EXCITING FUTURE: Weymouth boss Mark Molesley checks his watch. Picture: John Rose
By Hugo Varley
Mark Molesey reckons the ‘sleeping giant’ of Non-League football is about to awaken after eight years in the wilderness.
Since suffering back-to-back relegations between 2008 and 2010, Weymouth have been treading water in the Southern League at Step 3 with the odd mini flourish all too regularly petering out with a whimper.
But now, under the guidance of boss Molesley, a sense of optimism is rapidly spreading around the Bob Lucas Stadium and there are growing indications that the Dorset club may well be awaking from their slumber.
After narrowly missing out in the play-offs last season, the Terras once again find themselves locked in a tantalising title race – and Molesley believes this could be their year. “Things are certainly moving in the right direction both on and off the field at the moment,” the former AFC Bournemouth midfielder told The NLP.
“Financially the club is probably the most stable it has been in a long time and the fans are really beginning to get on board with what we are doing.
“When I took over, the average gates were about 450 and they have now increased to closer to 800, which has helped to create a superb atmosphere on match days.
“The fans have had 10 years of heartache, but they now have a group of players that will never stop battling and will give their absolute all for the badge.
“With the past few years in mind, there is perhaps an added sense of pressure because everyone is so desperate to see the club return to where it belongs. However it is important that as a group we stay calm and don’t get carried away with all of the emotion that is currently around the place.”
Last year, Weymouth fought it out in an extraordinary battle at the top of the Southern Premier, finishing in fifth position despite amassing 97 points.
Now with the Step 3 split in the Southern League, Molesley says this season has provided a different sort of challenge.
He added: “Last year I would say that every team who made it into the play-offs would have probably won the league in an ordinary season.
“We were up against four phenomenal sides in Kettering, Slough, King’s Lynn and Hereford but this year the division as a whole is a far better standard as the league is more evenly balanced.
“I know it’s an overused cliché, but there have honestly been no easy games this season and because we are a bit of a scalp at this level, teams seem to come firing out of the blocks when they are against us.”
Weymouth have once again been boosted by the prolific form of striker Brandon Goodship, who has followed up on last season’s tally of 38 goals to sit atop of the goal scoring charts again this year.
While Molesley is keen to stress that his side are far from a one-man team, he admits the 24-year-old is a vital part of the Terras’ promotion push.
“Brandon rightly gets a lot of plaudits because he scores so many fantastic goals for us, but this season has been a real team effort,” he said. “Hopefully he can continue to find the net and link into the brilliant built-up play that we have shown all season.
“We have a really exciting group of players here and the potential for future success is really exciting.”