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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

NEW SIGNING: Luke Ayling in profile

Luke Ayling made the short journey up the M5 earlier this month, joining Steve Cotterill’s mini summer revolution at Ashton Gate and at the same time ending Brendan Moloney’s relatively short stay in BS3. Ayling was one of Yeovil’s better performers in their ultimately unsuccessful first season in the Championship, but he’s made the move in an apparent attempt to bounce back at the first attempt.
Yeovil fan and soon-to-be-married (to a ‘Dirty Leeds’ fan) Ben Barrett gave us this insight on a Huish Park hero who served his time well in Somerset.

“When Yeovil Town fans favourite Luke Ayling left to join Bristol City this week, to say I had mixed feelings would be an understatement.

Let’s get the rivalry bit out of the way, City are a rival, have been for a while, and for as long as the blue half of your city are pottering about in non-league always will be.  Not just geographically, but also, both sides have ambitions to be at the top of League One this season, so yes, losing Luke to you stings, just a little bit.

However, there’s respect there, he deserves his chance to be at a – and I hate this term – “big” club, honestly, just about anyone is “bigger” than Yeovil.

Luke is a versatile defender comfortable at full back, centre half or in the middle of the park.  He was our longest serving player and one of the fans’ favourites.  As the song goes, he was the “love of our life”… we’d even let him “meet” (hey, this is a family blog) our wives and a part me of does “want long hair too”.

What we loved about was the fact that he cared, he cared more than most. Not always the most technically gifted player, can be found out aerially, can be a little bit flat footed against pace and has found himself out of position once or twice.  But every time he pulled on the shirt he really cared, about his performance, about how we felt in the stands… about Yeovil.

An upbringing at Arsenal alongside Jack Wilshere probably does that to you.

Two years ago, when it seemed the whole side were ready to leave, he along with Ed Upson and a couple others signed up one more time, it was a signal of intent, a signal that Yeovil weren’t just a stepping stone, we were an option for success.

The result was the finest season in our club’s history, Luke was a massive part of that and that’s how I’ll remember him.

Don’t expect many goals; over 160 games and just the three goals, all of which scored in the last 12 months.  One in an extraordinary cup tie against Birmingham, a last ditch equaliser against Wigan and a consolation against Middlesbrough on the final day of the season.

Bristol City have got themselves a Championship defender, one we didn’t want to lose, especially to a rival.

Luke goes with my biggest admiration; I’ll overlook the red and white… well, until Boxing Day at least!”

My thanks to Ben for this – you can follow him on Twitter here (https://twitter.com/benbarrett10) and he also has his own sports writing website which you can click through to here: http://barrettsportswriting.webs.com/

The Exiled Robin

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