As the producer of #SaveTheCrew: The Fans v The System, I would like to take a moment to let all soccer fans know what to expect of this documentary when it is released on Wednesday December 6 (we’re not sure at what time, we’re still finishing it!).
The October 17 revelation that a founder member and cornerstone of Major League Soccer history was in danger of being relocated out of state is a travesty for fans of The Crew and for soccer fans generally. As I am currently resident in Columbus, I saw the emotions play out in real life and in real time.
From my frequent travel around the US, I also noticed that it was a story that was being largely ignored outside of Ohio. It would appear that there are senior figures involved in this story who are okay with that. It seems as long as the only people affected are Columbus Crew fans, it won’t matter. It was this attitude that led me to do something to help.
The film will tell the fans’ stories of following The Crew from its creation in 1994, and the ups and downs that come with a total devotion to your club. It is this message that I believe will strike a chord with the international soccer audience, many of whom may have never watched an MLS game or even know where Columbus is on the map, but will totally identify with the emotional rollercoaster that comes with such undying loyalty.
We should not be in a situation where team owners want people to be fans, yet treat them as mere customers when it suits them. However, I was very careful to present Anthony Precourt and MLS’ side in the best possible way, so we could not be accused of not giving a fair hearing. I have made repeated efforts to contact Anthony through our mutual business friends in the Bay Area, but so far there has been no response.
While the film is built on the emotion of the fans, we do investigate the on-the-record statements made since this story broke. The period of ownership under Precourt Sports Ventures from 2013-2017 is presented very positively – which is largely how it was received at the time. While there are clearly major differences of opinion about soccer’s future viability in Columbus, I have done my absolute best to give both sides of that argument in the hope that those sides can come together and reach a resolution that sees The Crew remain in Columbus for the long-term future.
Even if you are not a soccer fan, this documentary will provoke anger and sympathy, but also laughter, camaraderie, inspiration, and perhaps even a few tears, judging by the raw emotions that came down the camera lens at me during filming, and by how it has made me feel during post-production. By presenting that caveat of emotions, I hope to bring more international attention to the #SaveTheCrew movement.
The Columbus Dispatch newspaper kindly offered their entire print, photo and video archive to me free of charge to help make this film. If I may make one request (other than to actually watch the film when it is released), may I ask that you support the Dispatch, for they have stood together with Crew fans in their hour of greatest need. It is in these times when you discover your true friends.
I have taken no fee for making this film. It is my gift to the people who have followed The Crew for far longer than myself, who have to deal with the emotional effect of business decisions made by faraway people who do not feel the pain involved.
Now if you’ll excuse me, i’ve got a film to get finished….
Save The Crew,