Next season will be one of the strangest at the club for decades as Ivan Carver steps back from his role of Vice Chairman this summer. Those who attend our games will be able to see the tireless work that Ivan puts in every game to ensure the Robins are able to play week in week out. So we needed to catch up with Ivan to find out more about his decision and what's next.
It's hard to find someone that comes to the club that doesn't know you, we will miss your presence within the club. But how did it all start?
IC: Well, it's going to be difficult, as I have been a Supporter for over 40 years. I moved to Frome in 1980 and fell in love with the club. But it was in 2006-7 I was invited to join the Committee, before then being elected as a Director when ths Club changed to a Ltd company. Can you remember your first game? The first game I watched at The Hill was the Leyton Orient FA Cup game, when a relative who lived in town took me at the tender age of 6. Then later, once I moved to Frome a friend suggested that I went with him to a game and that started it. Then through the good times and bad I was hooked, those memories from 6 years old still ring true.
We've always been blown away by your knowledge of the club and you once told us the roles you held... That's right, during my time I have had many different roles, it's one of those things that makes a non-league club work. I've manned the turnstiles, regularly been the Stadium Announcer, Commercial Manager for 2 half years, Then becoming the club's Vice-Chairman since 2013, which then encompassed the roles of Financial Director and Matchday Adminstrator since the from 2016-2017.
You are the model definition of a clubman, always putting the club first, how proud are you with the progress made at the club during your time on the board? To have been part of a club that gained 3 promotions in 5 seasons it felt like a dream at the time, as those early seasons progressed, but then reality kicked in on how much work would be involved to sustain the Club at Southern League level, I cant say it's been a totally easy ride but when you look at the changes to the stadium and the manner in which now the club is run as a business it's all been worth it...and there's more to come!
Is there a standout achievement? Not classing it as an achievement as such, but the 90 Day Challenge was certainly interesting, with so many of us almost living at the ground to complete the tasks within the 90 days, but we got there, and with then meeting and spending time over that period with Kenny Dalgleish, Trevor Francis and Lee Sharpe was a memorable experience. As with some of the sporting dinner guests, Jan Molbey/Paul Merson/Barry Fry spring to mind as my outstanding speakers.
Looking back what memories stand out?
Memories, where do I start.... welcoming Salts back to the Club after his Football League exploits; winning the County Cup and getting promotion within a couple of days; the crowd and goals at Mangotsfield in the Play-off Semi, followed by the game of "balls" in the final at Sholing with Deano's goal, and more up to date Jono's 2 game hat-tricks this season.
What are your thoughts on this season, and how it ended?
I was very disappointed in the manner this season ended, without any club consultation to be told it was null and void, especially the position we were in with regard to straight promotion or play-offs, although in my heart was convinced that we would win the league. During the season we had played some of the best football I have experienced from a Frome Town side, some dream goals, dream misses!!!
The game still clearly excites you, how are you feeling about next season? I'm looking forward to the new season, whenever that may be, arriving at the ground at 2....not mid-day or even earlier. Enjoying a proper chat and a couple of pints, not having think about team sheets, league match up-date systems etc... It's been along time since I've been able to watch a match as just a fan and not a Committee Member/Director.
We've recently completed our Crowdfunder appeal that started with your comment and ended with a the club coming together, did you foresee the success?
The Crowdfunder was an amazing success, achieving the amount we did, when I floated the idea to the Board in March, I thought £8k-£10k would be required to cover the season committments and any more would help us get through the summer but reaching £20k was remarkable, it shows the passion of our supporters and the people of Frome to assist in retaining a senior football team in town, my sincerest thanks go out to all who contributed.
The club is going through more changes as the club looks to grow, do you have any advice to any new Directors coming on board?
What advice would I give to a new Director, I could write a book, but basically accept you are not in that position to be liked. Your responsible for something that can bring an emotional response to so many, whether that is happy or sad. There will always be someone who criticises you personally and "could do the job better" from afar, but never offers to help, you just need to shake off those comments and realise that 99% of the fans are happy. Enjoy the ride, it goes quickly, you will meet some great people around the League, I have. Always stick to your principles and do what you think is best for the Club, that's what we have done over the last 10 years or so, and I think it has worked to get and keep us where we are. Finally, is there anyone you would like to thank?
...the list seems endless, all the players and managers that have come and gone over my tenure. To Danny, his staff and the current squad, you have been a pleasure to know and work with. The Clubs fantastic supporters, I hope we can continue to attract more fans back to the club as that would help the club no end. The sponsors many of whom have stuck by us through thick and thin. Scott has been an inspiration since coming onboard. Last but not definitely nor least the Board, Jeremy, Gary, Neil and Brian, not only have you been great colleagues to work along side, who now I regard as firm friends.
Finally thanks to Ian without whose persistence and persuasion to join the Committee, I would not have been on the journey with The Robins that I have.