THE purchase of the County Ground by Swindon Town Supporters’ Trust could provide the foundations for a bid to buy the club, according to external director James Phipps.

Speaking at last night’s fans’ meeting at the MECA, the Trust, led by chairman Steve Mytton provided an update on how their plans to purchase Swindon’s stadium were progressing, having revealed their ambitions at their annual general meeting in March.

And while a bid is yet to be accepted by the council, who own the ground and surrounding land, let alone the funding, the Trust have made it public that the County Ground will be the first piece of the jigsaw as they look to position themselves to be a viable option should the club come up for sale.

With emotions running high around current owner Lee Power, the Trust are keen to make clear that they have no intention of forcing anybody out, but would like to be ‘the first port of call’ should Power ever decide to sell up.

“The reaction tonight has been hugely positive,” Phipps told the Adver.

“I think people genuinely feel now like the Trust is a genuine alternative to go forward.

“Everyone understands the complications with ownership of the club, some of those things we can’t control, what we can do is get everything ready as much as we can.

“If we can try and own the ground and at some point make a successful bid when that time comes for the current owner to move on, then stuff needs to happen for us to get into that place.

“You can’t force someone to sell, if they don’t want to sell.

“The current owner (Lee Power) has made it very clear that he doesn’t want to sell.

“We are owner neutral. We don’t own the footballing share but we’re the guardians of the club in the long term.

“We can control making a bid for the County Ground and actually we can control making a bid to buy the club.

“We can’t force someone to sell either of those two things but the council conversations have given huge positivity to make me think that one is absolutely a doable deal.

“The ownership, that might need a bit more time.”

With a 51 per cent fan ownership mooted, funded by community shares, it may seem like the stuff of fiction at this stage, but Phipps is adamant that he can see the proposal come to fruition.

“On a personal note, I came from a council house in Pinehurst,” he added.

“Everything I have achieved in the business world is because I aimed high.

“You have got to try and have a bit of vision and a bit of drive on these things.

“We can sit there and try and be through the same cycles we have been through with administrations and various owners that have had various motivations.

“The only way to really change that is to start holding some of the cards. If we own some of the cards, in owning the County Ground, we take one part of that domain in our control, for the first time in the history of the club.

“I have never failed at anything in my business life that I have set out to achieve, I will certainly not fail on doing this.

“It really is an opportunity to put the flag in the ground and get everyone to rally together.

“There are tens of thousands of fans, they’re not going to the games for various reasons, and I include myself in that, but it is now about saying, this is the thing to work in the medium to long term.

“The fan ownership of the football club is not if, it is when.”