LIONEL Messi famously once said: “You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.”

For the past three years, Mark Molesley has sacrificed an incredible amount of time to balance two jobs, with his passion for football at the forefront of his success.

As well as assisting Shaun Cooper in Cherries’ under-21 set-up, the 39-year-old also took on the challenge of restoring non-league Weymouth back to their former glories as manager at Bob Lucas Stadium.

Having taken the job with the Terras back in April 2017, Molesley has piloted the club to the Southern League title, the Southern League Shield and a Dorset Senior Cup throughout his glittering start to life in management.

He is now aiming to make his next dream a reality, when he prepares his side, which includes four of Cherries’ rising young stars, to host Dartford in the National South play-off final tomorrow (1pm).

But how would the popular Cherries favourite describe his managerial journey so far?

“It’s been a steep learning curve for me,” he told the Daily Echo.

“I am surrounded by so many fantastic people at Bournemouth, who I have learned so much from – and now I am drawing on my own experiences.

“I’m three years in the hotseat now and in my third season. I have enjoyed every minute of it.

“It’s been a lot of hard work but enjoyable work and I am indebted to my mentors and the people around me that I have learned so much from (at Cherries).

“I am also indebted to my wonderful staff at Weymouth. They say surround yourself with people who have the same mission, drive and mentality and I have certainly done that.

“The staff and the players have helped take the club from mid-table obscurity in the Southern Premier League to the cusp of another promotion.

“It’s been a fantastic story but it’s not done yet.

“People probably laughed at us for having those dreams but it just shows you hard work, attention to detail and a real belief in what you are doing, the sky’s the limit.

“That process and mindset has served us well so far, but our biggest challenge awaits us on Saturday.”

As a player, Molesley was one of Eddie Howe’s first permanent signings in January 2009 after originally joining Cherries on loan from non-league Grays Athletic.

He was a key figure as Cherries escaped relegation in 2009 and scored five goals in 60 appearances for the club.

And he insists he has learned so much just by watching Howe, while in the coaching setup at Vitality Stadium.

“He leads by example,” said the former Cherries midfielder, when asked about Howe.

“His attention to detail, his work-ethic and also how tactically astute and clever he is.

“Me being around the same building, being able to sometimes see him work – the effect he has on everyone around him and the environment he’s created – that’s the biggest learning curve that I learned – the environment you create.

“I try not to get in their way or bother them too much but just being able to see them from afar. They just rub off on you like you wouldn’t believe really.

“Being around those people each day. People I am in complete awe of and respect so much has really helped shape me as a coach and a manager.”

As well as developing himself as a manager, Molesley’s dual role also helps nurture the talent of Cherries’ youngsters coming through the system.

For last Saturday’s 3-2 win against Dorking Wanderers, he fielded Brennan Camp, Shaun Hobson, Jaidon Anthony and Calum Ward for the clash – with all four youngsters on loan at the Terras.

They are following in the footsteps of the likes of Sam Surridge and Mark Travers, now members of Cherries’ first team squad demonstrating their potential on the biggest stage.

“This is exactly what you want to provide our loan players – is these experiences, these pressure environments where everything is on the line,” said Molesley, who is aiming for his second Weymouth promotion.

“It will be great for them to build their profile but also get that experience, which will stand them in good stead going forward.

“All the loans that have come out to Weymouth have done fantastically well. I really feel it’s been a great learning curve for them and made them stronger and better.

“Until they come in, they are relatively unknown. They haven’t really played much men’s football.

“That’s where it’s probably a bit of a gamble for a manager with young players but fortunately I work with them every day and I know what potential they have.

“I had no doubts that they would come in and do well for us. We have given them the game time and they have taken it.

“Every player that’s come into Weymouth has been a real credit to Bournemouth.”

He added: “It shows we are a progressive club who believe in giving people a chance.

“I think that was the case with me as a manager (at Weymouth). I don’t think anyone was really calling for me to be manager after they had just had a series of ex-players become a manager.

“I understood why they felt like that but hopefully they’ll see now that I’ve worked hard and brought the right people to the football club, who care about making it better.

“I always knew the potential of the club and always felt that I had some potential myself. Weymouth gave myself a chance, as a young unproven manager.

“We are the same as a team. We believe in the youngsters, we believe in developing people and trying to make them better. That has always been our mantra since day one.”

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