JOHN Coventry believes volunteers in non-league football deserve more credit.

Each club has numerous volunteers who spend countless hours at stadiums to keep their respective clubs working seemlessly.

And Coventry is indebted to those who work behind the scenes at East Thurrock United, although he would like to see more giving a helping hand at Rookery Hill after unfortunate moments in the last 12 months.

The Rocks’ boss said: “This club has had a disastrous year in the sense that we have a small number of volunteers and we have lost some of them due to passing away.

“We’ve been hit by losing at least three people that have had a massive part in this football club over the years.

“Locally, not many people want to get involved as volunteers so the only way to keep it going was for me to take on other little jobs.

“But those who do volunteer deserve an enormous amount of credit and I feel sorry for other people around the club that worked so hard to get us into the National League South.

“Brian Mansbridge has been fantastic for this football club and if it wasn’t for him the club wouldn’t be here as it is today.

“He is the chairman, but this club doesn’t really need a chairman. He calls himself that and we call him that but he’s also the kitman. He has been massive for this club.

“Mick Stephens used to be the groundsman but, unfortunately, he has been ill recently.

“He is thankfully recovering but he is unable to do that role going forward and that has fell onto me as well. That’s a loss and another sad story about the football club this season.

“His wife Marge does all the hospitality and is brilliant. She loves the club and does so much.

“Obviously my wife, Christine Coventry, is involved as well and Linda Moore is a good friend of my wife. She has been very good to this football club.”

However, Coventry will be losing one trusted helper before the new season gets underway.

“Neil Speight has been at this football club for as long as I can remember, added Coventry.

“He has done so many good things for this football club and he has been my secretary.

“He would be the first to admit that he can sometimes be controversial but all I can say is that he has been very good for me as a secretary.

“A manager needs a secretary that they can rely on and he’s definitely that person.

“Unfortunately, he is now stepping down and we’re in the process of appointing a new secretary.

“Kem Izzet, Neil Gray and Steve Taylor are massive for me on the coaching side of things and Sam Higgins is my leader on the pitch.”