CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When Greenbrier Sporting Club resident Gene Thompson moved to West Virginia in 1988 he never imagined his favorite NFL team would one day move with him, if only for a few weeks a summer.

Thompson, who was born and grew up in New Orleans, is ecstatic with the recent announcement that the New Orleans Saints will hold part of a their preseason camp at The Greenbrier, just a few short miles from Thompson’s home.

“I couldn’t have been any more excited when I heard about it,” Thompson told MetroNews recently. “My dad and I were at the first-ever Saints game and my dad was a season ticket holder until he died and I’ve been a Saints fan since I’ve been in 7th grade.”

Thompson said the Saints, like most NFL teams, have a loyal fan base and he predicted many will travel to the Greenbrier Valley to watch preseason practices in late July and early August.

“I know 50 people who are coming. Half of those are my family members,” he said. “There will be a lot of people who come up and watch the Saints practice, a lot of golfers. It will be bustling.”

Greenbrier owner Jim Justice is building three practice fields and a large multi-use building to house the Saints for at least the next three preseasons. Justice plans to take advantage of a tax credit offered in the revived Tourism Development Act.

Thompson, a self-ascribed transplanted West Virginian, said he can’t get over the news.

“I’m so excited I can’t stand it. It’s going to be great,” he predicted.


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  • Al Sharpless&MSLED NEWS

    Crime rate triples in Greenbrier County for 3 weeks a year.

  • MOCO man

    Not a Saints fan but I will enjoy watching these guys practice.......cheer up guys!!! Guess there are just a lot more miserable people that love to cry around here than I realized......

  • just sayin

    So, now will the training camp be considered a "special event" that anyone visiting the practice can go gamble?? There were supposed to be provisions in the original law that local residents could not gamble, and you had to be an overnight guest, but it seems that's been thrown out with the bath water. Lots of ways to get around the law..just sayin..

  • jay zoom

    what the hell does a team need three practice fields for, does Luck have a hand in this or just in the parking lots. before this is all over get out your purses and wallets no matter what you come to the greenbrier for football gambling golf or what ever.

  • wvu999

    It's always great when a poor guy from the sporting club catches a break.

    • Uncle Unctuous

      Splendid. Played that one just right.

  • Mister G!

    Jim Justice thanks MetroNews for this great p.r. piece ...

  • Billy

    Happy- happy---happy