Swindon Town Community Mutual Ltd and Swindon Town Football Company Ltd are 50/50 partners in a Joint Venture to purchase the County Ground from Swindon Borough Council.
Why is it a good idea to own the stadium?
Every penny of revenue will be invested back into the club and the stadium. It protects our Ground – there have been issues at Coventry, Northampton, Oxford, Darlington and more. Very simply, at the moment the football club pays rent to the council, and that money is spent on community services, bin collections or whatever. Under joint supporter/club ownership – that rent would effectively be taken in one hand and then given back with the other. That’s an immediate benefit.
Who is going to manage all this? – you are volunteers and part-timers!
STFC and Supporters are going into this jointly in a 50/50 arrangement. Everything will be managed equally between both parties and resources from both sides will work on this.
Swindon Borough Council
I don’t like football! Why don’t the council just put it up for sale to the highest bidder?
The Council would have the first option to buy it back. We are taxpayers ourselves and from the local community. A valuation of the ground has been agreed with the council and we will work hard to improve the area for the good of the whole Town.
Is the value to the town of a properly run, stable, communicative and well supported club realistically reflected in the negotiations with the Supporters Trust?
The Council recognise our value as a Community group and have been very supportive. We respect their need to get best value for the local taxpayer, and discussions have been very collaborative.
If the Joint Venture owns the land, does the Joint Venture also own the Stadium (i.e. the stands / pitch etc) or just the land that the stadium sits on?
Yes. The purchase will include the pitch, the stands, the car park and access roads.
If you were successful with buying the county ground, what are you buying? The land? does it include the cricket ground and pavilion the extension too but not the actual stadium or just the land the stadium sits on?
As above, we would be buying the land and the stadium buildings, the adjacent land facing out onto the Magic Roundabout, and the car park. The Cricket ground and athletics track is not included.
How do the Joint Venture propose to develop and improve the stadium and surrounding area?
This is hard to define at this moment and would need discussing and prioritising by the Joint Venture, but it is likely that the first project will be the development of the Stratton Bank (including the addition of a roof).
Why should I give you my money and how do I know these developments will go ahead?
Nobody is asking you for money at this stage, we will be launching the new membership tiers (which will include an ownership share in the CG) closer to completion of the purchase – if you want to back it then you back it, if that doesn’t interest you, then you don’t.
Both the Trust and the Club could produce fantastic graphical images of what might be coming in the future – but there will be no guarantees of delivery. There can be promises or proposals, but not guarantees. If the supporters have a share in ownership of the stadium, and development is managed by a board of fan elected representatives and a delivery team, then you at least know that something will happen, because if it doesn’t – then others can be elected to take charge.
More importantly, you also know that the stadium is in safe hands for the future.
Would it be possible to look at building a hotel on the land behind a new Town End so that the new meetings / function rooms can be incorporated into executive boxes overlooking the pitch?
This is one of many ideas that has been suggested in the past and is again something which would need careful consideration by the Club and the JV. We are very aware and respectful of the covenant from the Goddard estate and fully engage with them before progressing any ideas, which ultimately would be for the benefit of the Club and pursuit of football in Swindon.
Where will the rent being paid by the club go? Upkeep of the stadium, stadium improvements, payments back to individuals who have contributed to the purchase etc?
The rent will initially go to improving the current condition of the ground with future improvements to the stadium down to the Joint Venture to decide on.
What about the ongoing overhead of the running the stadium. Some figures would be helpful.
The club have responsibility for repairs and maintenance as part of the lease at the moment, and this will continue, so nothing changes in that respect.