Heartless, conniving and only out for himself without any regard for people not worth millions of dollars.
Fitting with the times we live, Crew SC scumbag owner Anthony Precourt has all but finalized a deal to move the Charter member of Major League Soccer (MLS) away from America’s soccer capital in Columbus, OH westward to Austin, TX in 2019. There’s even a report that Mr. Precourt will be in Austin tomorrow. And the only way to prevent this disgustingly greedy and despicable move is, according to Precourt, for Columbus, OH citizens to fork over the money for a new stadium closer to downtown…or else!
When Anthony Precourt arrived with his venture capitalistic mojo, it was presumed that he would use this business mentality to take the Crew to the next-level. Apparently, his plan all along was to buy an MLS club (the very first one in league history), concoct a contract with a sneaky escape clause (he wouldn’t move the club in 10 years unless that destination was Austin, TX), pretend to care about fans and, behind their backs surely support the registration of two names for an MLS club in Austin.
Earlier this year, Major League Soccer registered “Austin FC” and “Austin Athletic” as trademarks. MLS executive vice president Dan Courtemanche told the Statesman that Austin would not be considered for one of the four remaining expansion slots but did not respond to a question about relocation.
–Kevin Lyttle, Austin American-Statesman, October 17, 2017
Then there’s this.
On the call, the Crew owner said no one from the city had stepped up with a “serious” offer to keep the team in Columbus.
That was disputed by Alex Fischer, CEO of the Columbus Partnership, an organization of top city business leaders.
“We offered to buy, literally, 50 percent of the team,” Fischer told me.
–Laura Newpoff, Columbus Business First, October 17, 2017
“No investor presented an offer,” Precourt said. “We must begin strategic alternatives to secure long-term vitality.”
Again, Fischer disputes that.
“We won’t let emotions override our primary resolve” for the team to remain in the city, Fischer said. “We have specifically asked the owner to propose to us what would work.
“He hasn’t done that yet but we would hope and expect he would. In the meantime, we stand with the members of the team and fans who are very emotional today. We share that emotion.”
–Laura Newpoff, Columbus Business First, October 17, 2017
Does Anthony Precourt remind you of anybody?
The Columbus Crew has won championships (Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, MLS Cup and three Supporters’ Shields). Columbus Crew fans have paid their hard-earned money and supported the club since its debut in 1996 against D.C. United in the Horseshoe. It was a momentous 4-nil win for the Crew. And I should know as I was there with my dad. Fans in Columbus pack the stands beyond capacity to cheer on the red, white and blue with unrivaled pride. Crew Stadium has hosted the most memorable games against That Team Down South (my trademark is still pending) with many iconic “Dos-a-Cero” victories.
If there are business struggles with the club, it’s Anthony Precourt’s job to fix them. Period! That’s why he’s paid a huge salary and has the prestigious title of owner of a storied MLS club. That’s why bought an MLS club, right? To support the club and its city? Wrong.
He’s supposed to care, but he doesn’t.
He doesn’t care about the dedicated fans spanning several generations who will no longer have a professional soccer team to cheer for, support and make cherished memories with Columbus and its iconic Crew Stadium. He doesn’t care about the stadium workers who will be out of a job. He doesn’t care about the storied history of soccer in Columbus, OH, ranging from the Crew to the USMNT to its elite youth club soccer programs. He doesn’t care about Lamar Hunt’s amazing mission and success story in bringing MLS to Columbus. He doesn’t care that he pretended to admire this city and its people. He just doesn’t care.
The problem with all that is that everybody in Columbus cares. A lot!
It’s actually quite difficult to express all my feelings in a single blog post, but this is a mere start (at 1,000+ words). There are more than 20-years of emotions and memories to reflect on, including my trip to Los Angeles to watch the Columbus Crew defeat the New York Red Bulls in the 2008 MLS Cup.
After waiting for more than a decade, with superstars like Brian McBride (MLS’s first overall pick), Brad Friedel and Stern John and many others have proudly sporting the Black & Gold over the years, the Crew finally hoisted the MLS Cup in triumphant glory! I was with my parents and it was truly a surreal and amazing moment. Unforgettable.
The Columbus Crew were, in fact, the MASSIVE champions of Major League Soccer.
I remember the joy, the celebration and the feeling of being a champion because every fan of this club feels like they are part of it, right there on the pitch with the players. And the players and coaches make (made?) sure the fans felt that way. Being a fan of the Crew is a unique experience. We have always been one with the club and the club has always been one with the city, regardless of the no-nothing suits of MLS (cough cough Don Garber) and no-nothing big city critics.
As I mentioned, I watched the Crew win its first MLS Cup in the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles. And while that stadium is newer than Crew Stadium, it looked and felt like every other cookie-cutter MLS stadium you see being built around the league these days. It’s generic. There’s no great story or lineage there. It’s not unique. Now, the Crew winning MLS Cup for its city and its citizens was unique and special. Moreover, Crew Stadium is the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States of America. The USMNT’s best accomplishments are defeating That Team Down South (my trademark is still pending) by “Dos-a-Cero.” Crew Stadium has hosted multiple World Cup qualifying matches, MLS Cups, an All-Star game and women’s World Cup games. Columbus, OH has earned the title as THE soccer capital of the United States.
Columbus’s story is a perfect encapsulation of America’s soccer story in that nothing comes easy and it’s constantly viewed as unable to rise to the occasion. And yet, when that moment arrives, guess who is there to stand tall and deliver unforgettable results with passion, skill and memories unlike any other? That’s right: Columbus.
Columbus’s soccer story is America’s soccer story; one of an underdog that rises to be a champion.
If that first ballot, hall of fame a$$hole Anthony Precourt can’t see that, well…once again, he doesn’t care.
History will show that Columbus’s soccer story has been proud, distinguished, innovative and unrivaled whereas Anthony Precourt’s soccer story is one of failure, deceit, sleaziness and deliberate tragedy that can be found in the gutter of American sports alongside the USMNT that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Somehow, someway, the Crew and its fans need to rise to its fiercest challenge ever:
Much like the Crew’s original logo, it’s time to put on the hard hats and for the city to get to work.
P.S. Want to buy a soccer club, Les Wexner? With a net worth of $5.7 billion, you could continue to support and define the evolving story of Columbus in the only way you know how:
With massive intent and delivery.