Well what a season !!!
After a relatively successful second season back in the Ryman South Div. 1 after a 7 year absence, we began our third Pre-Season at the end of June where fortunately I was able to retain the services of the ever loyal players: Liam Allen our goalkeeper, Captain Craig Lewington, Vice Captain Ross Chalke, Ashley Lodge, Ryan David, Ashby Charles, Joe Pratley-Jones, Dre Grobler, Darius Heravi, Ato Okai after a bad injury, Ronny Sobowale, Jordan Smith who all remained at Molesey.
With the knowledge of the previous season's experience and of the above named players staying, I felt I had to bring in more experienced Level 4 players to make us stronger in certain positions for example centre back Antonio Simeone from Tooting & Mitcham who I had been after for 2 seasons, centre back Rhys Paul previously at Walton Casuals who I signed near the end of last season, ex: Staines striker Olu Akinsanya who I knew when Olu played for Staines Youth.
It has taken time and patience to gradually re-build the squad and re-structure the club in general however, this is a 3 year project so I was up beat when the new signings agreed terms and came on board believing we would give a good account of ourselves this season. Pre-season went very well where we remained unbeaten in our friendlies against higher opposition, so I went into the season full of confidence, infact being unbeaten in our first 2 games we were 4th in the league !!! But football has a habit of biting us back on the backside and so was the case as the season progressed.
Its been tough going I must admit and not that enjoyable, but its a good sign that when a club like Molesey can attract quality players this means we must be doing something right, yet like every season, eventually the vultures come flying in with 7 day approaches, of which we have had 10 this season, it becomes heartbreaking that all the effort put in goes to waste when other clubs offer better deals and players leave us as we have experienced this season. As i have expressed in one of our earlier programmes, Molesey are unfortunately a ''feeder'' club to other better financial clubs who offer players better packages and until anything changes this remain the case, but this is relative at all the different levels both in professional and non-league football. However, once the season is well under way, players are not so freely available as they are in close season which makes the task even more difficuilt to attract players to the club with its limited resources.
I am not going to lie, its been hard, in more ways than one with other outside influential matters, but people who know me, will know my feelings and views regarding ntyhe Club and ''loyalty'', it's a strong word and perhaps I'm ''Old school'' as they say, but it is the way I am. I know I keep repeating myself, but loyalty is a rare commodity nowadays with players, but having said that, this club can hold their head high !!! This is my 17th season in Molesey Management and am proud to say that within those 17 years (seasons) we have had 20 Centurions and 8 Double Centurions, a 250 appearances, and Chalky making his 300th appearance on Thursday against South Park, this alone must say something about our club Molesey FC. These stats mean so much to me, it shows that the effort of the management team and the club as a whole that we must be doing something right, as we have a very small budget yet players stay with this Family oriented and child friendly club, accompanied by hard working volunteers to make this club what it is, so my heart felt thank you goes to all those unsung heros, you know who you are and to name a few: Mark, Zoe, Louise, Debbie, Libby, Jenny, Nicola, Niall, Rob, Janet, Katherine, Andy, Ross, John, Katie, Chloe, John our webmaster, Finchy our match reporter, if I've missed anyone I apologise.
I know only too well that some of our performances have been dire for example Aylesbury away, VCD away, Thamesmead away, accompanied by many late goals we conceded such as Guernsey away and Shoreham at home and just this week my worst feeling losing in the Southern Combination Cup to Staines Lammas when we had a good chance of winning some silverware for the club, that game was probably the lowest I felt in a diffucult season, all very frustrating and annoying to watch, yet our supporters still come to watch and cheer the lads on irrespective, and for that I am very grateful whilst apologising for those poor performances. I know full well that other clubs supporters would not be so ''giving'' therefore, I appreciate and respect your understanding knowing our circumstances. However, there were a few bright shinings such as our opening game against Horsham, beating the likes Hastings at home, 3 tight loses against Walton Casuals, win at home against Chipstead and many close encounters where we have drawn 12 this season and with a bit of luck could have turned these into wins, so I don't not think we are too far away and hope that next season we can bring a few more smiles to peoples faces.
This season the club decided to withdraw their Youth set-up and introduce the U23 Developemnt squad brilliantly managed by Vik and ably assisted by Sean. I was pleased to retain the services of Dick our ever faithful 'Doctor Death' at the club however, it also saw the departure of coach Adrian Brown and Dwight Lewis replaced by Ahmet Akdag who was an 'A' Licence level coach who has been a breath if fresh air with his enthusiasm and coaching ideas. So to the complete management team, I know it's been tough going for you all, but again we never gave in and tackled whatever came before us. I must commend you all,
Again, the same must be said for Sean and Vik who in my opinion has the hardest job in managing the Reserves, trying to integrate reserve team players to the 1st team which he has yet again accomplished with aplomb this season. It is not easy, yet Sean never complains and just gets on with the job in hand, although I know he is seething with me at times !!!!
As I have already mentioned in our dressing room, a massive thanks goes to ALL the players, especially those who worked hard in maintaining our Isthmian status although could be Southern League for next season, this was our brief and goal which we achieved... just, so my hat comes off to you all, and whilst I know you have been frustrated, we just brushed ourselves down and went again...that is all I can ask of you all.
Now an important message to our Captain and Vice-Captain Craig and Ross who have been a great help as my allies, always there when needed and true to their titles helping beyond the call of duty, I will never forget what you two have done for me this season, with you both listening and standing by me is so appreciated.
So finally, but certainly not least our Chairlady Tracy. With players coming and going I knew it was going to be an up hill task especially with our small budget, and it has proved to be the case, very challenging and demanding, but irrespective, no matter how bad things got both in and out of football she has always supportive and had belief in me when times were really hard and with pressures of results alternative decisions could have been made.
Tracy has always had my back and stood by me even when we were going though bad times. She was always positive and had the belief we would achieve our goal albeit with a bit of luck. Along with the stress and pressures of the job, I know I'm not the easiest to work with and it can be said vise-versa as we have had our moments, but we both knew what we had to achieve, so she had faith and believed in me when others doubted, and kept encouraging me and for that I will always be extremely grateful.
Enjoy the resr and we now look forward to another challenging season.
Meanwhile thank you all, enjoy the game and our club's amenities.
Togetherness is our strength !