to talk to the club, following the council's rejection of the club's
proposal for a new stadium at Shaw over the summer.
This breakthrough is especially welcome at a time when the club had even begun to moot the possibility of having to move out of Swindon, due to the impasse they appeared to have reached. The Trust are keen to stress that they
see this very much as a cross-party issue and hope that both the
opposition Labour group and the Lib Dems will come on board with what
could be a very exciting proposal for the fans, the club and the town
as a whole.
TrustSTFC chairman Tony Norris commented "We would urge all fans to
get behind this motion, by signing the TrustSTFC petition, and by
writing to their councillors asking them to vote for the motion. We
firmly believe that by bringing all parties to the table - the club,
the council and the New Swindon Company - and by placing the County
Ground within the context of the town centre redevelopment as a whole,
this represents an historic opportunity to create something really
special for all the people of Swindon, not just fans of the club. A
revamped County Ground could be the shining jewel in the crown of the
town centre regeneration plan, a fantastic facility for the whole town
to be proud of, and that other towns could only envy."
Press spokesman Andy Ratcliffe continued "This is precisely the kind
of initiative that a strong supporters' trust can help deliver - in
speaking to our members and supporters generally since the fiasco over
the summer, it became very clear to us that the overwhelming majority
of fans wanted the club to stay at the County Ground, but were afraid
that it was not possible to do so. We started to look at the County
Ground not as a site in isolation, but as a key part of the Town
Centre, and realised that it must be possible to find the "broader
canvas" the club have so often spoken of needing as part of the
proposals for the Town Centre redevelopment. We hope this will prove
to be the first step on the road to putting the football club back at
the heart of the community it serves."
Tony Norris added "Obviously there's a long way to go as yet but we
hope that by bringing together the key parties in what had become a
stalemate, we have managed to break the logjam that was in no-one's
interests. Now hopefully, everyone can move forward and look to work
together on proposals that will benefit the club, the fans and the
wider community of Swindon. This is a genuine win-win situation."
The Trust will be collecting signatures for the petition backing the
motion at every home game leading up to the council meeting on the
18th and fans can also sign up online or download copies of the
petition from the Trust website at http://www.truststfc.co.uk/
The full text of the motion is as follows:
"In recognition of concerns expressed by residents of the Town, fans
of Swindon Town Football Club, and in particular a petition presented
by the Swindon Town Supporters' Trust calling on the council to
explore opportunities to work with the football club to help redevelop
the County Ground, this council calls on council officers and the New
Swindon Company to work with the football club and supporters' groups
to redevelop the existing County Ground site as part of the town
centre redevelopment scheme.
This council believes such are development could form a key gateway to
the town centre redevelopment and as such would be in the best
interests of the town as a whole."