Shameful Display of Ingratitude
A shameful display of ingratitude is the summing up of criticism directed at the five Bethlehem players who jumped the Philadelphia F. C. to play elsewhere, by the many devotees of the sport in this city and Philadelphia. It is said that these player, two of which have been favored and pampered by the old Bethlehem management for ten or more years, signed contracts with the J & P Coats team of Pawtucket, R. I., without considering a local contract and the first inkling of their action was called to the attention of the club management when reference was made to their leaving in a story appearing in The Globe. Fleming and Ferguson who were regarded as "trusties" and had things pretty near their own way during their long stay in Bethlehem were most conspicuous in violating the confidence placed in them. Particularly so when it was known that a movement was on foot to again place the team in Bethlehem and let Philadelphia step out and paddle its own canoe. That their leaving will seriously interfere with the plans of the local management is not believed for it is doubtful if any trouble will be experienced in filling the vacancies with capable new men. By saying this, no effort is made to reflect on the merit of any one of the five, all of whom are recognized as past masters in their respective positions. However, there are many other good men, young players who are coming while Fleming and Ferguson have without a doubt reached the height of their career and after their many years of service can be expect to skid at most any time. The question then arises will they be able to locate permanently in Pawtucket and fare as well as they did in Bethlehem. In the latter place both were well established and at the end of their playing days could have looked forward to reap the fruits of reward in recognition of the long years of faithful service given to the Bethlehem soccer team. Should Bethlehem want another championship team, fans have enough confidence in those who foster the sport to know that the loss of these five players will not seriously interfere with the plans. On more than one previous occasion the club was placed in a somewhat similar predicament, but nevertheless, the Steel City eleven went right ahead and continued to win honors.
Leaving Should Inspire Greater Rivalry
The effect of the leaving of the five players should be to the interest of soccer in Bethlehem and should go a far way in stimulating rivalry between the clans. It should have a marked effect on the gate receipts if Bethlehem fosters a club next year. In the more recent years, little interest was shown or support given the local club for the simple reason that Bethlehem proved so far superior to rival opponents that seldom was the club forced to extend itself to gain victory. And again clubs came here with a roster of players entirely strangers to Bethlehem fans so that really the only magnet in drawing the followers to the athletic field was the interest taken in the home club. Rather than a detriment to the Bethlehem or even the Philadelphia forces, it is going to help the game in either one of those cities and fans will journey to the park to see the home crowd pit its skill against players who previously sported the Bethlehem colors. While not encouraging desertions, nevertheless, it might be to the interest of the sport if more players occasionally jumped the different clubs.
Robins' Game Always Went Big
That the above has been proven is verified by looking [...] record of attendance at games played at home. It will be found that the Robins' Dry Dock eleven was the biggest attraction in recent years. The interest in this clash was not inspired solely due to the fact that the Robins were contenders for National soccer honors but probably more so due to the fact that former Bethlehem players sported the colors of the shipbuilders. When Harry Ratican, recognized two or three years ago as the peer of center forwards in this country, quit the Bethlehem club, it created quite a sensation in soccer circles. Together with Ratican, Neil Clark and Bob Millar also associated with the Brooklyn clan. All three of these players enjoyed a host of friends in Bethlehem and were popular with soccer enthusiasts in general. The result was that when the Robins clashed with Bethlehem their friends flocked to the field to see the home club get beat while the Bethlehem adherents were staunch in their loyalty to the home club and went to the game to see the Steel City representatives outclass the former Bethlehem players. For years those fostering the sport locally were in search for the solution of stimulating more interest in the game. Particularly in attracting enough people to make the sport self supporting and it is believed that the leaving of the five players has partly solved the problem. One thing is certain and that is if J & P Coats, including the quintet of former Bethlehem celebrities in their lineup, were to stage the opening game here next season the attraction would go on record of drawing the banner crowd of recent years. It is rivalry and spirited competition that the sportsman craves and with this assured soccer is certain to become popular.