Mark Titus on #SaveTheCrew and the Fan-Driven Efforts That Saved Columbus
On the new episode of the Planet Fútbol Podcast, SI.com speaks to Columbus Crew superfan Mark Titus of The Ringer and One Shining Podcast about the remarkable story of #SaveTheCrew, the fan-driven effort that bucked the odds and prevented the Columbus Crew from moving to Austin, Texas.
You can listen to the full episode in the podcast console below and subscribe to and download the Planet Fútbol Podcast on iTunes. Recent guests include USWNT star Julie Ertz, Bundesliga-based U.S. national team rising stars Josh Sargent and Tyler Adams, The Ringer's Bill Simmons, ESPN's Katie Nolan, former U.S. women's national team forward Abby Wambach and former U.S. men's forward Eddie Johnson.
Here are some of Titus’s most intriguing responses during the interview:
On what he remembers from the start of #SaveTheCrew:
“To their credit, they were steadfast. We had a rally in downtown Columbus at City Hall, a big Save The Crew rally…it was pretty quickly after the news broke. And they asked me to come down and speak. I remember going to it thinking, this is going to be dumb. There’s going to be 30 people there at most…this isn’t really a thing. And I get down there, and there were hundreds and hundreds of people. It was crazy how many people showed up. Former Crew players were there. I was very in over my head. I was like, why would you guys ask me to speak at this thing? I remember thinking at that moment, I don’t know if we’re going to save the team…but I was 100 percent sure they were going to give everything they had.”
On whether MLS commissioner Don Garber is a hero or villain in the Save The Crew story?
“It’s hard. He’s playing both sides pretty well. That was the weird thing for me, was how he would just kind of shrug his shoulders and say, ‘I don’t know, man, if [former Crew owner Anthony] Precourt wants to move….’We're not like the first team ever [in MLS]? Is this not like the first [soccer-specific] stadium in the history of soccer in America? I’m not a soccer historian by any means, but I was like, this is kind of like sacred ground-ish. I know it was like the ‘90s, so it’s not that old, but at the same time, what? So it was very strange that Garber was like, ‘I don’t know, this is the way business is going nowadays.’ I would say so much of my hatred is pointed toward Precourt that I don’t really care that much about Garber. I just don’t want Garber to pretend like he’s a hero in all this. I’m fine with being indifferent toward him, but I just don’t want him to be like, ‘You guys are welcome, I did this for you.’ Because he definitely did not.”
On what it will be like when Precourt’s Austin FC comes to play in Columbus:
“Oh my god. That is going to be so awesome. You said MLS needs more villains. This is going to be so exciting. You saw what happened when Precourt actually came to one game at Crew Stadium, the playoff game. I can’t wait. I have a feeling he might not make it to that one. Something might come up, and the man himself might not be able to make it.”