FOOTBALL royalty descended on Frome Town on Wednesday to celebrate the halfway point of the Robins’ 90-day Football Pools challenge.
On December 19 last year, the Badgers Hill club received a £50,000 windfall from the Football Pools to pay for a host of ground improvements, which had to be completed within 90 days.
On Wednesday, former England striker Trevor Francis, the country’s first £1,000,000 player, and Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish were at the AlderSmith Stadium to run the rule over Frome’s makover.
Despite making 52 appearances in an England shirt and winning the European Cup with Nottingham Forest during an illustrious top-flight career, Francis told the Wiltshire Times that he is well acquainted with non-league football.
“I’ve had involvement in non-league because my youngest son James played non-league and the highest level he got to was the Conference with Tamworth,” said the former Birmingham City player and manager.
“He doesn’t play any more but at every opportunity, I’d go and watch him, and I still take a keen interest in the Conference.
“It’s nice to see the improvements that are taking place here and we’ve met some of the workers, who are very enthusiastic, as some of the supporters are.
“I know a little bit about this league because my son’s best pals actually play for Leamington, who look like they’re going to win it.”
Dalglish, who is Scotland’s joint-leading goalscorer and widely regarded as one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players, was keen to stress the positive impact that improved facilities could have on youngsters in the community.
“I think it’s really important that grassroots football gets the recognition and the help it deserves,” said the Anfield hero.
“I think the people that donated their time freely and willingly to allow us when we were younger, and obviously (Frome Town) now, to play football deserve a lot of credit and certainly deserve the support that they’re getting from the Football Pools.
“They don’t look for recognition, they do it because they love it.
“I hope it’s a tremendous success here. It’s a very ambitious scheme and anybody who wants to help people and kids play football deserves all the help they can get.”
Frome have put their Football Pools payout towards removing the wooden seats in their main stand and will be upgrading to a new tiered system.
The AlderSmith Stadium clubhouse is in the process of a facelift after the suspended ceiling, electrical wiring and air extractor systems were removed while the kitchen area will be renovated.
The Venue’s skittle alley is being turned into a classroom while toilet facilities and fencing areas are also set to be revamped.