Next up is everyone’s favorite Kiwi. Well, Mel from Flight of the Conchords had two Kiwis she liked more, so everyone is probably a stretch. Anyway, Duncan Oughton was a beloved fixture in Crewville from 2001-2010 and he is as delighted as anyone that the Crew will remain in Columbus for decades to come. Here’s what he had to say during our phone conversation tonight…
On the Crew being officially saved:
It’s awesome, especially because part of the ownership is Pete Edwards, who I’ve had a closer relationship with than probably a lot of the guys. My surgeries and the insurance company probably paid for half of his portion of the team, so you could say that I am part owner of the team. My right knee may be a small part owner of the Columbus Crew. I feel partially responsible for the purchase because I don’t know if he would have had enough money if it weren’t for me and my right knee. You’ll have to ask Pete Edwards about that. I’d hate to think that he wouldn’t admit that.
On the Crew being officially saved (second attempt):
It was a rollercoaster, right? It was hard for me because in my position (with the Sport Invest player agency), I couldn’t be as outspoken as a lot of people probably wanted me to and deep down I wanted to. [NOTE: Oughton was nonetheless one of the first players to speak to me on the record after the potential relocation was first announced.] At first, I was thinking this could never happen, but then it was like, gosh, it’s going to happen.
Then the whole #SaveTheCrew got involved and the whole community got involved. For me, that was so amazing to see. Obviously the Haslams and the Edwardses, I can’t personally thank enough because my daughter will now be able to go to Crew games hopefully forever. But just the people in the community is why I loved Columbus so much. The organization was great, but it was the community and the fans. People would come up and say it was great to see you, but in a polite way. Or when you’re getting a coffee and the cashier tells you it’s been paid for and they wouldn’t even say who they were. They just wanted to buy your coffee. Things like that, those small gestures, I think when everyone got together and pulled their weight on, it made it happen. So many people, yourself included, ex-players, fans, businesses in the community…what the team had been lacking was that community feeling. It was always there, and you felt it as a player, but for some reason it had wavered. Well, we all know the reason, but we won’t name the reason. I think it was great to get that back.
Going forward, it’s huge not only for Columbus, but the team on the field. Now they will have the feeling that I had when I played. It had been wavering for a while due to all of the uncertainty. Deep in your heart, you always want your club to be successful. In my new job, where I’m placing players and stuff, even with no players in Columbus, I always check the Columbus score. It’s one of those things. It’s strange, but you can’t help it. Now I feel like there is even more reason to check. I feel like I do have players on the team in Pete Edwards and the whole community. It’s pretty awesome. If I had to describe it in two words, I’d say, “Yeaaaaaah buddy!”
Oh, and it was nice to see #Crew96 back. I was pretty pumped about that, just on a side note. No more Crew SC.
On Dr. Edwards joining Duncan’s right knee as part of the ownership group:
I always tried to avoid the doctors, but he kept luring me in somehow. I think he paid the opposition to kick me in the knee numerous times. He always wanted the best for the team. Even if he had five patients waiting, he’d find a way to sneak you in the back and check on you as soon as possible and help out because it was helping the team. He was always passionate and willing to talk. He was always there at games. He’s always been a huge part of it for as long as I remember. And as we know, Sirk, as you get older, the memory starts to go, but those memories will always remain. I just remember him as being a staple and caring, whether about the individual or the whole team. You always felt like he cared and you were always comfortable. Whenever I got hurt, I always knew I was going to be in good hands. I think, along with the addition of the Haslams, the Crew is in good hands. Pete is just a wonderful guy. I’ll be looking forward to buying him a nice bottle of wine as a little thank you when I get the opportunity to see him next.
I saw an Edwards 96 jersey today, and you know what? I might just have to get myself one. I never thought I’d say I’d have a Dr. Edwards jersey hanging in my office, but you know what? I might just have to get that.
On being a Browns fan and having the Browns ownership play a vital role in saving the Crew:
I like to consider myself an honorary member of the Hudson Street Hooligans and I was given the opportunity to become a Browns fan and I felt it was silly not to take up that opportunity. Now I’m REALLY a Browns fan! I was a Browns fan before, but now I feel like I have orange and brown blood mixing alongside my Columbus gold blood.
On the fans succeeding in their fight to #SaveTheCrew:
It was first-class. It was a big part why the team is staying there. I hope that—and I hope that people don’t take this the wrong way—but I hope that it’s not just about the fight to keep the team, but the fight to help the team in the future. I hope it continues on and is forever like that. This is a club and an ownership group that deserves it. It’s a lot of money to put up to buy a team, so they deserve that.
And I think hopefully the team recognizes the fans, and every time they pull on the jersey, they respect what the community did to allow them to play in Columbus and they play with that extra bit of passion. I think that would thank the fans more than anything. There are so many fans that came together that you can’t even name them, but collectively they’re known as #SaveTheCrew, and hopefully they feel that extra fight and extra bite in return, because wow, it was something. A pretty intelligent and collective effort. A passionate, intelligent, collective fight.
On Mike Clark referring to him as the “crazy uncle” of the Crew family earlier tonight:
That’s weird considering he’s my dad. If he claims to be my dad, how am I an uncle? That would mean I’m his brother. He’s a lot older than me and I don’t think he realizes it.
A MASSIVE SEASON is now available as an ebook.