Molesey coming back into the light
Rising from the dead: Joe Grant gets up against the Croydon defence on Saturday - only the club's second home game of the season
It is not so much phoenix from the flames as moles emerging from the darkness, but Molesey are on their way back.
The Combined Counties League Premier Division club were on the brink of extinction at the start of 2012 under the weight of spiralling historic debts.
But proposals for a 20-home housing devlopment – in association with Rushmon Homes – at their Walton Road home were rubberstamped by Elmbridge Council’s planning department in March, seemingly preserving the 59-year-old club’s future.
Boss Steve Webb, one of Molesey’s longest serving managers since taking over from Steve Beeks in 2007, had to play the club’s opening competitive fixtures away from home as the club prepared to move its first team pitch prior to the sale of land to Rushmon.
But legal issues have meant the deal has taken longer to go through than anticipated, and the Moles are back at home giving the club’s prospects of on-field success a shot in the arm.
Despite losing their first game back on familiar territory 2-1 to Hanworth Villa last Tuesday, goals from Tom Windsor, Joe Grant, Lewis Ackerman (2) and captain Luke Elliott secured a 5-1 win over Croydon on Saturday.
Injuries cost Molesey, who have hardly set their league alight since relegation in 2007, a title shot when they finished third in 2011.
But Webb, whose team are sixth in table, was confident that would not happen this time now he has assembled what has been described as his strongest ever squad.
“Losing two important players to injury in the past two months, two seasons ago cost us,” he said ahead of this week’s visit of Cove.
“People are saying it is the strongest squad I’ve ever had. We could lose two players and the replacements would be as good. The problem will be keeping hold of them if they are not playing.
“Playing away from home all the time was difficult with all the logistics of getting to games. It could not continue.
“The pitch had been due to be moved, but that has not happened and we had no option but to get the old pitch prepared again. Being back at home should make a big difference.”
Chairman Tracy Teague added: “The deal will go through and building work should start at the end of October, but we won’t be moving the pitch until the end of the season now because we do not want to rush things.”