AS you know, it was announced back on March 5 that Swindon Town Football Club and Swindon Town Supporters had reached an agreement in principle with Swindon Borough Council, to jointly purchase the freehold of the County Ground.

This week’s column is intended to bring supporters up to date with the sale process and give a chronological view of the activities that have been ongoing since the March announcement.

Following the press release, the SBC Cabinet had to sanction the sale. They met on March 20 and approval was granted, before the SBC Scrutiny Committee provided further sign-off on March 25.

The legal process then formally started, and the first step was for Swindon Town Football Club (namely Swindon Town Football Company Ltd) and Swindon Town Supporters (represented by Swindon Town Community Mutual Ltd) to sign an initial ‘Heads of Terms’ agreement.

The Heads of Terms is a non-binding document outlining the main issues relevant to the tentative sale and forthcoming Joint Venture (JV) partnership. Both parties signed and completed this in March.

Swindon Town Community Mutual also initiated the implementation of additional controls into their model rules, in the form of an ‘Asset Lock’, which means any retained income cannot be appropriated for the private benefit of Trust members. These model rules were reviewed and updated by a local law firm.

A draft Joint Venture legal agreement was then created by solicitors operating on behalf of Swindon Town Community Mutual, and in May it was shared for review and feedback with Swindon Town Football Club and then Swindon Town Supporters Club, Swindon Town Disabled Supporters Group and Swindon Town Community Foundation.

The JV agreement documents the framework on how the joint venture will operate with both supporters and football club, and centres around the formation of a ‘Fan Engagement Group’ (FEG) and a JV board. The FEG will have representatives from all recognised supporter groups as well as ex-players, Swindon Borough Council and future community shareholders.

In June, both Swindon Town Football Club and Swindon Town Community Mutual confirmed to Swindon Borough Council that their individual funding is in place for the purchase, and all parties agreed an initial mid-August target for contract exchange, and for the launch of a subsequent crowdfunding campaign.

The campaign is needed to attract a minimum of 2,300 community shareholders and ensure supporter interests are widely represented.

A draft sale contract and disposal plan was then issued from solicitors representing Swindon Borough Council and passed to relevant parties and work continues toward a formal agreement in this area.

In July, Swindon Town Community Mutual engaged their solicitors to create a draft lease that will ensure Swindon Town play their football at the County Ground. This was shared with all parties and again work continues toward a formal agreement.

Throughout this period, work has been ongoing with partners acting on behalf of Swindon Town Community Mutual Ltd toward the creation of a Community Share Offer (CSO) document.

The CSO is a key component in Community Shares as it provides transparency on the deal and outlines a detailed proposition to anyone considering the purchase of a community share.

The crowdfunding campaign which will run alongside the share offer is also in the advanced stage of development, but again is dependent on the legal work completing.

Although significant progress has been made toward the County Ground purchase, the original target for exchange and a crowdfunding launch is not achievable, as the legal documentation will not be agreed and complete in time for a mid-August launch.

Work continues and when the JV agreement, Lease and Sale Agreements are finally agreed, the key points will be shared to the community.

This will initially be via the Fan Engagement Group, but then in the form of a simple summary that will be made available to the public.

Once feedback is received, the Community Share Offer document will be finalised, all legal documents will be signed, contracts will be exchanged, and the Crowdfunding campaign will launch.

Discussions are ongoing around a new target date for a community share launch, and we hope to have that agreed in the next few weeks.

If you have any further questions, please get in touch via the contact form on