COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Fans of the Columbus Crew SC are devastated, after learning their team might be moving to Austin, Texas.
“I actually woke up with a feeling of grief,” said Stefanie Olejniczak.
Like many Crew fans, she said she feels betrayed. Olejniczak is a die-hard fan, who applied and was selected to be apart of the club’s Membership Advisory Board earlier this year.
“This is an owner that’s turned his back on our city and I wanted people to know that,” she said.
On Tuesday morning, in a letter addressed to owner Anthony Precourt, she resigned from the board.
“I’m walking away from something that I was really proud to be a part of,” said Olejniczak. “I don’t want to continue to give support to an organization that is going to betray the city that I’ve come to love.”
She said ‘club and city together’ means so much to her.
“I’ve seen Justin Meram at Pins more than once,” said Olejniczak. “The ads where you see the players sitting down by the Scioto Mile…that’s real. You see them out there sometimes. This is a team that’s part of the city and for me that was what was most appealing.”
Another super-fan Homer Olsen said he only slept for a few hours after hearing the news last night.
“It’s like I lost a close friend, a loved one. That’s how invested a lot of people are in this city,” said Olsen. “They were the first professional team in the MLS. We were the very first team. For them to leave, it’s heartbreaking.”
It’s still unknown of what may happen next for the Crew, but fans like Olejniczak and Olsen said they will still support the players, who’ve given them so much over the last several years.
As fans struggle to cope with the news, the local businesses that fans flock to on game days are worried about what losing the team could mean for them.
Some of the Crew’s biggest fans come to Hendoc’s Pub on High Street, but now it’s been a different feeling inside. The bar’s assistant manager William Decker says he and other bar owners are very upset about the possibility of the Columbus Crew relocating to Texas.
Though it’s too early to tell how much this bar will suffer financially, he says he expects between a 10 to 15 percent decrease in profit.
“We are losing 30 to 40 good operating days based on the home games and the away games . We do tons with the away games and whatnot,” said Decker.
Other business said they are concerned as well and right now they’re just hoping the Crew stays right here in Columbus.