THE below statement is from STFC Chairman, Lee Power.
I am delighted to officially announce that I am the new owner of Swindon Town Football Club.
Firstly, I’d like to try and alleviate some of the fans’ concerns. To put the record straight, here are the facts: I paid £300,000 to buy out individuals who had shares in the Club and this gave me an option to take control of the Club, which I have now exercised. I put in £1.2 million to get the embargo lifted last season which I withdrew once the Football League had been satisfied. The financial forecasts I was given at the time were unfortunately drastically inaccurate and the Club has needed more financial input than I originally thought. For example: there was £500,000 of estimated income in the accounts for the summer concerts which, to date, has cost the football club circa £50,000. To date, I have put £740,000 into the Club this season and expect to put in another £400,000 before the end of the season.
Divulging this sort of information isn’t my usual approach to business and certainly, when I played football, I always felt the best owners were the ones you didn't hear from. However, I do understand that a football club is at the heart of a community and the fans have been concerned about the future of their Club. My reasoning as to why I became involved with our Club is that I feel it has huge unrealised potential and that, with my business and football knowledge, I would be able to make the Club a viable business whilst offering success on the pitch. Hopefully the fans have seen that the early signs of what we are trying to achieve have been encouraging.
As many of you will be aware, the main necessity this season has been to reduce the playing budget to a sustainable level which has not been easy and is still not where it needs to be. We wanted to implement a new philosophy and blueprint on the pitch. This gives young, technical players (who might struggle in other sides at our level) a chance to shine at our football club and hopefully a style of play that the fans enjoy coming to watch. At this point, I’d like to compliment Mark Cooper and Luke Williams, our young management team, who have implemented what we have asked fantastically well and I hope they stay here for the long term and we will all see this project through together. Please don't take this that our aim is to be a Club that just produces young players. I want to get this club into the Premier League. It has been in the past and even recent history shows that smaller clubs than Swindon have managed this feat and I see no reason why we can't.
There has been a lot of talk about our connection with Tottenham Hotspur - there is no connection. I don't think it’s any secret that Tim Sherwood is a good friend of mine and I genuinely think he is one of the most knowledgeable and forward-thinking men currently in the game. For the past few seasons I have listened to his frustrations about his young players going on loan to sides that don't play in a style that they can shine in. When I became involved with Swindon Town my thinking was that if we took a few players from Spurs at the same time, it would help us in the early stages. An added benefit is that with the loanees coming from one club, their ‘bedding in’ period is easier, therefore reducing the risk. I think the three players we have on loan have been excellent for us so far. Whether we will have players on loan from Spurs next year, I honestly don't know, but we will certainly utilise the loan market again.
Like I said previously, I have always felt the best owners were the quiet ones but I realise I need to be more engaging with the fans about what's going on and I will be in the future but through more traditional outlets i.e. the Club’s website, the Club’s programme or the local paper. I don't tweet and I don't ever go on forums. I won't be drawn into public communications with any previous Club employees, about their time here with me or their time just before I arrived. Everything I have said is factually correct and can be confirmed by Sangita Shah. I would like to thank Sangita: she would be a fantastic addition to any Board. I didn't know Sangita before my time at Swindon but she has worked tirelessly to try and help in all aspects of the Club and I am delighted that she is happy to continue in her current role.
Finally, I would like to thank the fans. You have been fantastic in support of your team home and away this season. I realise you don't earn trust overnight but please judge me after five years and not five minutes. I think you will pleasantly surprised at how we move this club forward over the coming years.