Braintree Town’s Dean Wells handed Football League chance by Stevenage, 10 years after being released by Brentford
- Credit: Archant
Never say never! Dean Wells thought that his chances of pursing a dream career as a professional footballer were over, when he was ditched by Brentford in 2004.
But 10 years on and Wells has finally been given a second chance – by League Two club Stevenage.
Centre-half Wells has been a mainstay of Braintree Town’s defence in the Conference, since the Essex minnows clinched promotion to the fifth tier for the first time in their history in 2011.
Wells held down a full-time job as a school-caretaker (in his home town of Isleworth), while playing for Braintree, one of only a handful of part-time clubs in the Conference – in fact, he has been a school-caretaker for the last decade, ever since he blew his first chance of football stardom.
“I thought that I had made it, as a YTS lad at Brentford. I made one appearance for the first team, but basically I was always going out drinking after that. I was very naive, and I never put the work in,” admitted Wells.
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“I never thought that I would get a second chance, to play in the Football League, but it will be different this time. I have changed my ways now, have a different lifestyle with a family. I don’t go out drinking anymore. I know that I will have to knuckle down and fight for my place, because I’m not the only centre-half at Stevenage!” added Wells.
The low point for Wells, who signed for Hampton & Richmond Borough following his release from Brentford, was receiving a 12-month prison sentence for a charge of affray, following his involvement in a mass-brawl between rival Brentford and Leyton Orient fans in 2010. He served five months of that sentence.
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But the 29-year-old has since turned his life around, making 110 league appearances for Braintree before completing a move to Stevenage last Friday in a £25,000 deal.
“I’m so grateful to Braintree, and manager Alan Devonshire, for having faith in me. I couldn’t have done it without them, or the Braintree fans. First time around, I was in the game for all the wrong reasons, but this is now a big chance for me.
“The deal dragged on a little, but I hung on in there. Other clubs were interested, in League Two and the Conference, “ added Wells, who has signed a one-year contract.