By Fred Nonnemacher
Taking a Slap at Soccer Moguls
The apparent indifference of the soccer moguls at different times during the season frequently gave rise to some rather harsh criticism in this locality and it is indeed gratifying to note that soccer scribes in other cities have taken the cue and are calling for more stringent observances of the game. It is needless to again go into detail concerning the number of times this season that the Bethlehem club was made the "goat" and it is hoped that for the good of the game the powers that control will take cognizance of these criticisms and either adopt new or enforce the legislation that does govern in further games. The violations have been most flagrant and in addition quite a few games have been marked by deliberate acts of rowdyism and roughhousse. The Bethlehem club were again victims of a fluke on last Sunday when they journeyed to Philadelphia to play a National League game. When they arrived the Merchant forfeited their points and then lined up an array of picked stars to oppose the Bethlehem players in an exhibition contest. These tactics apparently were to the disgust of Philadelphia fans for one Quaker City scribe commented on the game as follows:
"It is likely that action will be taken in future to prevent teams from forfeiting league points and then pad their teams for the purpose of playing the game. Taking the case of Bethlehem, for instance, last Sunday. The Steel Workers went to a lot of trouble and time owing to the lack of train service to make their appearance at Harriman, Pa., where they were due to tackle the Merchants in a National League match. And when arrived on the grounds they were politely informed that the Merchant management had decided to forfeit the points because of inability to raise a team of eligible players, but that it would be an exhibition match. Had Bethlehem refused to play the game under these conditions, they would have been perfectly justified, especially when it is recalled that Merchants had Campbell, Napier and Andrews in the line-up, together with the two McGhees for the purpose of strengthening the team, which was just strong enough to hand Bethlehem its first defeat in this section since Disston lowered their colors some two years ago.
"Soccer football even with its United States Football Association and State bodies seems to be conducted more loosely than ever since the days when the clubs and officials went on their own, with only leagues to govern the sport. When it is stated that more forfeited games have been chalked up this season that since the game first started to gain a stronghold on the pubic it may be gathered that there is a cog loose some place. It is the simplest matter imaginable for a team out of the running for the championship to forfeit a game and then "pad" its team with players connected with other teams who in many instances are signed to a league contract with other clubs.
"That should not be permitted unless the club which forfeits the game so informs the opponents. Then it would remain with the clubs to decide whether to play an exhibition game in the place of the league match. That would be the proper course to pursue. And it should also be compulsory to inform the spectators before they pay their admission that the league match has been forfeited and an exhibition game will be played instead. That would be acting honorably with the public. And it is the public who must be catered to keep any sport booming where admission is charged.