When a club is eliminated from the playoffs it allows fans and players a chance to decompress and unwind from a long season. This hasn’t been the case for Columbus Crew SC.
It’s been a long and frustrating offseason ever since Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl leaked a story in mid-October that Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt was looking into relocating the club to Austin, Texas in 2019.
Since that announcement there have been several developments.
A documentary about Crew SC was released, a grassroots campaign was born in #SaveTheCrew, and several businesses stepped up to support the cause of keeping soccer in Central Ohio.
On Monday evening, fans had the opportunity to speak with sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter and President of Business Operations Andy Loughnane at the annual Supporter’s Summit.
The attendance for the event was limited to 200 participants and all of the tickets were claimed in approximately 15 minutes. The supporter’s groups requested the meeting be relocated to allow for a bigger crowd. That request was reportedly denied by the front office to keep the event consistent with previous seasons.
Supporters took to social media to inform those who weren’t fortunate enough to get a seat in the meeting what was going on.
Things started off well as supporter’s caught up after the offseason. The various supporters groups of Crew SC announced they were unifying and selling a single Nordecke membership, rather than various singular memberships. This was a huge development, but many awaited the Q&A with Loughnane and Berhalter.
Some fans remained optimistic about re-opening the lines of communication with the Crew SC front office.
Q&A of Tonight's Supporters Summit. https://t.co/JxHYctDnvn #Crew96 #SaveTheCrew #MLS2ATX pic.twitter.com/rQw3jcu7gV— CREWTURE.NET (@crewture) February 13, 2018
I hope that tonight’s Supporters Summit can be a constructive and civil meeting between fans and ownership. Hopefully, we can start rebuilding bridges and reopening lines of communication. #CrewSC— Alex Stanek (@AlexStanek) February 12, 2018
Worth mentioning that tonight every #CrewSC supporter group announced that they were officially coming together as one.— Morgan Hughes (@Morgan_Hughes) February 13, 2018
Believe me when I say that this is not a small detail. Believe me when I say that this took years of hard work to accomplish.
You are my people. #SaveTheCrew https://t.co/5iOVPx27C2
My personal take on supporters summit: (1 of 2) #SaveTheCrew— Jon C (@ARMYSFCCRYE) February 13, 2018
#1 Damn I missed all those people, as much as it's about soccer, and winning, for me it's about all the great people I've met.
#2 Gregg Berhalter is truly a great guy as well as a good coach.
Per Andy, The crew started with 14 potential sites in Columbus, they have narrowed it down to 3 sites that they have interest in: franklinton, Abbott, and old casino site. #SaveTheCrew— tim koenig (@tkgunnerfan) February 13, 2018
Fans engaged with President of Business Operations Andy Loughnane and proceedings began to degenerate.
Post Supporters Summit; #Crew96 thoughts... @LockCrewSC lack of support for the Marketing team very apparent, Pretty much threw Phil Goldfarb @PhilGoldfarb under the bus for being ineffective. #SackPhil #SaveTheCrew. Good job keeping meeting on track @Morgan_Hughes— BLACKout (@Twcblackout) February 13, 2018
.@LockCrewSC tried to argue that local ownership isn't a prerequisite to success; lots of other sports teams are successful despite no local ownership— Brian (@V1andRotate) February 13, 2018
I should have asked him how many successful MLS teams have out of town ownership.#SaveTheCrew #Crew96
Emphasis on a big corporate sponsorship. Many direct questions from supporters “what can I do to help?” The passion was there. The short answer is we are not the people with enough money to help. #SaveTheCrew— Matt Fisher (@Fish_outofH2O) February 13, 2018
How can it be possible that contractually obligated income to get a bank to loan money to finance a stadium's construction is instantly available in Austin, but not in Columbus after 20+ years? Something's fishy. #SaveTheCrew— throwingsofas (@throwingsofas) February 13, 2018
Regardless of the proceedings fans can agree they still have to cheer for the Black & Gold.
Berhalter and his team are looking forward to seeing fans pack MAPFRE Stadium on March 10 against Montreal and want to feel a home-field advantage.
Gregg says to make Mapfre a home field advantage spread the passion of the nordecke to the entire stadium #SaveTheCrew— Rob (@rpgardner) February 13, 2018