Swindon AdvertiserAndronikou talks about end of financial woes (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Andronikou talks about end of financial woes

ANDREW Andronikou insists Swindon Borough Council and Town's supporters trust played a role in putting the club's existence at risk, after revealing a seven-year battle to beat the debts is almost over.

Town's administrator is confident the payment of the outstanding £1.2million Company Voluntary Arrangement is now a formality, with wealthy Portuguese investors about to secure the club's long-term future.

Andronikou has been heavily involved with the financial life at the County Ground, ever since the club's first entry into administration back in 2002, but is hopeful with "special things" happening at boardroom level his future is as a fan in the stands.

Andronikou insists the club has been a cause worth fighting for but reveals how external politics surrounding Town has taken them to the brink.

He said: "We have got an investment consortium that are on the cusp of signing a contract that will secure the club's future. It has been very difficult as we have been through I can't remember how many consortiums for a variety of reasons. For a number of reasons they all decided not to follow through their investment.

"It got to the stage where we thought we would never achieve the investment mainly because we are dealing with an entity that is loss making.

"The politics that have been attached to the club in the past put off a number of parties. It has been difficult to keep everything on track.

"People have known what they have wanted to achieve at Swindon but without dealing with the external bits that have surrounded the club."

While admitting various factors can be blamed for digging Town into a deeper and deeper financial hole, Andronikou is convinced the council's reluctance to work with them towards ground redevelopment has not helped.

"I would bring in the council as well," he said. "Because we are talking about a non-profit making entity. The only way forward in trying to turn the club's fortunes round was to bring another facet of business.

"Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, there has to be some sort of development to assist it going forward.

"I remember in the first weeks all those years ago, the council were offering a redevelopment to go forward yet seven years later and probably a few council changes later, I still don't know where we are there with that.

"I find that disappointing and amazing. To a certain extent the responsibility has to be shared by them. It is a community issue as well as a football club. I would have thought they would have wanted to secure the club's future so they could use it as a backboard for other initiatives."

He has also pointed a finger in the direction of TrustSTFC, claiming their cynicism and protests have also stemmed the club's recovery.

He said: "The frustrating thing is we have gone through so many options and gone through so many loops and hoops with so many consortiums. I think for most it was the politics that was the big turn off.

"I have an issue with the supporters trust as well as they could have caused untold damage if we had not ignored them. Their self importance genuinely put the club at risk. I think we all agree a supporters trust is healthy but for the right reasons. I think they have got out of hand. I think it represents about 20 people and that has to change quickly.

"We had to sit down with these investors to explain the politics and the individuals behind the trust to alert them. We did it all up front with them."

Andronikou's time working behind the scenes on behalf of the club and its creditors has seen two spells in administration, a winding-up order, missing the CVA deadline and countless financial nightmares.

But with Jim Little and Jose Veiga leading the new investment consortium, the CVA organiser can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.

He said: "It has been hard work but it has been for an exceptional cause. Of course it has been a relief to get the job done but it was a cause that has been worth the investment and time that has been expended on it.

"Swindon Town Football Club brings a lot of enjoyment to a lot of people. It has caused frustration but it has been for a good cause.

"There was always a back stop though. The Wills family have supported this club for many years and for many millions of pounds and they were not going to walk away and see all these efforts demolished. That was not a preferred route though as I think they have done enough.

"I think this new investment is something special. If we had found another millionaire that was going to use Town as a toy for a couple of years then it would have maybe been a short term fix. But these people know more about football than we do. They have an established pedigree in the football market place. We really could not leave it in better hands.

"Hopefully we can get it all sorted and then for the next seven years I can just sit back and enjoy the football."

Trust STFC chairman Paul Davis, pictured below, replied: "I find Mr Andronikou's comments a bit bizarre his obligation and duty is to the creditors of the CVA. To attack one of these creditors seems odd to the extreme. He would be better keeping his attentions on ensuring the CVA is successful dealt with.

"The supporters trust does not represent 20 people but rather 1,000 loyal Swindon Town supporters who have a right to be kept informed about the future of the club.

"I am sure the only thing every Swindon fan wants to hear from Mr Andronikou is the CVA has been dealt with. The hopefully, in the nicest way possible, we will never have to hear from him again."

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