Supporters Group Meeting – TrustSTFC

Supporters Group Meeting

On Tuesday, James Phipps, Vice Chair, and Chris Howell, Secretary, participated in the Fan Group discussion in response to the fan’s survey and Open Letter.

We recognise the effort of the Chairman, in response to our End of Season Fans Survey and our Open Letter on the merit it deserves, by attending in person and making hasty travel arrangements to actively engage and lead the discussion.

The 3 key asks from our Open Letter were 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.

Within the conversation, the Chairman expressed that the playing budget had been significantly increased and player recruitment was active as demonstrated by the appointment of Mark Kennedy and recent signings. The Board of the Trust recognise that the Club are signing players earlier in the off-season than in previous seasons which suggests a change in strategy and should enable the First Team to bond on day 1 of pre-season rather than assembling a squad during pre-season.

The Chairman also shared plans to recruit a new Marketing Manager and a Fan Engagement Manager. The Board of the Trust recognises that this is a positive initial step. However, with little detail provided as to how these will enable a better run football club, we remain vigilant and will continue to press this point to the Chairman.

Reassurance regarding the redevelopment plan of the County Ground Stadium was given and stressed that progress was being made and the funding was available, with further discussions planned for when the Joint Venture convene for their monthly board meeting. The Trust has always held the aspiration that the Country Ground redevelopment is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and therefore the plan needs to be credible. We support the club’s aspirations to generate 7 days a week revenues from the development of facilities. However, we remain concerned and cautious until further details are established.

It emerged during the meeting that the Supporters Group Meeting was instead of a normal Advisory Board meeting, which was understandable considering time constraints and the normal cadence of the Advisory Board. It was disappointing to be informed that the Advisory Board has now been moved to a bi-monthly cadence. However, the Chairman and CEO have offered private monthly one-to-one conversations with the Trust, which allows for sensitive conversations to be had and enables us to continue expressing the views of its members directly to the leadership of Swindon Town Football Club.

We are pleased that the Club and other groups are willing to support future End of Season Fans Surveys to help the Trust measure and provide a clear and transparent reflection of the fanbase publicly and independently. 

In summary, the Supporters Group meeting was a positive first step. There are green shoots emerging to suggest action and a response to some of our concerns. However, there is significant work and continued effort required to accomplish fans’ expectations and we will continue to press on all points raised to support and encourage the Club, to build a capable and credible team, on and off the pitch, fans can be proud of and fight for promotion.

Board of TrustSTFC