William Wells appeared for Exeter City’s first-team as both a goalkeeper and an outfield player in the Plymouth and District League in the years before the club turned professional in 1908.
He made his league debut, as a full-back, against the Devon and Cornwall Light Infantry on 6 October 1906 as he went on to appear in 23 of the 24 games in 1906/07. Nicknamed ‘Bunker’, he made 25 appearances during the following season: the first five as an outfield player, the remainder in goal.
In keeping with nearly all of his team mates he did not turn professional with the reconstituted club in 1908 although he did continue to appear for the reserves for several more seasons.
He played alongside his brother Teddy Wells on a number of occasions between 1906 and 1908. The 1911 census lists Teddy (32) and William (26) as tin plate workers with Willey’s the gas meter manufacturer in Exeter. Both were born in Worcester where they had been living at the time of the 1901 census. Each would be an example of how the club was changing from the original St Sidwell’s United that had been based around a group of school friends.