SWINDON Town has announced around £3million worth of long-term debt, secured against the club by previous owners, have now been cleared.
The £2.95million debenture that arose following the decision of former owner Andrew Black to sell Town back in 2012 was later purchased by Lee Power.
Swindon’s previous guardian has now been paid off, and the club is now hopeful of being able to build a more sustainable and stable future.
When current custodian Clem Morfuni took over the club in July 2021, Town were lumbered with a total of £7.5million worth of overall debt.
After reducing the external money owed by £3.5million in a little over a year, the significant further clearance of debt means Swindon only owe around £1million. That is made up of an EFL hardship loan and a disputed bill of around £300,000 with Centreplate.
In a statement released by the club announcing what it called “a huge step towards financial security”, Town said: “Swindon Town can today confirm that all historic debentures, or debts secured against the football club under previous regimes, have now been paid off.
“The move signals a huge step towards complete financial security for the football club, with £2.95million cleared by our owner, Clem Morfuni, with the help of our dedicated fans, sponsors and partners.
“Clem took over at SN1 back in July last year with the club under a transfer embargo… On completing his takeover, he inherited an external debt of £4.5million, comprising of money owed to HMRC, the EFL, the local council and several other outstanding arrears.
“In addition to this, there was also the £2.95million ‘debenture’ that arose following the decision of former owner Andrew Black to sell Town back in 2012, with the money secured against the club, similar to a mortgage, for almost ten years - until today.”
Commenting on the latest milestone, Morfuni said: “I’m pleased to confirm that the historic debentures against the football club have now been satisfied.
“An incredible amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to get to this stage, and this signifies a really positive step for the future of Swindon Town.
“I would also like to pay tribute to our fans, sponsors and partners who have also paid a huge part in driving us towards this landmark achievement.
“Your support over the past 14-months, both on the pitch and off it, has been fantastic, and I feel we’ve all helped lay the strong foundations we need to take our great club forward.
“With our plans to purchase our stadium alongside our supporters progressing well, the future of this great club is looking very bright.”
Town’s Chief Executive, Rob Angus, added: “Thanks to Clem and the backing of our fans, sponsors and partners, the core of this football club is the strongest it’s been for generations.
“These foundations are essential if we are to continue building to ensure continued success moving forward, and that is exactly what we are doing under Clem’s ownership.
“I’ve no doubt exciting times lie ahead for Swindon Town with our fans by our side. A huge thank you for all your support.”
Swindon also stated that the club’s significant steps in laying strong foundations will make another huge leap in the coming months as it looks to continue the join-venture purchase of the County Ground.
In the recent Fans’ Forum, Morfuni announced that the deposit for the stadium would be paid by January 31, 2023.
Town’s statement on the debenture being cleared also featured a nod to the County Ground purchase.
The club said: “This significant step in laying strong foundations will take another huge step forward in the coming months as we look to purchase The County Ground from Swindon Borough Council with our supporters in a unique fifty-fifty ownership structure. “The deal will be funded by the Nigel Eady Trust Fund – a huge Town fan who left a significant legacy when he sadly passed for the benefit of the football club, it’s fans and the local community.”
A spokesperson for The Nigel Eady Trust Fund, said: “Our trustees are delighted to hear of the progress Clem and everyone behind the scenes at the club has made in moving the club to a much more stable financial position. “We are now significantly closer towards Nigel’s legacy being used in the way he would have wished, which is fantastic.”