The TrustSTFC AGM on 16th March hopefully brought some light at the end of the tunnel for beleaguered Town fans as we approach the end of a very disappointing season.
The day had started with the Swindon Advertiser running both front and back pages on the proposed County Ground purchase idea.
The County Ground idea has been around for some time, with the first meeting between Trust and Council happening two years prior to the AGM (to the exact day – 16th March 2015).
Although the work we had put in was extensive, we wanted to ask the opinion of Town fans and see whether or not we were on the right track.
We were also the lead story on the BBC Wiltshire Breakfast show that day, when several interviews were aired. James Phipps was in the studio representing TrustSTFC, with inputs from David Renard leader of Swindon Borough Council and James Mathie from Supporters Direct.
You can hear the edited highlights by clicking below.
As the day went on, people were voting on the Swindon Advertiser poll, and it finished the day with a healthy and positive result. 86 per cent of supporters gave favourable responses: 55 per cent ‘fully behind’ the idea of purchasing our own stadium and 31 per cent suggesting the idea was ‘good – but needs some work’.
Onto the evening, where we estimate over 100 people were present at the Goddard Arms in Old Town, with others being turned away at the door. Considering we only had one or two lonely souls at the Trust AGM a year ago, you can see there is an appetite for change.
On top of this, the local print, radio and television media were out in force and board members Mike Welsh, James Phipps and Chairman Steve Mytton were all on duty giving on-camera interviews to both BBC Points West and ITV News.
The evening kicked off with a Q&A session with Town legends Don Rogers and John Trollope.
Questions covered the inevitable stories from the 1969 League Cup Final and brought us right up to the present day, with the feelings on modern football, Leicester City and how training methods had changed.
After the Q&A, there was a short break, where supporters had photos taken with Don and John.
The AGM itself kicked off at 7:35pm, with a theme of ‘Let’s work together’ – meaning we want fans, club, media and council to join forces and make a bright future for Swindon Town.
It was a two way discussion with Town supporters invited to ask questions and contribute throughout. The majority of the evening was focused around the content in the Trust AGM Pack, which looked to tackle five key Swindon Town challenges.
The pack has 37 pages of analysis around Swindon Town, and the topics covered included the club finances, the County Ground atmosphere, the lack of connection with players, chairman Lee Power himself and, of course, the proposed County Ground purchase.
It also includes an interesting report from Supporters Direct (SD) on the details of the wage structures of 14 lower league clubs and how there is a correlation between spend and league performance. SD’s representative James Mathie was present to talk supporters through their findings.
The pack is available for viewing or download – please click here
At the meeting we asked supporters whether it was a good idea to continue our work and they replied with an almost unanimous and resounding ‘yes’.
You can listen to the full 1 hour 35 minutes of the AGM, hosted by Trust Chairman Steve Mytton, by clicking below (thank you to Ben Wills from Total Sport Swindon for the recording)
The Red Army Fund
Going into the AGM we had around 125 members of the Red Army Fund, and less than two weeks later that number has risen to 230 members.
Thank you to each and every one of you that have recently signed up and also those of you that continue to support us financially with monthly contributions.
To everyone else, please give it some thought and if you can spare a pound or more each month, sign-up at www.redarmyfund.co.uk
- Gold Membership equates to 82p a day (£25 a month)
- Silver Membership equates to 33p a day (£10 a month)
- Bronze Membership equates to 16p a day (£5 a month)
- Red Membership from as little as 3p a day!
You will notice it’s a new look site with a new County Ground related video.
Following the AGM our focus is almost solely on the County Ground campaign, and we need your help.
We ask you to sign up to the Red Army Fund on a rolling monthly basis, with whatever you can easily afford.
We need lots more support to help us fund a professional campaign, but more importantly to show the council and other parties that as fans we are serious about our intentions.
Rest assured, we have multiple avenues of funding open to us, be that individuals or organisations, but we need YOU to get behind the Red Army Fund in large numbers and help influence the discussions.
In terms of general updates, we will continue to build our momentum and won’t hold another public meeting until mid-May, as we want fans to focus on helping the club in the current relegation battle.
Over the coming weeks we will continue to communicate with supporters and help people understand the simple steps that can make the County Ground purchase become a reality. We have engaged Supporters Direct, who are experts in ‘Community Shares’ and have worked with many clubs to raise millions of pounds over the years. We will be telling you more about that in May.
Incidentally, Supporters Direct gave very encouraging feedback to the Swindon Advertiser after the meeting and you can read it here.
In the meantime, we hope that matters on the pitch improve and that we see a massive turnaround to secure our League one status.
Keep your chins up, and ‘Let’s work together’
TrustSTFC – Your Club, Your Trust.