Echoes from Philly
Intimation in the column some time ago that a movement to transfer the Bethlehem soccer franchise to Philadelphia was under consideration, a report that was neither denied nor confirmed, is now partly borne out by echoes emanating from the Quaker City. Commenting on the probability of the Bethlehem team doing its stuff in Philly in the future, Levi Wilcox, soccer scribe for the Philadelphia Inquirer, types the following: “The first move by the Bethlehem Steel management to bring the team to this city to play the remaining games in the Atlantic Coast League series was started last week when Pres. Charles Blamphin, of the Football Association of Eastern Pennsylvania and district, received a ‘phone call regarding permission from the state body for Bethlehem to change their grounds. This, however, is only a matter of courtesy on the part of the Bethlehem management, particularly as the Atlantic Coats look, in which the Steelmen are affiliated, is an active member of the United States Football Association, and, therefore, is subject only to the rulings of the parent body. While it was not stated if permission was granted by the Eastern district president for the Steel booters to cavort on one of the Philadelphia grounds, no matter what happens, information has been received from a reliable source that Bethlehem will finish the season in Philadelphia. It has been known by this writer for some time that the Bethlehem team would likely finish the season in this city. Since the opening of the Coast League series at Bethlehem, the support has been so meager that Bethlehem has dropped short in nearly every game in covering expenses. Since the Phils disbanded the major league teams comprising Fall River, New York Nationals, Providence, Brooklyn Wanderers, New Bedford and others have been anxious to have Philadelphia represented in the big prof circuit. With Bethlehem here, it will also make it possible to witness the strongest teams in action in a league evenly balanced. Those who supported the Phils have always pondered over the fact why the team was not granted a franchise in the new Coast League. However, with the Steel booters representing this city, with its powerful lineup, there is every reason for believing that the game will make better progress through the Coast Leaguers sporting their colors before local talent. As a matter of fact, there is ample scope for Bethlehem to play here. Philadelphia needs a major league team. And if the fans rally to the Steel booters it may happen that after a game or two they will become known as the Phillies.
A Permanent Transfer
Once before when Philadelphia was without a big league team, Bethlehem shared its home schedule with the Quaker City fans. On that occasion, it will be remembered, quite a few games were played in Philadelphia but always under the Bethlehem team name. The present situation, however, present a quite different aspect. IT is known that invading soccer clubs have companied against the attendance at games in this city and that the complaint was carried to the floor of the league meeting. Seldom, if ever, in the past several seasons has a visiting club shared in the receipts rather than the stipulated guarantee, and more often the home club was forced to utilize it profits derived when playing away to make up the deficit of home games. On the other hand, it is known that the league executives are desirous of having Philadelphia as a member and would welcome a team of the strength of Bethlehem to represent the city. If the transfer materializes it is believed that the change will be definite and Bethlehem will have seen the last of major league soccer.
Hard on the Faithful
While the majority of sports followers in this city will hardly care a snap of the fingers what action is taken in regard to the team, there are several hundred loyals who faithful in the support of the club will sincerely regret a change. In spite of their efforts to boost the patronage at the home games, and having partly succeeded, these supporters have seen the hand writing on the wall. If the change does come to pass, Bethlehem will lose a sport in which the city was a pioneer in its promotion and development. Furthermore, a team whose record of success will probably stand unequalled for a long time and one not alone to gain fame on American soil but also in international competition. Since overtures for permission to play in Philadelphia have been made, definite development will probably be forthcoming within the next few days.