The End of Bethlehem's Reign
The old timers in soccer still insist and probably always will that there never was and never will b e a team to compare with the old Bethlehem machine. The Fergusons, Flemings, Fletchers, and so on, they will say, in their prime, were in a class by themselves. The more enthusiastic followers of the present day sport argue back that the competition in the days of the old Bethlehem machine could not be compared with that of today and that the merit is more equally distributed among the clubs. That argument will no doubt persist as long as the old timers still have breath in them to shout. No one can take it away from the old Bethlehem machine, for the record of the club is self explanatory. The Steelmen reigned supreme in the booting game until around the season 1919-1920. After that, wholesale raids on the Steel talent left many vacancies to fill and practically an entire rebuilding of a new club. Fall River created greatest havoc to the Bethlehem ranks when it swooped down and grabbed a handful of players. Other clubs shared in the raid and when all was done, Jock Ferguson remained as the sole remnant of the once famous machine. That marked the end of the reign of the Bethlehem team. But the management has been patient, satisfied to take the bumps in hopes of building up a machine that could retrieve some of the honors garnered in the old days. A player here and there was gradually added until the club at present, with one or two exceptions, seems to have arrived at the stage where cup tie honors are possible. The opportunity is here and probably more favorable than has been the lot of the Steelmen since they were dropped in the competition. Boston looms as the menacing team, and unless there is a mighty upset, the Steelmen and Bostonians should be finalists in the Eastern Division. Brooklyn, Giants and Coats are still in the battle, but if we had our choice in deciding on merit, we would say that a more formidable trio would be Fall River, Providence and New Bedford, three clubs that have been eliminated.