Nicky Ajose’s career has gone in a very different direction since leaving Charlton Athletic in the summer of 2019.
The 30-year-old had two loan spells away from the club with Bury and Mansfield Town before his expected departure led him to Exeter City.
Having struggled to really make his mark in the fourth tier Ajose has began pursuing a coaching career.
Ajose scored six goals and assisted four in just 25 outings over two seasons and was let go at the end of his contract last summer. A formal retirement announcement has not been issued but it feels assumed as he has stepped into a coaching role with the Grecians’ esteemed youth setup.
From playing a part in the Addicks’ unsuccessful play-off campaign in 2017/18 to halting his playing career just three campaigns later Ajose has a great depth of experience in looking to find the next Ollie Watkins or Ethan Ampadu in the South West of England.
Ajose will be remembered at The Valley for scoring the only goal of the game in a famous 1-0 win at Portsmouth towards the end of the 2017/18 season that took the South Londoners close to sealing a top six finish. It was a move that not work out for both parties but one that came about in difficult circumstances with the striker signed by Russell Slade before then falling out of favour under Karl Robinson and Lee Bowyer.
Quiz: Have any of these 30 ex-Charlton Athletic players ever played abroad?
Ajose had clearly been considering stepping into coaching for a while and therefore taking the leap of faith at the age of just 30 is admirable, when he could have probably found a National League side to join and prolong his playing career.