MID-TABLE obscurity. It feels good, right?

Sorry, Weymouth fans. Maybe not good, comfortable.

Certainly, the 2023/24 season was a vast improvement on the two previous campaigns which were dominated by a drop from the National League and the subsequent ‘Great Escape’ 12 months later.

Weymouth might not have always played brilliantly but were they harder to beat? Absolutely.

With 17 draws in 46 games, only Welling United (18) recorded more.

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The same two clubs, along with Tonbridge, only chalked up 16 losses. The joint-best of any club outside the National League South top 10.

Let’s compare that to the previous campaign when Bobby Wilkinson’s men stayed up on goal difference alone.

Weymouth are eight points better off, banked 11 more points courtesy of draws and also lost 10 games fewer on their way to finishing in 15th.

The last metric is key. Wilkinson’s all-action style was unmistakably hustle and bustle football and a proposition unrelished by a healthy portion of sides in their division.

Some fans may not have liked it, but given the Terras’ budget and geographical location in which to pull in players, it was necessary.

Wilkinson more often than not got his tactics spot on, too.

There were masterclass away wins at Aveley, Taunton and Weston-super-Mare, mixed with fewer of the truly poor days such as the 5-1 thrashing by Bath.

In fact, that result proved a line in the sand for Wilkinson. It made him determined to take a different development path with his squad.

The match immediately afterwards, in which some fans were banned by the club following their behaviour at Farnborough, just hardened his mentality even further.

From the Christmas period into February, Weymouth lost only once and constructed a four-game winning streak.

There were memorable late comebacks against Weston and Hemel to salvage a point and steal all three respectively.

Yet suddenly, by late March, Wilkinson was gone. Neither he nor Weymouth have offered an explanation as to why, although he soon ended up at Hemel before the season ended.

Step forward Mark Molesley.

Dorset Echo: Mark Molesley was unveiled as Weymouth manager before the Yeovil derbyMark Molesley was unveiled as Weymouth manager before the Yeovil derby (Image: MARK PROBIN)

After two excellent performances under interim boss Jason Matthews, including that long-awaited win against Yeovil (yes, it will go down as a W in the record books), the Terras turned to an icon of old.

Molesley was afforded a grand unveiling in front of nearly 5,000 spectators in the Yeovil derby.

In reality, though, the timing of his arrival was borderline cruel.

Four mammoth away trips in succession mixed with a hefty injury list meant Molesley could not tune his inherited squad on the training ground.

That’s tantamount to forbidding a child to use their new toy until the following summer.

As a result, Weymouth had budgeted for a difficult run-in.

The Terras’ board was safe in the knowledge that the Yeovil win, handed to Weymouth after an abandonment for a medical emergency, meant the club was safe from the drop.

However, Molesley went 485 minutes, including the 2020 National League South promotion final, without a goal and did not take a victory in his five games in charge.

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There was also an abject second half in the 2-1 loss to 10-man Farnborough as a depleted Weymouth side, flush with players stationed out of position and heavy-legged from their four away days, ran out of steam.

As Molesley put it, the Terras had 45 minutes too far.

So, with his “assessment mode” over, he must be hungry to build a squad of his own?

“It’s been frustrating not having any training time but I’m looking forward to getting the group together as quick as we can and getting to work,” he told Echosport.

“I’m definitely excited and enthused by the challenge, I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’m gutted and disappointed with the second half (against Farnborough) but they can be forgiven for that.

“You can’t let 45 minutes judge a whole season. The lads have been fantastic. We were completely out on our feet, players playing in unnatural positions.

“We’ve been with them three weeks now, we had enough games and so we’ve learned a lot about the players. They’ve done fantastically well.”

While Molesley’s season lasted only five of 46 league games, it would be unfair to ask for his assessment of the Terras’ campaign.

One continuous presence, however, has been that of chairman Paul Maitland.

“After the previous couple of seasons, it was nice to be able to assess the squad,” he said.

“The squad has given us absolutely everything over the course of the season and those last few games were hard. It was very much about who was fit and who wasn’t.

“Since Christmas it just feels like it’s been absolutely relentless. It certainly took its toll towards the end.

“Our run-in wasn’t as bad as other teams and you have to credit them for the way they managed it.

“On the whole, we finished higher up the table with more points, so that’s reasonable progression.

“Now we’ve got to look forward to what the next phase of the progression looks like.”

And what of Weymouth’s next phase, with a clean slate for Molesley?

“I think like any manager, you have a thought process of what you’re inheriting,” Maitland said.

“He has been pleasantly surprised by what he’s walked into. They’re incredibly close as a group, that’s something you don’t want to tear up and throw away.

“Of course, he’ll want to put his own mark on the team.

“He’s obviously gone away and managed in the League and at National League level.

“He’s a more rounded manager than when it was his first job. Will we be the out-and-out footballing team we were before?

“I think we’ll be a version of it.

“This league is robust, tough and demanding. At times, you maybe have to sacrifice some of what you want to do to ensure you get the result you need.

“I’ve been impressed with some of the things he’s done since he’s come back in that were different from before. That shows clear development in him as a manager.

“I’ve also set out to him, as have the board, what our expectations are.

“I know there’s been clamour that him and I are friends. This is business and friendships mean nothing.

“It’s about producing and expectations against the KPIs. There’s no easy ride for Mark because him and I have previous history together.

“It’s something he and I have spoken in depth about before we went down this route again.

“There’s a lot of people saying: ‘Should you go back?’

“My answer to that is quite simple. You have to create a new version of what you want to be.

“Now it’s about the future. How we create that is the biggest challenge. He’s working extremely hard now the season’s finished to put together what next season’s going to look like.

“There’s been a lot of work both on and off the pitch to try and have more progression next season. What that looks like, only time will tell.”

It will be fascinating to see how Molesley will get on next season.

By the sounds coming from the board, Weymouth may well be after a little more than middle-of-the-road stuff.

The good thing for Mark Molesley is that he has never finished outside a play-off position as Weymouth manager.

Mid-table obscurity come next April? It feels bad, right?