Released by Brentford at the age of 19 after making just one appearance, Dean Wells' 10-year journey back to The Football League has been long, eventful one.
After leaving the Bees, Wells signed for non-league Hampton and Richmond Borough, who were managed by Alan Devonshire, and made over 300 appearances, winning promotion to the Conference South during his time with the club.
Then, after a prison sentence and a short spell with Staines Town following his release, Devonshire signed Wells again, this time for Conference Premier Braintree Town in November 2011.
In three successful seasons with the Iron, he played over 100 times whilst combining part-time football with a job as a school caretaker.
His outstanding form during 2013/14 reportedly caught the attention of several League clubs but it was Graham Westley's Stevenage who secured his services for a sum of £25,000.
Westley has signed an experienced defender who will be hungry to impress in full-time football back in The League.
"When this chance arose, it turned my life upside down" - Click here to read BBC Essex's interview with Dean Wells
On signing the 29-year-old, Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace told stevenagefc.com
: "He continually impressed our Head of Recruitment and Graham Westley during last season and he has the enthusiasm, desire and determination to win.
"He wants his chance. Graham led the cause to secure Dean and made it possible by his refusal to let the deal fall through, so he deserves great credit for that."
Wells isn't the only player joining Stevenage from the non-league ranks for the upcoming season with exciting winger Tom Pett signing from Wealdstone and striker Adam Marriot transferring from Cambridge City after bagging 43 goals last term.
Boss Westley has also brought Ronnie Henry and Chris Beardsley back to Stevenage, from Luton Town and Preston North End respectively.
Other incomings at the Lamex Stadium include Charlie Lee, Chris Whelpdale, Simon Walton, Calvin Zola and Harry Worley in what has been a busy close-season of recruitment as the club aim to rebuild following relegation from Sky Bet League 1 last time around.
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