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Below is a previously written Op-Ed piece that our founder, Steve Locker, sent to our local newspaper the Columbus Dispatch on the heels of a disastrous meeting this past fall. The meeting took place in New York at MLS headquarters with Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther, business leader Alex Fischer, and MLS officials, including Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt. Since this article was printed, late last fall, a few new details have come to light, such as Austin’s reluctance to give up centrally located real estate to private development. The announcement by MLS commissioner, Don Garber, that a parallel path was being pursued with city of Columbus officials and business leaders. The parallel path is something that Garber describes as a solution that would see the crew remain in Columbus. We have also had some indications from Precourt that he may not be the best steward for our beloved club. Initial reactions to the announcement about the potential relocation of the Crew from Steve are the following:
Don’t Save The Crew…Just to save the Crew
There’s a perspective missing in the ongoing outpour of strategies that are being floated by various entities in our community. Let’s not forget that Anthony Precourt has put together a team of leaders within the Crew SC organization that has produced (finally) a product that is worthwhile for this soccer snob to enjoy.
Our representatives from the City of Columbus have shown me nothing that seems to be worthy of being called an intelligent and viable proposal for moving forward. When Alex Fischer says that things have been said that are regrettable, what does he mean? When we are told that the city has proposed buying the franchise from Precourt, even though it realizes it cannot turn a profit, that scares me.
I haven’t met Anthony Precourt, but he impresses me with his quality decisions regarding how he has shaped this franchise over the past few years. Yes, I want to see the Crew SC stay in Columbus, but I’m not interested in returning to a watered down version of the quality of soccer that we are now witnessing in Columbus. The MLS is not designed for small franchises like Columbus to be met with success. What is happening right now on the field is the result of excellent leadership.
Kudos to Doug Kridler for showing the kind of initiative that we would like to see from our representatives from the City of Columbus. Maybe the Abbott property won’t work, but I’d like to see someone with Kridler’s leadership skills bring the business leaders of this city to the table and let’s start figuring out a plan that makes sense.
I envision a wildly successful Crew SC with a new stadium in a sexy part of town in the not so distant future. Step aside Fischer and Ginther, I believe that Precourt would enjoy an engaging conversation with like-minded business leaders.