I mean you have good players that are out on loan that just can’t get into the Weymouth team because the squad is so good. If anyone has a bad game then there is always someone chomping at the bit ready to take your place. It has changed massively since I first joined in so many aspects.
BA: It is interesting because you are a local lad and have grown up with the club. Do you think that makes you more determined to do well for Weymouth?
AW: Yes definitely. I’ve always been a player that gives everything. I’ve watched Weymouth through my childhood and always been a fan so you do know how much it means to the people who are watching and the support is massive down there. When I used to watch and we had lost it does get you down and as a fan you are always on a high when you watch your team do well. I think being a fan does perhaps make you run that bit harder and it does make you want to do more when you are struggling.
BA: Do you think big characters coming into the dressing room does make a difference?
AW: Yes it’s huge. Just going back, I remember when Yetts (Stewart Yetton) came in, he was a huge character and someone who was so influential in the dressing room and also he was just a funny guy. I would say you do need a good balance. They need to be good characters but they also need to be good eggs. If you put the wrong mix in the dressing room then it can become a toxic environment. I do think the lads that the boss has brought in are a good bunch and they add their own qualities and we all help each other. It’s a good group and we all get on which is so important. Even in this period, we all still talk and help each other out in our group chat. We have a sensible group chat and a not so sensible group chat, let’s just say that!
BA: Lets talk about initiations, have you actually ever had one?
AW: If I’m honest, no I haven’t! I managed to avoid that because I’ve been here so long!
BA: Ok, that can be arranged, it’s long overdue! How much would you love to see Weymouth keep going up through the leagues?
AW: Yes I would love it! My partner has said to me that she wants me to be playing with my name on the back of my shirt and things like that so she’s keen! It’s a club that should be there and I mean you only need to look at the support, it’s always been a well supported club but if you just look at the numbers now, and they are still growing. As a team, when you look at the way we play, we should be up there and since the boss has come in we play football the right way. In his first full year we missed out in the playoffs, we’ve then won the league and unfortunately this season has been put on pause with us in a great position. There is no reason why we can’t keep going up there. Just look at the calibre of players and the setup here now. Look at Goodship who has gone on to football league. Players of other clubs do look at that and they know that Weymouth is a place where you can propel your career. I don’t see why we can’t be in the football league in a few years.
BA: I have noticed with the manager that he never sits still and he’s always, always striving for more. Does that motivate you more as players?
AW: Yes definitely. I think once you just become satisfied with where you are, that’s when you know that your career isn’t going anywhere and things start to become stagnant. Every player should stay hungry and you should always want to do better. At Weymouth, the boss and the coaches are always striving to improve. After a game and even if we’ve won, we are looking at what we can do to improve. We get clips sent to us about what we need to do. It is so professional! You’ve got people like Danny Webb putting together and sending the clips, people like Tom Prodomo is always happy to work with players even after training. You always have to do better and want to do better, otherwise you become irrelevant and fizzle out into the background.
BA: With the guests we’ve had in recent times, the recurring theme seems to be that you don’t realise how big of a club Weymouth are until you witness it. Do you think that can work in our favour?
AW: Sometimes I actually think it works against us. With respect to other teams, some of them just don’t have the stadium we’ve got, the support we’ve got, the facilities we’ve got and the setup we’ve got. That then probably means that they turn up here and because they aren’t used to playing in front of the big crowds, it gives them extra motivation to do well. I’ve seen opposition players take photos of the stadium on the pitch many times. Teams to get motivated more when they play at Weymouth. I’ve become used to how big the club is but some players might see it a bit more because they aren’t used to playing at places like ours, sometimes they play at places that don’t have nice pitches or even stands. I think also when you have lots of fans cheering you on, it does motivate you more.
BA: How did it feel signing dual forms with Dorchester Town? You are known as “Mr Weymouth” and loved by the fans. Did you feel like you could give everything for Dorchester or was it just about getting minutes under your belt?
AW: I always want to win and I’m a very passionate player so I can’t just go somewhere and not give my all. Obviously sometimes as a player you have to take tough decisions and I needed minutes and I needed to stay playing football at a good level in case something happened and Weymouth needed me. It was a tough decision and it was really hard to go there being Weymouth fan. I do think that it was made easier as we are a League above. I actually scored for them would you believe? Obviously it wasn’t my fondest experience but I needed to stay fit and relevant at a good level of football to help Weymouth.
BA: Do you have a message for the supporters? I know they all wish you well and they love you.
AW: Just thank you! Thank you so much for your messages to me and my partner when I was in hospital. Sorry if I haven’t replied to you all but it does mean so much! I want to thank everyone for everything. Ever since I’ve played for Weymouth you have been great. Stay safe during this difficult time and hopefully we are back at the Bob Lucas Stadium soon.
You can listen to Ash’s full interview on the website. He expands on some of his experiences at the club, his admiration for the volunteers and a special mention is given to Dave Tune.