Town fans given a say in the future of the County Ground

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Fans will have a say in the future of the County Ground Fans will have a say in the future of the County Ground

Swindon Town fans have been given the chance to have a say in the future of the County Ground after it was  was declared an asset of community value.

The stadium is one of the first buildings in the town to be given the protected status by Swindon Council. It means that if it were ever sold off, Swindon Town’s  supporters trust, Trust STFC would be given six months to prepare their own bid.

The idea took off after other clubs around the country made the step to protect their assets from owners who may be tempted to cash in on them. Coun Jim Robbins (Lab, Mannington and Western), saw his club Ipswich Town make the move  and proposed it at full council.

“Swindon have had some challenging owners in their recent history, and the trust thought if another team of owners came in with questionable plans they could end up losing the stadium,” he said.

“I want to make it clear I have  no concerns about the current owners, they are doing their best for the club. But this will give the fans some protection for years to come.

“If at any point they do want to sell up, the fans have got the opportunity to get involved. It gives them a six-month stop on things and there would be a consultation exercise.

Trust STFC  chairman Steve Mytton said: “While there is already a covenant in place protecting the continued recreational use of the County Ground, its listing as an asset of community value is an important further step.

“It will mean that fans and the local community will be in the driving seat if there is ever a future decision to be made about the ground development or sale”.

“As a trust, we want to strengthen bonds between the club and the community and we want to establish emergency plans to address any possible future crisis that could develop.

“Our successful application to list the County Ground an asset of community value meets both these objectives perfectly.”

Coun Robbins said the status gives supporters some power.

“There could be a plan in the future to move to a purpose-built stadium, and if that happens they would need to go down this route,” he said. “It puts the supporters trust right at the heart of any big decisions to affect the club in the future.

“There will be an opportunity that the fans themselves can raise the necessary funds in the meantime.

“If the council were to sell the land the stadium is on for development, they would not be looking for a lot of money for it. This ensures football will be played at the County Ground for years to come.

"You just have to look at what happened at Cardiff City to see some of the dangers of people coming in and wanting to change a club, and it does make you worry.”

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10:12pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Jeremy Hilary Boob says...

QUOTE:
Coun Robbins said the status gives supporters some power.

“There could be a plan in the future to move to a purpose-built stadium, and if that happens they would need to go down this route,” he said. “It puts the supporters trust right at the heart of any big decisions to affect the club in the future."

How does this help the club? The CG is barely fit for FL1, let alone a higher standard - the club need to either move elsewhere on the site or somewhere else in the Town.

QUOTE:

“There will be an opportunity that the fans themselves can raise the necessary funds in the meantime.

For what purpose? If the Town owned the ground and wanted to move, what is the point in the fans buying it?

QUOTE:
“If the council were to sell the land the stadium is on for development, they would not be looking for a lot of money for it. This ensures football will be played at the County Ground for years to come.

That's the problem - it's not suitable. The site might be if the Town could buy out the other users of the site (finding a site for a cricket ground elsewhere in Swindon is probably easier than a new football stadium), but the current ground is not good enough, certainly not if the Town are aiming higher than FL1. I don't expect SBC to give STFC a new ground, but they should be working with them to either redevelop the CG or find a more suitable site. This seems to be playing to fans who think the CG is "historic" somehow and that we should never leave it.

QUOTE:
"You just have to look at what happened at Cardiff City to see some of the dangers of people coming in and wanting to change a club, and it does make you worry.”

That'll be Premier League Cardiff City, presumably? Tan might be an idiot, but if you've put that much money into a club you'd expect to have a free hand, however misguided you actually are (no one will support CCFC just because they play in red - PL "fans" in the Far East just support whoever's winning).

I don't see how this would have prevented what's going on there at all - not least because they sold it for housing so they could move to the CoCS. What would making them sell it to a bunch of fans have achieved?
QUOTE: Coun Robbins said the status gives supporters some power. “There could be a plan in the future to move to a purpose-built stadium, and if that happens they would need to go down this route,” he said. “It puts the supporters trust right at the heart of any big decisions to affect the club in the future." How does this help the club? The CG is barely fit for FL1, let alone a higher standard - the club need to either move elsewhere on the site or somewhere else in the Town. QUOTE: “There will be an opportunity that the fans themselves can raise the necessary funds in the meantime. For what purpose? If the Town owned the ground and wanted to move, what is the point in the fans buying it? QUOTE: “If the council were to sell the land the stadium is on for development, they would not be looking for a lot of money for it. This ensures football will be played at the County Ground for years to come. That's the problem - it's not suitable. The site might be if the Town could buy out the other users of the site (finding a site for a cricket ground elsewhere in Swindon is probably easier than a new football stadium), but the current ground is not good enough, certainly not if the Town are aiming higher than FL1. I don't expect SBC to give STFC a new ground, but they should be working with them to either redevelop the CG or find a more suitable site. This seems to be playing to fans who think the CG is "historic" somehow and that we should never leave it. QUOTE: "You just have to look at what happened at Cardiff City to see some of the dangers of people coming in and wanting to change a club, and it does make you worry.” That'll be Premier League Cardiff City, presumably? Tan might be an idiot, but if you've put that much money into a club you'd expect to have a free hand, however misguided you actually are (no one will support CCFC just because they play in red - PL "fans" in the Far East just support whoever's winning). I don't see how this would have prevented what's going on there at all - not least because they sold it for housing so they could move to the CoCS. What would making them sell it to a bunch of fans have achieved? Jeremy Hilary Boob
  • Score: 1

3:42pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Yanziboom says...

Stick a nice big car park on it. Anything but football!
Stick a nice big car park on it. Anything but football! Yanziboom
  • Score: 0

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