[Review] Save The Crew: The Fans vs The System (2017)

Save The Crew (2017)If they give an Oscar for brilliant documentary made under incredible time pressure, Save the Crew: The Fans vs the System wins hands down. It starts with the first #SaveTheCrew rally:

Morgan Hughes: “This is not over! If you came here for a funeral, you’re in the wrong place!”
Crowd chants: “We’re not done yet!We’re not done yet!”

Producer Sean Kelly, Narrator Scott Sigler, and Ball Street Media concisely present the story of the Columbus Crew. How it started in 1996 as the inaugural and most successful MLS team, beloved by its fans. But after the death of founder Lamar Hunt, the team was neglected into slow decline and then sold to MLS predator and villain Anthony Precourt. At the start of playoffs, on Oct-16-2017, Precourt announced his intention to move the club from Columbus, Ohio to Austin, Texas.

The film presents evidence that the move was surreptitiously set up by MLS itself at the time of Precourt’s 2013 purchase. Says Morgan Hughes,

“We have to do things like this. And we have to show the world that those things that MLS and PSV are putting out there are just not true. So today was another big step toward the goal of proving all these false narratives wrong.”

Citizen data analyst Tim Myers disputes the so-called “business metrics” that Don Garber has cited in endorsing the move.

  • Columbus had more >60 sponsors and more sponsors than the average MLS club
  • Precourt complained that support at Columbus was not wide-spread, and characterized it as “an inch wide and a mile deep”. But Columbus had twice the per-capita attendance of major cities.
  • Average team attendance was down this year, but 1/3 of the decline was statistically attributable to sub-optimal scheduling
  • The Crew was the only team that went 3 years with only one DP, even though DPs add to home game attendance

In other words, to side with Alejandro Moreno, MLS owners have been “tanking” the club. It appears MLS and Don Garber have made the Columbus Crew fit business metrics that predict their case.

The film is not all drama and exposé. Besides the fan stories, the crowds, and the tailgates, the film shows how the Nordecke supporters group makes their giant TIFOs in a process they call #TIFOSweat inside the Land-Grant Brewing Company.

The film doesn’t show much soccer, as it is really about the fans. Jack to a King is another film about fans trying to save a team (Swansea City). But Save the Crew is a different beast of a football film because it has been produced in the middle of the conflict. There is a small chance that the #SaveTheCrew movement could keep the team in Columbus. We can only hope they succeed.

In English, 100 minutes
Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 9

Resources:
Released: 2017-12-08 (USA video)
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7746320/
Director/Producers: Sean Kelly and Ball Street Media  (@BallStreet)
Stars: Morgan Hughes , Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch , mother of Alex Crognale , narrator Scott Sigler
Watch the Film
Website: savethecrew.com