An Open Letter to the Chairman of Swindon Town Football Club – TrustSTFC

An Open Letter to the Chairman of Swindon Town Football Club

The County Ground Swindon

Dear Mr. Morfuni,

We write this open letter, not only out of a sense of deep frustration but also through a duty to look after the best long-term interests of Swindon Town Football Club.

We, at the Trust, led the agreement to purchase the County Ground from Swindon Borough Council with the help of the Eady Trust in order to give the Club a significant reduction in rent and the ability to invest in the facilities to make the Club sustainable moving forward.

In addition, we have tried to support, encourage, advise you and give you constructive feedback in order to give you the best chance of success in running the Club.

We made sure that throughout an incredibly hard second half the season we remained focused on supporting the Club and its players, putting the relegation battle first. Although we avoided relegation, we did still end in the worst league position in modern history.

There are many things we have and continue to appreciate, including the creation of the Advisory Board, joining us in a Joint Venture to own the County Ground and bringing the Women’s team into the Club.

However, with the season over we hoped that our survey, which over 2,000 of your customers completed, would be used to finally make you see both the level of feeling of the fans and to take on our advice to avoid another disastrous season.

But the advice, feedback and survey results are still met with a consistent level of denial and a version of reality which does not relate to the facts. For example, you continue to insist the Club is debt-free. It is not.

You have declined to transfer the shareholder debt into equity, which would fulfil the commitment you made at the last Fans Forum where you said you would ‘wipe the debt’.

Consistently over your tenure you have repeatedly not been honest. The Club has been found guilty of EFL charges relating to both undisclosed shareholdings and late payments and it is clear that the Club is constantly struggling with cashflow.

With the County Ground Joint Venture, the club has conducted a secret Master Plan project without the expected collaboration and denied all knowledge that it existed when initially first asked about it. The rent has been persistently getting paid later and now that we have set the ground rule and limit of 30 days past it’s due date, it’s unsurprising that the rent is now being paid exactly 30 days after it’s due without fail.

Your persistence in appointing an entire team running the Club (with few exceptions) who have never performed their role before and/ or come from a football background, has meant nobody can be surprised at where the Club finds itself now – and frankly, relegation would not be a surprise to us next season.

You have had over 100 days to find and appoint a first-team manager and it is indicative of the lack of leadership, overall strategy and ability at the Club, which the fans have recognised and voiced in our survey, that we remain managerless today.

We do not doubt everyone is working hard, but the Club requires both investment and experience if we have any chance of progressing both on and off the pitch.

At the Fans Forum on January 30th, you committed to better communication. Since then, there has been silence from the Club’s leadership, including the recent period when you were in Swindon for a week and conducted zero interviews and published zero articles through the Club’s official channels.

We, as a Trust led by our recent survey, are today declaring we have lost all confidence and trust in the leadership and ownership of our beloved Swindon Town Football Club. Further, we have no faith that a promised re-development of the County Ground is plausible under your ownership.

We call today for:

  1. an immediate and significant investment in both money and experienced personnel into the Club;
  2. a clear and credible funding plan for the ground re-development; and
  3. a commitment to complete transparency and honesty in more frequent communication.

Alternatively, it is time for you to sell the Club and find a new owner who can provide these things as soon as is practically possible.

We are a proud Club which has cherished our football league status for well over 100 years and we implore you to make the changes now before we lose that status under your tenure.

The Board of TrustSTFC