While playing at the University of Birmingham’s Bournbrook ground Moseley encountered planning problems, which made it more difficult than expected to secure financial security, which threatened the survival of the club. An offer by Firoz Kassam, chairman of Oxford United Football Club, to buy out the club and take it to Oxford became the catalyst for a consortium of Moseley stalwarts, led by former captain Dave Warren, to come forward to raise finance to match his offer.
At a meeting at the Grand Hotel, on 26th July 2002, the consortium gained the support of the creditors by a narrow 1.7% majority, thanks in no small part to the late Peter Woodroofe. The new consortium’s business plan was approved by the Rugby Football Union and with the backing of the politicians of the city of Birmingham and of the North Midlands union; the club remained in the city. Moseley Rugby Club was reborn and appointed Dave Warren as chief executive and former players John Beale and Derek Nutt as director of playing and chief coach respectively.
In a few short August weeks a young squad was assembled to compete for Moseley in National Division One but despite their brave efforts the club was relegated at the end of the 2002/03 season.
During this difficult season the most traumatic occasion was the club’s only ever visit to Rotherham United’s Millmoor ground where Rotherham Rugby Club were then playing its home fixtures rather than at the club’s Clifton Lane headquarters.
The final score was an incredible 102-3 in favour of the home side, easily Moseley’s worst ever defeat. Despite the one sided nature of the encounter many observers found it an enjoyable occasion on which Rotherham played virtually error free rugby with ‘Moseley in spite of the score tackling like demons with the backs counter attacking well though just lacking the pace to back up enterprising breaks.’
One of Rotherham’s major attacking forces was number eight Alfie Tooala whose strong surges required more than one member of Moseley’s lightweight pack to stop him. Allied to this outside-half Pez was in tremendous form and scored a try, 10 conversions and four penalty goals, a total of 37 points.
Making his Moseley debut on that fateful day was wing James Aston, who acquitted himself well in trying circumstances as did back row forward Rob Mourino. John Beale commenting on the match observed that ‘those who watched could not have failed to be impressed by the spirit, skill and efforts on view’ from Moseley’s young side.
Thankfully since that day in October 2002 Moseley have not conceded anything like that number of points in one single match.
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