Posted: 24.05.20 at 23:44 by The Editor
IN the latest change at East Thurrock United, the Isthmian Premier Division club has announced the appointment of a new general manager.
Phil Crowe has been working with neighbours Concord Rangers for several years but will now spearhead the new look structure at the club following the departure of long-serving manager John Coventry and the entire backroom staff.
Last week new club chairman Steve Wiseman spoke bullishly about the club’s prospects and assured supporters it would be staying in the Isthmian Premier next season – a turnaround from a few weeks earlier when Colin McBride, who was brought in by the club’s owners to supervise change at the cash-strapped club, had told supporters at a crisis meeting it was likely the club would have to drop one – or possibly two – levels down the non-league pyramid.
He did add the club's owners were committed to an investment of £2 million when cash was available from the sale of the ground but reiterated the future remained uncertain.
In contrast last week Mr Wiseman said he wanted to “scotch rumours which have been circulating in some quarters, suggesting that we were going to be seeking to be placed at a lower level when football returns.
“I am happy to put those rumours to bed, and confirm that when football resumes in earnest, East Thurrock United FC will be continuing as members of the Isthmian Premier” he said in an article on the club’s website.
And following on from that news, the appointment of Mr Crowe was announced as well as news that work is already underway on improvements to the Rocks Bar, adjacent lounge, patio area, function hall and toilets.
Mr Crowe says: “I first got introduced to East Thurrock United through my friend Jon Firman whose father and grandfather were Trevor and Len, who both had a long involvement with the club.
“My first experience of any sort of live football was going over to Rookery Hill with the Firman family on a Saturday afternoon, we used to kick a ball around behind the goal at the church end and without embarrassing Glen Case, as an aspiring goalkeeper he was probably the first person I looked up to and thought that could be me one day.
“I had a reasonably successful spell in youth football, there were no academies back then, but I spent spells at a number of pro clubs, as well as successful local youth teams. I then went into senior football, but injuries and work commitments curtailed that, however with many friends still at East Thurrock I was always a keen visitor. I ended up living on Canvey and around 20 years ago got involved with Concord Rangers.
“Some years after first getting involved with Concord, Ant Smith, who is now a very good friend, asked me to join the committee. I started their community project with Steve Cowley and became involved in the running of their successful youth section, helped in get sponsors on board and organised funding grants etc. A bit of everything really, obviously Concord's rise through the leagues has been unbelievable to be involved with both on and off the pitch.
“There has certainly not been any fallout with Concord, Ant and Scopesy both remain good friends of mine good friends so I will be over there any chance I get with my mates supporting the team.
"I was given the opportunity to come over and a have a chat with Colin McBride, who I knew from my footballing contacts, about possibly helping the club out. I attended the open meeting at Rookery Hill, where Colin laid out what was going on and was impressed how many people wanted to help the club, and with East Thurrock United being a club I knew well, I jumped at the chance of taking on a new challenge.
“At this stage it’s difficult to say exactly what my role at the club will entail, obviously there is lots to be decided at the moment as people get to know each other, but I think it will become clearer over the coming weeks. Obviously, Steve Wiseman is the chairman, so I will support him as much as possible. He already has some great ideas, and his enthusiasm for the club is very clear for all to see.
“One of the big things for me is to help turn the Rocks into a genuine community club, so I will engage with Simon Hoskins and the youth section, along with the general local community. As you know the club is set to re-locate within the next two years, and has ambitious plans to build a new facility which will be a benefit to the whole local community, and I will of course look forward to playing a role in the whole re-location project.
“I really want to see the club buzzing again, it’s always been well supported by a hardcore of regular fans, but I know there is a much larger potential support and goodwill towards the club locally. Obviously there is no magic wand, but the plan is to stabilise the club as we move together into an exciting new era both for the club, and the local community in general."