SWINDON Town have signalled their intention to draw a line under previously strained relations with supporters to help make the ambition of County Ground development a reality.

Town’s non-executive vice-chairman Clem Morfuni insists owner and chairman Lee Power has given his “100 per cent backing’’ to working alongside the club’s fanbase over the bid to purchase the stadium and also revealed significant plans to develop the ground into a facility fit for the club’s ambition to return to the Championship.

The League Two club last week announced that moves to buy the freehold of their home of more than a century from Swindon Borough Council would proceed in a 50-50 partnership venture with both Trust STFC and the Swindon Town Supporters’ Club.

Both the club and Trust had previously been pursuing separate bids – the Trust having an initial £1.1 million bid rejected last year following a revaluation of the site before Town subsequently announced their own formal offer for the freehold.

Morfuni, the managing director of worldwide building services firm Axis Services Group who joined the club hierarchy last summer, has been at the forefront of pulling the various parties together, in particular convincing Power it was the only solution to move towards restoring Town to former glories.

The Australia-based businessman insists the 50-50 ownership arrangement is merely the first stage towards development plans which include taking the County Ground to a capacity of around 20,000, putting a roof on the stadium’s Stratton Bank, adding corporate boxes into the Don Rogers Stand, expanding the Town End and adding hotel and conference facilities.

Speaking to the Swindon Advertiser from Australia, he said: “What became clear was that (the separate plans) were all never going to work and why can’t we all work together?

“If we can buy a 50-50 share of the ground, that is something that could work.

“I said to Lee (Power) that the only way this club is going to move forward is to do a 50-50 arrangement with supporters and we work together. It took me back a little bit but Lee was 100 per cent backing it and said ‘yes, I agree’.

“Regardless of what people say about him (Power), he is genuinely concerned about the club and he wants to move forward.

“But if you don’t engage with supporters, you don’t get that interest in the club and people into your ground.’’

Morfuni returns to Britain next month when he will again sit down with the supporters’ representatives to plot the way towards the ground purchase with the council.

He added: “If we have enough financial backing that we think we have, with the right money and support, Swindon is at minimum a Championship club, and that’s where we want to be at least.

“It’s about trying to rebuild the club and the foundations and the structure.

“It’s a big club and business and our ‘clients’ – the supporters – need to be part of it. That means there needs to be transparency about what we are doing as well.

“It’s such a great opportunity and you have got to stop the infighting.

“I live on the other side of the planet and I’m an Aussie so maybe I just see things differently, but someone just needs to bring it all together.

“I’m not saying everything is going to be perfect, but it has the potential to be something really good.’’