Weymouth chief Mark Molesley saw the play-off hopes of his side rekindled this week, while thanking rival managers as the National League made a ‘big u-turn’, writes Gareth Davies.
Initially, it appeared that play-offs would only take place at step one, but after vociferous criticism from Havant boss Paul Doswell and his Dorking counterpart Marc White, the league changed tact.
With Weymouth finishing the league season in third place using an unweighted points-per-game system, they go straight through to the semi-final stage where they will await either Bath City or Dorking as those two sides will face-off at Twerton Park.
Speaking exclusively to The Independent this week, Molseley said: “It’s a big u-turn so at this moment in time, I’ve got to hold my hat out to them because they’ve seen sense. But the fact there has been such a big u-turn means they didn’t get it right in the first place.
“It is an unprecedented situation where not everybody is going to be happy – whatever you decide.
“I will try and be diplomatic about the whole thing but if it wasn’t for the work of Paul Doswell and Marc White, who fought for our right to play these play-offs, they might have not gone ahead.
“York City did a lot of good things too and after speaking with other managers we were all unanimous in wanting to play these play-offs.
“We just wanted to be treated the same as all the National League clubs. We are all part of the National League, with the North and South clubs deserving to be treated so.
“We didn’t want be cast adrift and perhaps that was because clubs like us didn’t fit in with what the league above wanted to do.”
The popular Terras boss, who combines his role at the Bob Lucas Stadium with coaching at Premier League side AFC Bournemouth, felt that ending the season without play-offs would have been unjust.
“There is so much hard work, along with blood, sweat and tears that has gone into the season for all clubs,” he added. “We have to keep the integrity of the competition and we have to fall in line with the FA as well.
“There are some big clubs in the National League South, big players and big budgets with a lot invested.
“Just to be cast aside like we were initially was bitterly disappointing, but I am glad that everyone has seen sense.
“The games behind closed doors and the lack of preperatio will be tough, but it’s just the same for all the rest. We have to make sure we’re ready and in the current climate, we’re delighted that we get the chance to play in the play-offs.”