When Columbus Crew SC began its game against the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night, many expected an action-packed match on the pitch. Fans were treated to a great evening of soccer at Providence Park with the host Timbers knocking off the Black & Gold by the score of 3-2.
It wasn’t the action on the pitch that took the headlines in Columbus though, but rather what occurred off the pitch that has many Crew SC fans aggravated. Fans at the game reported seeing Black & Gold investor/operator Anthony Precourt amongst the crowd at Providence Park. The Crew SC owner has drawn the ire of fans over the last 11 months, ever since he stated his intentions of potentially relocating the Columbus team to Austin, Texas.
The rumor continued into Thursday afternoon with no photographic evidence of the Crew SC owner being in attendance. However as Twitter users in the Save The Crew movement began conversing, a photo emerged confirming the reports from Wednesday evening.
I didn’t see him but met someone who did pic.twitter.com/HQE9Mp6MBp— savethecrew (@BCWEIS) September 20, 2018
Yes, that’s Crew SC investor/operator J.Anthony Precourt (middle of photo) attending a match in Portland, Oregon. To be fair, this isn’t anything out of the ordinary for Precourt. He’s lives on the West Coast and frequents stadiums that are close to his home in California. Couple that with the fact he is friends with Timbers owner (er, investor/operator) Meritt Paulson and the facts add up quickly from there. However, the timing of Precourt’s appearance is odd and puzzling.
He emerges from a tough battle with the City of Austin and Austin City Council in an effort to gain the rights to stadium site, McKalla Place. Precourt is engaged in a contentious legal battle with the State of Ohio and the City of Columbus in regards to Ohio Revised Code 9.67, and frankly has had little to do with soccer operations in Columbus the last 11 months.
So why go out of the way to attend a Crew SC match, and why now?
Ever since that fateful night in October, much has come to light. Fans are aware that every business decision that Precourt conjured up was made with alternative plans in mind. The investor-operator has allowed MAPFRE Stadium to fall into disarray. Loose handrails, broken faucets, mouse droppings, a leaking press box, it’s all been documented. The stadium is in such bad shape, that Lamar Hunt has to be cursing from the heavens above.
Why not come back to Columbus, Anthony? See what you’ve done, and speal to the media. Let us know why you are doing it, open up the books, and educate us on the “business metrics” so that we can “respect the ambition.” Tell us why you chased great people out of the front office, and allowed the home of U.S. Soccer to fall into disrepair.
Could you be afraid of what you created? The fact that you’ve actually done something good? You’ve awoken a beast and it’s something that scares you. Save The Crew is something you didn’t expect to occur. A movement that dispels every bit of propaganda you recite to justify your move out of Central Ohio. You didn’t think fans would mobilize with a mission to save the thing you are out to destroy.
But we hope you enjoyed the game. #SaveTheCrew