THE County Ground is now co-owned by Swindon Town Football Club and Swindon Town fans after a deal to purchase the stadium was completed on Friday.

For the first time in the Robins’ 144-year history, its home stadium will at least partly rest in the hands of supporters as a result of the joint-venture agreement between Swindon Town Football Club and Swindon Town Community Mutual Limited.

Contracts were signed and exchanged between buyers, The County Ground Stadium Custodians Ltd and sellers, Swindon Borough Council in early February – with a £230,000 deposit paid.

The sale price of £2.3million has now been paid in full, with funding for the acquisition coming from the Nigel Eady Trust.

Mr Eady was a life-long Swindon Town fan who left a considerable legacy to the club, on the proviso the money be used for the long-term benefit of the club and local community, after his death over a decade ago.

Swindon Town 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.”

TrustSTFC chairman, Steve Mytton, added: “This is a fantastic day for our great football club, and we should be excited about the future that lies ahead.

“Moving forwards, supporters will play a crucial role in our decision making, which will strengthen our relationship and enable us to embrace a brighter future together, with the people who love this club at the helm.”

Town say the “landmark move” will “not only reduce rental costs by half, but allow for significant developments across the stadium using the money saved.”

These are set to include upgrading two stands and building a hotel and conference facility on the Alan McLoughlin Town End over the next five years.

Rob Carter, from the Nigel Eady Trust, said: “We’re delighted to this deal is finally over the line.

“It’s been a long process, but we can now look forward with great optimism as there are some tremendous opportunities to take Swindon Town forward both on and off the pitch.”

Councillor David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “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.”