Convicted Football hooligan will be playing in the football league next year.
FROM being jailed in 2011 after being found guilty following an outbreak of football hooliganism between Brentford and Leyton Orient fans, the turn around in the life of new Stevenage signing Dean Wells could not be more acute.
The 29-year-old defender, signed by Boro boss Graham Westley for £25,000 from Conference Premier side Braintree earlier this month, will get his first taste of being a professional footballer in the Football League next term.
It’s a far cry to 2010 when he was arrested by police and subsequently charged with affray after a fracas between the West London club he grew up supporting, and their London rivals outside Liverpool Street Station.
Central defender Wells, the captain of non-league Hampton & Richmond Borough at the time of the incident, was jailed for a year in May 2011.
With arguably only a few years left at the top level of the game, Wells is eager to make every second count in League Two next season, as Westley’s new-look team look to bounce straight back up to League One, following their relegation.
Wells said: “It’s going to be exciting. Doing something I love full-time is going to be a great experience. I don’t think it will be a massive step up in fitness necessarily because I keep myself ticking over outside of football. I will get physically fitter and stronger because I’ll be training every day and there’s weights on site and things like that, so it’ll be good.
“The squad that the manager is assembling is decent and I definitely think we’re going to have a chance. He knows League Two inside out so there’s definitely a good chance of at least making the play-offs.
“It’s good, they’ve been out of non-league for a few years, they’ve earned their place in the Football League. They’ve gone up before and everyone wants to get back into League One again so that’s the challenge. I don’t know where this move could take me.”
Former West Ham legend Alan Devonshire, who was manager at Hampton, swiftly signed Wells after being appointed boss at The Iron three years ago.
The defender has earned rave reviews as the Essex club have more than held their own in the fifth tier of football.
He served half of a one-year jail term.
“I started at Brentford and through my stupidity I threw it away. Now I’m older and wiser and I think I still I have a lot to offer,” said Wells, who is giving up a part-time job as a school caretaker.
The Londoner was sad to be breaking his long-term relationship with Devonshire, but knows this is an important career move.
“I had a little tear in my eye when it kicked in that I wasn’t going to be working with him,” he added.
“I had to do it for my own point of view and my family. I know everyone at Braintree will understand.”
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