SWINDON Town Supporters’ Trust say they have not been deterred in their efforts to strike a deal for the County Ground despite the ‘surprise’ news yesterday that the club were themselves exploring developing the stadium.

The Trust have been in negotiations with the council for more than 18 months and, having had a £1.1million bid turned down earlier this year, look poised to re-enter with a second offer.

Despite Wednesday’s announcement from Town of the arrival of new non-executive vice chairman Clem Morfuni, founder of Axis Group, and his opening statement of developing the County Ground being his ‘main focus’, the Trust are continuing with their bid to become landlords, which will include purchasing the stadium and the surrounding land, until they know more about the club’s plans.

“Nothing changes from a Trust’s perspective,” said a spokesperson for the Trust.

“It’s interesting to see what Lee Power put out yesterday via the club’s website and on the face of it, it seems like he has substantial plans for the development of the County Ground, with Axis heavily involved.

“We don’t know how long those plans have been coming and how long they’ve spent forming them but it does, I think, come as a surprise to almost every Swindon fan that this news has come out.

“Previously, the chairman is on the record as saying that he is not particularly interested in redevelopment or moving the stadium elsewhere in Swindon.

“We’d be interested to find out more about his ideas, what the business proposal is behind it, where the funding is going to come from and how it aligns with the intended development at Twelve Oaks (training facility in Highworth) as well.

“Once we know more, we can deliver more of a verdict as a Trust.”

However, the Trust have not dismissed the possibility of working alongside chairman Lee Power and Morfuni should the option present itself, with the group’s sole interest being the future of the football club.

“The Trust is not against working with the club,” added the organisation’s spokesman.

“First and foremost, the Trust is there to act as some sort of fan-led guardian.

“If something is there that will better the club’s future, the club will obviously be interested in getting involved.

“At the moment, negotiations continue with the council, as they have done positively for more than a year, with the last meeting less than three weeks ago.

“We’re still pushing ahead. There are no changes to our plans at the moment.

“They have been in motion for more than 18 months and it would be foolish to abandon them on a single press release from the club.

“That said, there is no reason why we should rule out working with the club in the future if the right opportunity presented itself. But, it would have to be right for the future of Swindon Town.”