Swindon Town has completed the purchase of the County Ground as part of a joint venture that will see the League Two club and its supporters assume full ownership of the stadium.
Last month, The County Ground Stadium Custodians, a joint venture between the club and Swindon Town Community Mutual Trust Ltd (TrustSTFC), exchanged contracts with Swindon Borough Council. A deposit of £230,000 (€262,000/$282,000) was also paid, meaning that a legally binding deal was in place to facilitate the stadium purchase.
The sale price of £2.3m has now been paid in full, with funding for the acquisition coming from the Nigel Eady Trust. Eady was a lifelong Swindon fan who passed away in January 2012, leaving money behind to be reinvested into the club and the local community.
The club and its supporters will take full ownership of the County Ground site from Swindon Borough Council as part of an equal 50-50 split, which will reduce rental costs by half and allow for significant developments across the stadium using the money saved.
Plans for improving the stadium include upgrading two of its stands and building a hotel and conference facility on the Town End over the next five years.
Swindon has played at the County Ground since 1896. The purchase of the stadium marks the first time it has changed ownership in its history.
Swindon chairman Clem Morfuni said: “This is a major step forward for the club and lays the foundations for our future success. Once again, I’d like to place on record our sincere gratitude to the Nigel Eady trustees who have been so supportive and helped us get the purchase over the line.”
Councillor David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council, added: “There has been so much to work through here, but we finally got the right outcome and it’s been down to great teamwork from all parties involved.
“As council leader, I’ve been working for a long time to give the people of Swindon and fans of the club a stadium they can call their own. I’d like to thank the club and supporters’ trust for their collaborative approach. This is a great example of how we can make good things happen when everyone pushes in the same direction. I’m very excited to see what the future holds for the County Ground and Swindon Town Football Club both on and off the pitch.”