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County Ground buyout bid gets backing of Swindon Town fans

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Plans by the Swindon Town Supporters’ Trust to buy their club's ground have been welcomed by fans.

At the Trust's AGM last week (March 21) fans gathered to be updated bid to buy the County Ground, which is likely to be considered by Swindon Council later in the year alongside a last-minute rival bid from Swindon Town Football Club’s owner Lee Power.

During the meeting, fans were told £1 million has already been pledged by third parties in support of a crowd-funding project which will be launched if the bid from the Trust is successful.

Community shares would then be offered to fans and the public - possibly from as little as £50 each - to secure the County Ground as a community asset.

However it was made clear the Trust was open to working in partnership with Mr Power and would consider joint ownership.

If the bid is successful, it is believed the Trust will be the first such body in the UK to secure such an asset for the good of their own club and for the wider community.

Chairman Steve Mytton said: “We will work with anyone who – like us – wishes to provide a long term legacy for the County Ground to secure its future, upgrade and improve the facilities and avoid issues which have been faced by other clubs across the country.

“We feel we can offer something really special for Swindon which will have huge benefits for the town as a whole and for football in general.”

Fans asked questions of the Trust’s board of directors including “was there a danger of a bidding war?”.

James Phipps, trust director, said: “There will be no bidding war. There was a valuation of the stadium and we have met that valuation. The council also has to consider the social and economic value of the bid to the community, so it’s not all about the price tag.”

Other news on the night was the fact that the County Ground has been registered as an Asset of Community Value and this means any sale cannot take place in law for six months without the community being given a chance to first secure its future with a viable counter offer.

Joining the board of directors for the first time was James Spencer, who is the chief information officer Bath-based erotic gift retailer Lovehoney.

James comes from Swindon and has been a life long Swindon Town fan. He told fans he was committed to helping Swindon Town Football Club get back to glory and he would work with the Trust to secure the future of the County Ground.