Goalkeeper Ashley Bayes had three seasons with Exeter City in what proved to be a lengthy playing and coaching career. He arrived from Torquay United and moved on to Leyton Orient.
Ashley began his career as an apprentice at Brentford where he won international honours for England at youth level. He made his league debut against Preston North End in March 1990 earning a full contract two months later. Ashley then moved to Torquay United in August 1993 where his senior career took off as he became the Gulls regular keeper including playing in the play-offs against Preston North End.
After 97 games for Torquay, Ashley moved on a free transfer to Exeter City in July 1996 making his Grecians debut on 17 August 1996 against Mansfield Town. Ashley’s performances at St James Park earned him the 1998-99 club Player of the Year award but at the end of that season, after 127 league games, he turned down a new two-year contract to join Leyton Orient in July 1999.
After 72 league appearances Ashley left Orient on a free transfer joining Irish side Bohemians in June 2002 where he was to win a League of Ireland championship medal. He then returned to England in March 2003 to sign for Woking at the start of what was to be a long non-league career. After a brief stay at Hornchurch, which ended prematurely because of the club’s financial problems, Ashley moved on to Grays Athletic with whom he won the FA Trophy in both 2005 and 2006. After leaving Grays in 2007 Ashley was linked with a return move to Exeter but ended up signing for Crawley Town and later Stevenage with whom he played until June 2011. Ashley then moved into coaching firstly with Aldershot - whilst playing with Basingstoke - and later, from June 2013, with AFC Wimbledon with whom he remained in 2022/23 when former AFC Wimbledon ‘keeper Zaki Oualah told the South London Press:
“I know everybody says it, but I don’t think they really realise how lucky they are to have him – not just as a goalkeeper coach, but also as a person and with the standards he sets and his daily habits. He’s vital for that club.”
League 127; Cups 18 (145)