“THIS is only really the beginning for the Trust.”

Those are the words of TrustSTFC chairman Steve Mytton who, alongside vice-chair and Goodard Park Primary school head, Mike Welsh, is spelling out the vision of Swindon Town Supporters’ Trust to me in an Old Town bar.

Today, 20,000 primary school children across the borough will be going home with leaflets advocating the Trust.

It will include a form for those children to sign up for just £1 and introduce them to the idea of taking a bigger interest in their hometown football club.

Last week, Town fan Dave Bell, along with the rest of his family, helped the Trust pass 1,000-member mark, three months ahead of schedule.

This is all part of a grand scheme to raise the profile of the work Mytton, Welsh and co do, but also to grow their numbers and give them serious clout, financially and numerically.

“We’ve just gone past our 1,000 member three months ahead of time and we’re looking towards 2-3-4,000 members,” said Welsh.

“It’s all part of our aim to get the next generation of children in Swindon engaged with their football club. After the primary schools we’ll look at secondary schools and colleges and we’re going to also do the surrounding county areas.”

At this point Mytton chipped in: “Ultimately we want every single Swindon Town fan to be a member of the Trust. It is truly a fans’ group then and we can all work together.

“The great thing about bringing the schools in is that, as a Trust, we can go to companies externally and we can get funding for things, at no cost to the club, that will really help the club and help the fans, then it’s a win-win all round.”

“There are some huge companies in Swindon that don’t talk to Swindon Town ever. There are lots of medium companies that don’t talk to Swindon Town ever. We’re looking to engage some of those companies once again.

“I can go to them and say I represent X-thousand Swindon Town supporters and we’re a community group, we would like some money. I think they can recognise there’s a lot of good publicity in that for them to help the community.

“Whereas a football club when they go to companies, and I know they do try, the companies are often thinking about the Premier League and fancy footballers who have got loads of money.

“Swindon Town perhaps over the years have had some negative headlines and that plays a part in making it very easy for them to say no.”

The Trust has had big numbers on its books before but those tended to be in darker times for the club. Now with things seemingly looking up around Town, the Trust want to channel some of that positive energy into doing things that will benefit the club in the long term.

This starts with the school’s recruitment, which they hope will bring in another 2,000 members.

This will also help achieve one of the Trust’s immediate aims, to aid the club in bringing fans to the County Ground.

Swindon Advertiser:

TrustSTFC chairman Steve Mytton, left, and vice-chair Mike Welsh

However Mytton is not just content with returning the numbers lost from last season. His aim for the Trust is to see attendances pass 10,000, and then ultimately fill the stadium.

These aren’t just pie in the sky dreams for Mytton and Welsh. They have identified families as huge potential growth market for the fanbase and are doing something about attracting them to the club.

“A lot of children love football, but what we’re getting is the Sky TV generation of seeing it on television. What we want them to do is have that one-plus-one, where they’re a Town supporter first and foremost but they might have Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, City whatever as well,” explained Welsh.

Dovetailing, the Trust chairman added: “We’ve got to stop aiming for what we consider to be the norm and try and be spectacular. Let’s fill the stadium. The first goal of 10,000 people – that’s a good target we can achieve that through the schools campaign hopefully.

“It all ties in with the matchday experience. We’ve done a lot of research on other clubs that have filed stadiums when perhaps you wouldn’t expect them to. There are a couple of clubs abroad in France and in America, where they’re not very fashionable clubs but they’ve actually managed to fill their stadium week-in-week-out.

“The way they’ve done it is by targeting women and children, in other words, the family. We’ve got a core that’s always going to come and watch Swindon play. It’s not a very big core but if they came along once they’ll likely come along again.

“As soon as we get the schools on board we will be going out to companies and we will be getting the money coming into the Trust and that money will ultimately result in money coming into the club.

“Our ultimate objective is to make sure the club thrives. As the club is thriving, the community is benefitting from that.”

A part of that is putting into action the plan involving local corporates to help fund a new family enclosure at the County Ground to replace the current, less celebrated one.

The Trust are in the process of putting together a feasibility study into suitable areas for the enclosure to go at the ground and hoping the child-led recruitment drive will give them the numbers to present viable options to local companies for investment.

“With our family backing hopefully through the schools campaign we’ll be able to go to corporates, get some money from them, so it doesn’t effect the club and the playing budget, and we can invest corporate money into that pre-match time really interesting,” said Mytton.

“Middlesbrough, for instance, have got a fantastic fun zone that they do. Loads of kids go there at 12.30 to start the day, they have two hours of play time, with lots of interesting things for them to do.

“Then they’ll go their seats and watch the game and it’s a great family afternoon out. That’s what I want. If can go there at 12.30, sit down and have a cup of tea while my kids having a great time, then they go home at the end of the day having watched a football match as well it would be brilliant.”

Welsh added: “The stadium improvements that have been perhaps promised for nearly 50 years we’re now actually looking at achieving. We’re discussing these with the club and possible corporate benefactors.”

These positive and actively engaging ideas are the new mantra for the Trust, who decided after months of frustration of trying to work with previous owner Jed McCrory, to try and be a more positive force with current owner Lee Power.

“Whilst the previous regime was in charge we couldn’t get anything going on. It was only when Lee Power and co took over that we pushed the positive idea to them. I hope we can bring in lots more people to the club and keep coming up with lots more positive ideas,” Mytton said.

“We want to be 5,000 positive enthusiastic Trust members, hopefully a few of those from the family campaign.

“I just think we shouldn’t sit back and wait for positive things to happen. We’ve got to take steps ourselves and make things happen, that’s what we as a trust will do. We’ll help galvanise the fans into doing positive things for our football club.

“Typically, most Trusts are there for the dark times and that’s what our trust was. When I became chairman I didn’t want to be there sitting around waiting for the dark times, that’s not who I am. I wanted to do something constructive and bring the fans into it.

“The Trust is trying to make into something a bit different to all other trusts really, maybe lead the way. That’s to step on the front foot, do something positive and work with the club.

“Lots of trusts are banging heads with the club, we don’t want to do that. We want to work forward in a positive way. If some unscrupulous owner takes over in the future, we hope not, but obviously we would have to look at that and see what we can do.

“We’re going to be here forever as fans. We’ve seen a lot of bad stuff in the past, the present is very, very good, it’s really exciting, the future is unknown. We must make that future as bright as it can be. We can have a big part in ourselves.”

It is clear TrustSTFC mean business. They have big ideas but the passion with which both Welsh and Mytton speak about them belies a confidence in seeing them through. They expect to make further big announcements on their progress and plans in the coming months.

One thing is certain, they will not be idly sitting down twiddling their thumbs, whatever the future for the club they support holds.