Swindon announced on their official website yesterday that a deal with potential new owners BEST Holdings had fallen through – but announced new investors had emerged with money to enable Town to keep the taxman at bay and offer “renewed optimism for the future.”
The club's statement declared “An agreed payment to HMRC has been made which will stay any potential legal proceedings while a period of due diligence takes place - this assurance has now been confirmed to the supervisor of the club's Company Voluntary Arrangement by the Inland Revenue!”
But TrustSTFC Chairman Paul Davis says it will take more than “vague promises” to appease supporters who fear their beloved club is edging ever closer to the abyss.
“At the present moment protests are still being planned for this weekend, although, after advice from Wiltshire police we are advising against a pitch invasion”, Davis said.
“Yesterday's news merely buys the current owners a bit more time but we're still of the opinion that they need to do a deal to sell the club to secure the medium and long term future of the club, rather than merely buying a bit more time to stave off a winding up order from the taxman for the time being.”
And Davis believes fans will continue to share his scepticism until any takeover deal is finally completed and all Swindon Town's outstanding debts have been paid in full.
Davis said: “If the club has secured a stay of execution from the Inland Revenue on the basis of dealing with yet another new investor, then that is to be welcomed - if the immediate threat from our club has been removed then all Town fans will be pleased about that.”
“But there will be a lot of people that greet this new statement with more scepticism than it deserves because we were all told on the club's website a few days ago that the deal with BEST Holdings was complete. That turned out to be premature and I'm no more certain the board can do a deal with a new mystery investor than they could with BEST.
“There is not enough information to conclude that this is anything other than a temporary stay of execution.”
Fans' protests are still scheduled to take place before and after Saturday's League One match with Tranmere Rovers at the County Ground, though Davis knows opinions among Town fans will be divided.
“We have received police advice that a pitch invasion is unacceptable and therefore the Trust cannot condone any action that is illegal, and we would urge all Town fans not to follow that course of action”, he said.
“We are in on-going discussions about the possibility of a symbolic march and protest at the “Magic” Roundabout, and we will review these actions in the light of the club's statement and further advice from the police – but if any protest did take place it must be peaceful and within the bounds of the law.
“I would urge everyone in Swindon, not just fans of the football club, to turn up on Saturday and give Paul Sturrock and the team the support they fully deserve."