New STFC owner is Australian plumbing magnate and committed Town fan

By Barrie Hudson - 22 July 2021

Sport

The new owner and chairman of Swindon Town FC has made three key appointments in his first 24 hours since taking over.

Australian Clem Morfuni, founder and chief of Axis Plumbing Group, has appointed Rob Angus as Chief Executive, Ben Chorley as Director of Football and Ben Garner as Head Coach.

In his first statement as owner, Mr Morfuni reassured fans, saying: "Many people have questioned why a successful plumber who runs, owns business that turns over $200m a year globally and lives on the other side of the world wants to own an English League Two club. 

"The first reason is: I am the biggest football fan in the world. I play 11 side 2 times a week (very badly I might add). I set my alarm to wake me up in the middle of the night to watch Premier League games; when in England, I organise my meetings and my work schedule to try and see as many games as I can. I don’t know why, but I’m football mad.

"The second reason is I am now a complete Swindon Town fan. I have as many friends in Swindon as I do in Sydney. I got introduced to the club by [director] Zavier Austin 7 years ago. I became a shareholder and since then I have grown to love the club and the supporters of it and fully understand how important the club is to them. 

"I want to give the supporters a club they deserve. I also want to put on record my thanks to Zav, firstly for bringing me to the club and secondly for all his support over the last 18 months and helping me to get to this position. Zav will be on the advisory board which will be assembled in the coming weeks and will be very much a part of taking this club forward."

Mr Morfuni said: "Before I map out my intentions and my plans for the club I want to tell the fans that you’ve got your club back, a football club should be the heartbeat of the town and the local community and should be something that the whole town and surrounding communities takes great pride in. Without fans you don’t have a club and I want to thank every supporter (many who I have got to know personally) who have fought for their club and helped me to gain control. I know I am indebted to you and will work hard to make this club a club all our fans can be proud of. Last season we came last in the football league in terms of fan engagement; this season I aim to come first.

"I want to make some promises to you the fans: I will not take any money out of this club, I don’t need to. I will invest my money and my time; I will be over as often as I can (or as much as my family will let me); I don’t want to be an aloof owner on the other side of the world; I want to go on this journey with you, I want to be in the town end with you. My aim isn’t to use the club as a vehicle to pay for my lifestyle. I will provide full transparency of the financial position of the club at all times."

Later, announcing the appointment of Rob Angus as Chief Executive, Mr Morfuni issued a statement saying: "I want a Chief Executive I can trust, has strong business and financial acumen and someone who will connect with the local community and fans and importantly someone who loves our football club and is a real fan. 

"Over the last 3 years I have worked closely with Rob and the Supporters Trust and through that time he has illustrated to me that he has the care and passion for our Club, knowledge of the local community and the commercial and business skills and experience to drive our Club forwards under my stewardship.  

"I know that after 25 years of working in a great national but locally based business such as Nationwide, in a number of roles from Strategy, Finance and leading business lines, that Rob has some amazing experience and skills which will benefit STFC.  Importantly, I know Nationwide has a great culture for its Employees and Members which is something that Rob is steeped in, and I am hoping he will help to spread that culture throughout the club. 

"This will support our rebuild effort and encourage positive and supportive attitudes throughout, which I believe is an important foundation to help drive Swindon Town forward to success.

"Please support Rob and our new management team, I have complete faith that they are people to take this club forward but they’re going to need patience and time because they inherit an extremely difficult set of circumstances. As I have said before, if we stay united, if we all pull in the same direction then together with your incredible support together we will turn this great club around."

Announcing the appointment of Ben Chorley as Director of Football and Ben Garner as Head Coach, Mr Morfuni praised both men and said: "I want a director of football and head coach model rather than a traditional manager because I want continuity to run through the club. If the head coach moves on, the philosophy of the club carries on and the playing squad does not need to be a complete overhaul. The Head Coach will be part of the process of recruiting players."

 

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