What Is the Meaning?
The Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club is to play one of its cup games against Newark for the Lewis trophy in Philadelphia. The league executives, according to the local management, have ordered the game to be played in the Quaker City because of local "gate conditions." The condition involved is the seeming lack of interest outside of the several hundred loyals who have strived hard to keep the team in Bethlehem and place the sport on a self-supporting basis. It is no secret that the local management each year digs deep into personal funds to make the sport a possibility in Bethlehem. And it's a shame that a city of this size with its fertile surrounding territory will not support a big league soccer team. There may come a day when such lack of cooperation to a club recognized as the greatest in the country will be sorely regretted. Nevertheless, if Bethlehem is entitled to this cup tie game it should never have been transferred for the sake of money.
What Does it Forecast?
Playing the cup game in Philadelphia in the opinion of some, can forecast but one thing. T he transfer is inspired, it is believed, to feel out sentiment and if the support of the Philadelphia fans is anywhere near encouraging, it may mean that Bethlehem is likely to lose its championship soccer aggregation. Soccer failed in Philadelphia but due by no means to lack of interest. The blame is placed on the management of the club that represented that city. Efforts to put across the big league team on a shoe-string, which in these days of high finance, or any other days, as a matter of fact, is quite impossible. A well managed and representative team, one of the caliber of Bethlehem, it is believed, would go big in the Quaker City.
Tried Once Before
It will be recalled several seasons back the Bethlehem Steel shifted its allegiance to Philadelphia for one entire season. Philadelphia fans welcomed the club with open arms and the support at that time was quite encouraging. Since then soccer has become decidedly more popular. The distribution of talent throughout the major circuit and the more equal distribution of merit is one of the reasons that the sport is catching on. There was a time when one or two clubs stood supreme and the outcome of competition practically a foregone conclusion. But gone are those days, especially evident in the cup and league campaigning this season. The management of the local club has not said as much or even intimated that it is considering transferring its franchise to Philadelphia but the writer can't help believing that such a plan might be on foot. It is known that when the Philadelphia club was disbanded the action was generally regretted among club owners and league executives. Some club owners volunteered support to the tottering Phils but even this could not save the club. The league did not want to lose Philadelphia as a member and it's a cinch bet that if an application of transfer or responsible parties sought a franchise for Philadelphia such action would be immediately and unanimously endorsed.
Rally to the Cause
Perhaps the above assertions will be regarded as a bunch of sob stuff and without merit. It is hoped that such is the case but the writer has his doubts. It would be with sincere regret on the part of the writer and the loyal corporal's guard who attend all games if Bethlehem were to lose its soccer club. No other team has campaigned to the honors enjoyed by Bethlehem. And no other club has given the city it represented the widespread national and even international publicity the Bethlehem Soccer Club has given Bethlehem. And yet Bethlehem sportsmen are loath to turn out and give the club an encouraging hand. Unless the fans rally to the cause there can be but one ultimatum and that is that Bethlehem will lose its big league soccer club.