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FORMER Weymouth manager Mark Molesley admitted he will forever be “greatly indebted” to striker Ben Thomson after the striker exited the Terras on Monday.
Thomson called an end to a seven-year association with the claret and blue shirt, switching to Southern League side Salisbury.
He joined the club in 2015 and was one of a handful of players kept on by Molesley in a summer of change in 2017.
What followed was one of the most successful periods in the club’s history as Molesley led Weymouth to the National League via back-to-back promotions.
Thomson played a massive part, forming a lethal combination with Brandon Goodship up front.
He would go on to make 255 club appearances, scoring 66 goals and registering 47 assists.
Speaking to Echosport, current Aldershot boss Molesley emphasised the huge role Thomson played in Weymouth’s recent success.
He said: “He’s an unbelievable person and player for the football club.
“He’s someone I’m greatly indebted to. What he did for me during my tenure I will never forget.
“I’d like to think we had a good relationship and that I got the best out of him, but he also brought the best out in me.
“For someone who probably struggled with injuries when I first came in, he was one of three or four players I kept when I took the manager’s job.
“I could really see the potential in Thommo. He was unbelievable on the pitch for me but he was a real big character off it as well.
“I loved working with him every training session. He had a lot going on off the pitch in terms of his work, sometimes he’d come in and make out it was begrudgingly.
“But I knew deep down he always loved the work we did with him. Sometimes he’d have things to say when we were out there at half 10 and he had work in the morning!
“He was a true character, much loved by all the players and staff. Now I’ve left, I can be honest and say I’ve always had a soft spot for Thommo.
“I’m proud that I managed him. To see him in the National League bullying defenders there always brought a smile to my face.”
Thomson was a popular figure among Weymouth fans for his ability to change games and for his physicality up front.
“I used to say that if we’ve got Thommo he’ll take care of the defence by himself,” Molesley said.
“Probably the best season that Brandon had was from Thommo doing a lot of hard work and Brandon picking up the spaces in behind.
“We used to say: ‘Thommo, go and knock the door down!’ and it’s up to us to make it work.
“He used to single-handedly take defenders out (of the game). It was also his character. We were a really hard-working, intense environment in the way we worked.
“He softened it at the right times with his character. He was much loved by everyone and he should rightly go down as a legend for Weymouth.
“A fantastic servant but most importantly a fantastic person and someone who I have a massive amount of respect for.”
Asked for his favourite memory of Thomson, Molesley recalled his strike in a 3-0 win over Farnborough that sealed the 2018/19 Southern League South title.
“I think the goal against Farnborough,” Molesley said. “Then when he drank the beer when everyone else was celebrating – it was classic Thommo.”