The big news this week, in the world of Major League Soccer, is that Columbus Crew chairman Anthony Precourt is prepared to relocate the club to Austin, Texas.
There has been an angry reaction to this news (Rightly so!) and fans from all clubs in MLS have rallied round those of Columbus in support, and that is absolutely marvellous to see. Hats off.
I understand, and have learned that relocating clubs is something that has happened before in American sports, such as American Football and Baseball.
Soccer is a totally different sport, and it is unique. Relocation is something that shouldn’t creep into US Soccer if it wants to improve and become a force.
Soccer is all about having a club, an integral part of the community it’s located in. The club brings people together, and gives the supporters something to be proud of, and take them away from every day life.
How can you rip a club away from die-hard supporters, that have followed the club for over 20 years? The idea of treating loyal fans like this disgusts me.
The chairman of Columbus Crew Anthony Precourt has said he could take the club to Austin, Texas.
Admittedly, I’m not an expert on how well each sport does in different areas of the United States, but would taking the Crew to Texas even be a success? With all due respect to FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo, they don’t exactly blow the league away with attendances.
Imagine being a loyal follower of Columbus Crew and you dedicate your weekends to following them, spending hard earned money in the process. Then one day, an individual decides to move your club over a thousand miles away from your community. Is that really acceptable?
Like me, as an Englishman. If my team Huddersfield Town moved far away, abandoning its fans, I would literally give up on the sport I have loved all my life.
You follow your club, because it’s the heart of your community and it will always be a part of you. There’s just no way I could forget about my team, and support another.
If the Crew relocate, then collectively we have failed to help the loyal fans and community of Columbus, and we haven’t done enough.
We cannot let this become something that can happen in Major League Soccer, it needs protecting, as do the fans.
Let’s all get behind the #SaveTheCrew campaign.
Come on, Anthony Precourt. This is an open letter to you.
Do the right thing, and keep Columbus Crew in Columbus.