FC Cincinnati fans head up I-71 to help #SaveTheCrew in Columbus
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRC)- Dozens of FC Cincinnati fans went to Columbus Saturday but it wasn’t because the two teams were playing.
Gary Randolph said he's been an FCC fan since day one.
"[I] went to almost every home game the second year and became a season ticket holder this year," Randolph said.
Randolph helped organize the trip north to #SaveTheCrew the Columbus Crew SC. Precourt Sports Ventures, the group behind the Columbus Crew said it was interested in relocating the team to Austin, Texas.
"What's going on in Columbus is not good for soccer in any manner. One of your founding teams is being threatened to be taken away so we want to show our support," Randolph said.
FCC fans said it's about more than just keeping a second Major League Soccer team in the state. They say the FC Cincinnati Vs Columbus Crew SC rivalry could be one of the greatest in all of Major League Soccer.
David Kerstein, a life-long soccer fan also came along for the trip. He said he’s impressed by how the city of Cincinnati has embraced the team.
"There's nothing like it in this country. It's one of the biggest fan bases and growing every day," Kerstein said.
Between home and away series, the Open Cup and playoff matchups the teams could play several times a year.
"They'll bring many, many fans to Nippert [Stadium] right now and to the new stadium and vice versa. We'll take a lot of fans to Columbus to spend money, stay in hotels and just enjoy the weekend," Kerstein said.
Randolph says nearly 2,000 FCC fans went to Indianapolis when the two teams played.
"If the Crew is not there for FC Cincinnati fans, that means our closest rival is in Chicago. Which is a five-hour trip. Nashville down the road but it's unlikely you're going to get 2,000 traveling fans at a five-hour trip like that." Randolph said.
Local 12’s Christian Hauser talked with Andrew Johnson, who was born in Cincinnati but now lives in Columbus. Johnson said he has been a fan of the Columbus Crew since the team came into existence. Johnson remembers in October when the management said it was looking to move the team to Austin.
"It was one of the worst days I've ever had as a sports fan in general," Johnson said.
Columbus Crew fans were happy to see the support, even if it was coming from their biggest rival.
"Right now we're cousins. We may fight next year but right now we're going to do what we can to fight together," Johnson said.
"It's a huge, huge rivalry and it needs to be saved for the city and the state," Kerstein said.