Thursday, 5 May 2016
IN PRAISE OF EAST THURROCK UNITED AND JOHN COVENTRY
John Coventry was appointed manager of East Thurrock United in the Autum of 2007 when he took over from Lee Patterson (who joined then Nationwide South side Braintree Town) whom he had been assistant to. At the end of that 2007/08 they were relegated to Division One (North) by the finest of margins after being dedcuted one point for fielding an inelligable player.
Over the next two seasons the club went close to promotion finishing runner's up (losing in the play-off semi-final to Concord Rangers) and then fifth place (Concord beat them again in the semi-final!). In 2010/11 they were champions and promoted back to the Premier Division.
They then finished 10th, 5th (losing in the play-off semi finals to Lowestoft Town), 20th (just above the relegation zone), 13th and eventually 3rd place this season.
In 2011 they reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history losing to Macclesfield Town at Rookery Hill and again in 2014 losing away at Hartlepool United.
So for next season The Rocks will be playing at Step Two of the non-league pyramid following their excellent 3-1 win over Dulwich Hamlet in the play-off final in front of a record crowd of 1,661 people. They will play at the same level as Stockport County who in 2002 were playing at Championship level in the football league - The Rocks only left the Essex Senior League in 1992 and were only formed in 1969.
What is fantastic in a era of some club's changing managers at the drop of a hat when they fail to go up or flirt with relegation the Rocks have stuck by their man and success has followed - Many clubs should look at East Thurrock United as a great example of how to do it and that overnight success is very rare.