THE County Ground
Back in March 2015, initial conversations took place around the Swindon Town Supporters Trust (TrustSTFC) purchasing the County Ground stadium freehold from Swindon Borough Council (SBC).
Many more meetings followed, along with stadium surveys, local councillor discussions and public consultations with supporters. Detailed proposals were put forward to SBC for consideration – however progress was slow due to the lack of support from the sitting tenant, Swindon Town Football Club (STFC).
In October 2017, the then owner of STFC also made a bid to purchase the stadium, meaning the council had two offers to consider. This stalled progress again. In August 2018, following the introduction of Clem Morfuni into STFC as a minority shareholder, the two parties STFC and TrustSTFC joined forces and made a combined bid.
Since then, Swindon Town has seen multiple legal disputes and a court case around the ownership of the club. Throughout this period, one constant remained – the fans. The supporters of our beloved Club survive all of the off-field comings and goings, the ups and downs, the hope, the disappointment. It is for that single reason that securing the future of the County Ground as the spiritual home of Swindon Town Football Club for generations to come is so important.
Although previous owners have explored the potential of developing the County Ground, its ownership by SBC did not create a long-term footing to justify the investment of millions of pounds. By moving the ground from a public authority into private ownership where the interests of all parties are aligned, development funding is easier and cheaper to obtain due to the long-term certainty created.
TrustSTFC and STFC have come together to form a 50:50 joint venture to purchase the ground from SBC and then lease it back to the Club for the next 250 years. Contracts are ready to sign and we are now seeking approval from our members to proceed with the purchase.