Clem Morfuni: New Swindon Town chairman pleased with club's progress

Swindon Town's County Ground stadium
Swindon Town's County Ground stadium which the new chairman hopes to buy a stake in

Swindon Town chairman Clem Morfuni says the club are in a "completely different" place than they were two months ago when he took over.

The Australian businessman bought the shares of former chairman Lee Power in July, ending a lengthy and complex legal battle over the club's ownership.

The Robins had recently been relegated to League Two, were without a manager and subject to a transfer embargo.

The local council also sought legal action for unpaid stadium rent.

Morfuni, who had previously owned a minority stake in the club and acted as non-executive vice-chairman, swiftly appointed former Bristol Rovers manager Ben Garner as head coach, with a number of players hastily being signed before the start of the season.

After seven matches of the new campaign, the Wiltshire club have so far won three times and sit seventh in League Two, while they beat Arsenal Under-21's in their first group match of the Papa John's Trophy.

"We want to make sure we keep that momentum going," Morfuni told BBC Points West. "We're playing well on the pitch and we're going quite well off the pitch as well. What we had two months ago and what we've got now is completely different."

Swindon's Jonny Williams
Wales international Jonny Williams is among the players signed this season

Mixing with the fans

Morfuni, who travelled back to his home in Australia this week, has been a visible presence within the Swindon community over the past six weeks since his takeover.

He drove around the streets of Swindon on a branded bus in an attempt to drum up more season ticket sales, he poured pints for fans before the team's match at home to Port Vale and went along to the local cricket club to play.

"The fans haven't had it previously so I thought it was good for me to go out there and connect with the community. Obviously I'm pouring pints, I'm playing football, I'm playing cricket, I'm doing everything I possibly can, driving busses, and stuff like that," Morfuni said.

"I enjoy it, I enjoy the fans, they've been so welcoming, it's been really good.

"At the end of the day, if you don't have the supporters you don't have a club. I've always said that previously when I was vice-chairman, I said it's always important that we need to have that openness and transparency to the supporters, and we've done that."

'Championship is achievable'

Morfuni, who founded plumbing company Axis, says he has not invested in the club for a "two-minute thing" and insists he is backing Swindon for the long-term.

He has already opened discussions to purchase 50% of the club's County Ground stadium, along with the supporters' trusts, from Swindon Borough Council, as well as making plans to improve the roof and stands.

And he has stated his ambitions to eventually get the team playing in the Championship.

"It's been a whirlwind, but I'm not going to take my foot off the pedal, trust me," added Morfuni. "I'm not like that. People back home know how I am running the business side, what I've done in 30 years. So for me, it's not different.

"I've got a goal, I've got a drive, I'm very driven and disciplined and focussed in what I want to achieve and I want to bring the whole town with me in doing it, and making sure we're sustainable and we're not doing anything stupid.

"I think the Championship is achievable. I believe the Championship is where Swindon should be. And we want to get in the Championship and stay in the Championship, not just go up and down.

"We want to be sustainable and have a stable club."

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