FORMER Hereford United striker Ian Wells has died at the age of 48.

Wells, a tall, powerfully-built striker was one of John Newman’s summer signings prior to the 1985-6 season and joined the Bulls from West Midlands League side Harrisons.

He arrived to back up the strike force of Stewart Phillips and Ollie Kearns but injuries to the first-choice duo gave him plenty of opportunities during his first season.

He made his Bulls debut in the home match against Burnley on September 14, scoring the opening goal in a 2-2 draw.

Another followed in his second appearance, a 1-1 draw at Stockport County.

But one of the goals for which he is mostly fondly remembered came a month later at Highbury, when he headed home Jimmy Harvey’s cross as the Bulls suffered an extra-time defeat by Arsenal in the Football League Cup.

Ian’s brother David also recalled a goal that Ian scored against Wolverhampton Wanderers, his home-town club, as United beat the Midlanders, who were managed at the time by Graham Turner, 2-0 at Edgar Street.

“That caused real upset among our friends and relatives at the time as they were staunch Wolves fans,” he said.

Bulls physio Ian Rodgerson remembered his former playing colleague as a ‘good player’.

“We signed on for Hereford at the same time and I was really shocked to hear of Ian’s death,” said Rodgerson.

“For a big lad, he had a good touch and he was decent with the ball around his feet. He was a good player.”

Ian Wells finished the 1985-6 season with a creditable return of nine league goals from 32 starts and he added a further three strikes in 15 starts the following campaign.

Injuries, however, were taking their toll and he left the full-time game at the end of the season.

A short spell at Gresley Rovers was also ended by injury and he had to content himself with Sunday League football.

He turned out for Marston Sports and helped them to an FA Sunday Cup final at the Hawthorns, which ended in defeat. Wells moved into the licensed trade and managed a number of pubs in the Midlands.

After a five-year spell in Lichfield, he moved to Zante where he had lived for the last five years.

Ian Wells leaves two sons, Aidan and Samuel.