EAST Thurrock United are set to hold crisis talks at the Grayers Graphics Stadium tonight, with the club desperately seeking further investment.

The unfortunate passing of former club owner Ben Bennett, along with John Coventry’s decision to step down as boss at the end of the season, has led to some questioning the future of Rocks.

But East Thurrock insist they will do all they can to keep the club in existence.

Ahead of tonight's meeting, which is open to all parties and gets underway at 7.30pm, a club statement read: “Without doubt the past couple of years or so has been an extremely trying time for the football club.

“The illness, and subsequent sad passing of our much-loved Ben Bennett, has taken its toll on us all and has led to conjecture about the continued existence of East Thurrock United Football Club.

“Now we also know that John Coventry will be stepping down as manager after 20 years’ service to Rocks.

“John departs with our sincere thanks, and our very best wishes, and states that he is committed to working with us over the coming weeks to ensure the smooth handover to the new management.

“As John says, ‘It’s what Ben would have wanted’.

“We wish to stress here and now that we are totally committed to honouring the memory of Ben, and the dedication shown by John Coventry, by ensuring the club continues and thrives as a lasting tribute to these two gentlemen, along with the many other stalwarts who have contributed to the club over the past 50 odd years.”

Former East Thurrock star Colin McBride is now working with the Bennett family to ensure the club has a sound future.

McBride stepped in to save fellow non-league side Hornchurch.

And it appears East Thurrock are the next club McBride will be looking to keep alive.

The club statement added: “We can now announce that Colin McBride has taken on the mantle of working with the Bennett family to ensure that East Thurrock United FC has a sound future.

“Colin is a long time close friend of Ben Bennett and his family, and a former Rocks player himself, who has many close friends at the club.

“A past manager of Thurrock and Hornchurch Football Clubs, Colin stepped in a few years back to save Hornchurch from going under and remains very much involved there. Basically, Colin knows what running a non-league club is all about and we are pleased to have him helping us at this time.”

Rocks are also needing to fill numerous roles behind the scenes as they look to remain in the Isthmian Premier League.

The club statement confirmed: “As well as John Coventry, there are likely to be several other people also stepping down from their roles at the club at the end of the season, meaning we will need people to come on board to work with us and play a part in our off-field team.

“We need to find a chairman, football secretary, treasurer, plus additional people to ensure the smooth running of the club, particularly on home matchdays.

“In addition to those admin roles, if we are to consider maintaining our current Isthmian Premier status, then we really need to attract additional financial support and sponsorship.

“We are prepared to consider any proposals or ideas you may have.”