It may seem from the outside that it is non-stop frustration for Hampton & Richmond Borough right now, but dig a little deeper and you will find a club in its best state for quite some time.
The rain may have severely hampered possible progress up the table, but joint manager Paul Barry says the lack of matches has let the club catch its breath.
The Beavers are playing to a different tune these days, and not just because the comfortable Christmas wins over title-chasing Kingstonian and Wealdstone landed them the Ryman League’s Performance of the Month award for December.
Add to that the return of cult hero Dave Tarpey and a number of players opting to resist the temptation of bigger offers from elsewhere and you get the feeling 2014 could bring a change in fortune after a year to forget at the Beveree.
Tarpey has told the fans he is back to win a return to Conference level football – and Barry says there is a freshness about the place that suggests good things may be around the corner.
Hampton, looking for their third straight league win, welcome struggling Carshalton Athletic on Saturday, and Barry said: “There may not have been too many games recently with the rain playing havoc with the fixture list, but hopefully we can get back to playing again this weekend.
“The players are champing at the bit.
“We’ve got a new lease of life recently, and with Tarps coming back and Ben Harris arriving from Windsor, hopefully the new strike-force can turn the tight games into wins.
“We feel the rest of the squad is very strong.
“Ben has stepped up a couple of leagues after playing well for Windsor and if he can believe in himself a little more I feel he can continue to step up through the leagues.”
Chairman Steve McPherson has confirmed no fewer that four first team players have rejected more lucrative approaches from elsewhere – something that Barry says is flattering to the club.
Offers were knocked back for Charlie Moone and in-form midfield pair Joe Turner and Tom Hickey were targets for high payers.
Defender George Wells was also a wanted man, but all are staying put.
“It was a great compliment,” added Barry.
“Charlie is obviously vital in what we are doing and myself and Darren [Powell] are delighted the club managed to get him on a contract.
“Tom came with me from Camberley and I am surprised that a pro club hasn’t taken a chance on him as he is good enough to play at full-time level.
“Joe was left out in the Lowestoft win, he wasn’t happy and the approach came after that.
“He decided to stay and fight for his place in the side to his credit, and his last two performances have been back to his usual.”