Cherries: Molesley's impact came when the club needed it most

Bournemouth Echo: OFF-FIELD WORK: Mark Molesley presenting a signed ball to life-long Cherries fan Philip Young on the eve of his 99th birthday in 2010 OFF-FIELD WORK: Mark Molesley presenting a signed ball to life-long Cherries fan Philip Young on the eve of his 99th birthday in 2010

WHEN Mark Molesley made his debut on loan for Cherries against Shrewsbury in 2008, even his own team-mates didn’t think he would be around too long.

“He won’t last five minutes with a haircut like that,” one midfield wag quipped to the Echo’s reporters prior to the 4-1 defeat in Shropshire.

But as uncertainty and unpredictability heightened and reverse followed reverse, including arguably the club’s most embarrassing result of the past 10 years, the 1-0 defeat at Blyth Spartans in the FA Cup, Molesley was slowly starting to fall in love with the football club that, in his words this week, would make his dreams come true.

Two more defeats, against Brentford and Barnet, followed before 2008 became 2009 and Jimmy Quinn was replaced by Eddie Howe.

Despite the change in manager, though, Molesley’s future was never in doubt. He was exactly the sort of player Howe needed to turn around Cherries’ fortunes. They had been handed a 17 point deduction for failing to exit administration in accordance with league rules and were cut adrift at the bottom of League Two.

A purposeful, pulverant, yet infectious character, Molesley played every game like it would be his last that season. Howe already had a former window fitter in midfield in Marvin Bartley. When he signed Molesley permanently in January 2009, he was adding a former kitchen fitter, college lecturer and postman to his ranks.

But as Molesley had said in an interview after the Shrewsbury match, he would have run from Grays to sign at Dean Court if he had needed to. A shot at the pro game was his vision. Cherries got the benefit when they needed it most.

Molesley went on to score four goals as Howe’s braves incredibly held on to their league status that year, with his injury-time winner at Dagenham & Redbridge in February sparking the kind of scenes usually reserved for Steve Fletcher goals against Grimsby.

In many ways, Molesley perfectly encompassed the spirit Howe created during that extraordinary campaign and his departure for Exeter this week illustrated the change at Dean Court over the past 12 months.

Rather than having become surplus to requirements, AFC Bournemouth, in League One and bankrolled by Maxim Demin, had simply outgrown Mark Molesley.

But while memories of many players tend to slip into the grainy matter at the backs of supporters’ minds soon after they leave, Molesley should be remembered fondly and with a huge debt of gratitude. After all, the chain reaction relegation in 2008-09 would have sparked could have sounded the death knell for the club.

A hard worker off the pitch as well as on it, the Echo’s electronic picture library boasts dozens of shots of Molesley promoting the club in schools and raising money for charity, as well as making those trademark marauding runs in red and black.

A true ambassador, the majority of Molesley’s selfless work in the community was done while carrying the burden of potentially career threatening injuries.

Often dubbed a “s*** Robbie Savage” by opposing supporters due to his blonde locks, Molesley was anything but over the past four years at Dean Court.

He was just Mark Molesley.

Comments (9)

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8:42pm Sat 19 Jan 13

bollybear says...

Good write up,Neil. He had a genuine love of the Club and always gave 100%.Often the most popular players are not the best-but they are loved because they give everything for the cause.. Hope he comes back in a few years.
Good write up,Neil. He had a genuine love of the Club and always gave 100%.Often the most popular players are not the best-but they are loved because they give everything for the cause.. Hope he comes back in a few years. bollybear

9:54pm Sat 19 Jan 13

N Smith says...

Good luck Mark it was a pleasure to watch you play.Great player who never let the fans down.
Good luck Mark it was a pleasure to watch you play.Great player who never let the fans down. N Smith

10:17pm Sat 19 Jan 13

lionheart says...

Good luck Mark.

I recall your foot injury was made worse by having to have injections so you could play as we were under the Football League transfer embargo at the time.
Good luck Mark. I recall your foot injury was made worse by having to have injections so you could play as we were under the Football League transfer embargo at the time. lionheart

10:18pm Sat 19 Jan 13

r&bman says...

Thanks Mark for your efforts and devotion to the cause . Good luck for the future in Devon,at my second favourite club.
Thanks Mark for your efforts and devotion to the cause . Good luck for the future in Devon,at my second favourite club. r&bman

10:01am Sun 20 Jan 13

Talkingheadera says...

You'll be missed mark.
A 100% player with a great eye for goal.
A rarity.
You'll be missed mark. A 100% player with a great eye for goal. A rarity. Talkingheadera

4:39pm Sun 20 Jan 13

bigfatsteve says...

Thanks and good luck for the future Mark, hopefully the remainder of your career can remain injury free. It was a pleasure witnessing you play for the club and I'm sure you'll take many good memories with you.
Thanks and good luck for the future Mark, hopefully the remainder of your career can remain injury free. It was a pleasure witnessing you play for the club and I'm sure you'll take many good memories with you. bigfatsteve

6:30am Mon 21 Jan 13

STEADY EDDIE 1 for the road says...

Mark was undoubtably one of my top 5 players to appear in the red & black of Bournemouth over the past 30 years. Not necessarily the most cultured of players, but for pure endevour he could not be faulted. Will always remember his energetic displays in midfielder, made me tired just watching him. All the very best to Mark at Exeter, they are lucky to have him. Always a legend at AFCB.
Mark was undoubtably one of my top 5 players to appear in the red & black of Bournemouth over the past 30 years. Not necessarily the most cultured of players, but for pure endevour he could not be faulted. Will always remember his energetic displays in midfielder, made me tired just watching him. All the very best to Mark at Exeter, they are lucky to have him. Always a legend at AFCB. STEADY EDDIE 1 for the road

12:39pm Mon 21 Jan 13

onken cherry says...

I was at Dagenham the night of MM's last minute goal. We were under the cosh most of the game and when he received the ball from Jason Tindall, I fully expected him to take the ball into the corner and run the clock down for a well earned point. Instead he found some energy from somewhere, took on the defender and curled in a shot. I think Grimsby lost that night as well making it even better!
I was at Dagenham the night of MM's last minute goal. We were under the cosh most of the game and when he received the ball from Jason Tindall, I fully expected him to take the ball into the corner and run the clock down for a well earned point. Instead he found some energy from somewhere, took on the defender and curled in a shot. I think Grimsby lost that night as well making it even better! onken cherry

3:52pm Mon 21 Jan 13

mark.s says...

I'll never forget that goal away at Dagenham on that cold night, a massive moment in this club's history to give us a fighting chance of staying up.

I don't think I've witnessed any AFCB goal celebrated quite that madly. Amazing scenes.

Moles will remain one of my favourite AFCB players of modern times thanks to that and his efforts throughout that campaign.

All the best, Mark.
I'll never forget that goal away at Dagenham on that cold night, a massive moment in this club's history to give us a fighting chance of staying up. I don't think I've witnessed any AFCB goal celebrated quite that madly. Amazing scenes. Moles will remain one of my favourite AFCB players of modern times thanks to that and his efforts throughout that campaign. All the best, Mark. mark.s

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