Swindon Town supporters bid to buy County Ground stadium

County Ground
Image caption Swindon Town FC is yet to comment on the proposal

A group of Swindon Town fans are hoping to buy the football club's County Ground stadium from the local council.

Trust STFC said it has met with Swindon Borough Council about its £1.1m offer - which it argues could also help the authority's finances "in times of austerity".

The trust is due to discuss the issue at its AGM, which is being held later.

Swindon Town FC said there is a rolling lease on the land and discussions about a long-term deal are still ongoing.

Director of Trust STFC, James Phipps, said the fans want to improve the long-term health of the club.

He said the ground had been "practically the same thing for decades" and was unlikely to be changing

"We feel the ground needs improving... and has a reluctant owner in some ways in the council, which is cash-strapped through austerity measures."

The stadium is part of a parcel of land left to the people of Swindon "for recreational purposes" and managed by the council.

Mr Phipps said: "We'd like to take it away from them to try to see if we can work on investment plans to make it a fit-for-purpose stadium for the next 50 to 100 years and create a financial stability around the club."

Swindon Town is currently in the League One relegation zone. Under the proposal, owner Lee Power would continue to run the club.

Analysis: Andrew Hawes, BBC Wiltshire sports reporter

"This in an innovative idea to deal with one of Swindon's longer term problems - redeveloping the County Ground.

The main Arkell's Stand was built in 1971 and is showing its age - most notably in the lack of corporate boxes and other facilities to indulge sponsors in the manner to which they are accustomed in the 21st century.

Early responses from fans range from the positive to concerns after the trust's previous unsuccessful efforts to get a roof put on the Stratton Bank end of the ground.

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