Fred S. Nonnemacher
Whether Bethlehem will be represented by a soccer tam of high class caliber will probably be ascertained when the American League moguls convene in New York on Saturday for the purpose of ascertaining what clubs are left in the fold ready to start the league season in September. It is understood that Todd's Shipyard and the Holyoke soccer teams have already withdrawn from the circuit, and it is likely that Fall River will do likewise. It is reasonable to believe that Bethlehem will again be represented with the select set as is conveyed in the comments of Levi Wilcox, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, a soccer expert whose influence it is believed was partly instrumental in driving the final wedge in the proposition to move the Bethlehem Club intact to Philadelphia. He says: "Although nothing definite has been decided at this time, we have it on good authority that the Philadelphia team of last season will sport the colors of Bethlehem and that the Hibernians, or some other strong team in Philadelphia, will be given the opportunity of representing this city in the American League circuit."
Local interest assisted materially in promoting the Philadelphia team last season, and apparently by the contention advanced by Mr. Wilcox, notice has been served on the Philadelphia moguls to the effect that next year they will have to hop out and take care of their own club. Commenting on the possibilities of the league, Mr. Wilcox, in close touch with the doings in this newly organized soccer circuit, says:
"The loss of Holyoke will note be as keenly felt by soccer fans as the blotting out of soccer football of the Todd's Shipbuilders. The Brooklynites, since their organization some five or six years ago, have always finished strong in both the National and American Cup competitions, two of the premier tourneys in this country. Tow years ago they had the honor of winning the double event, a feat only heretofore accomplished by the great Bethlehem machine.
"Paterson, of Paterson, N. J., however, has already applied for a franchise in the league, while there is every likelihood that Brooklyn will place a team in the league, composed mainly of former Todd players. Harrison and New York, which finished runner-up to the Philadelphia team, which won the championship the first year of the league, J & P Coats are all considered certainties for the coming season with the probabilities that Bethlehem will be represented by what is left of the champions of last season, together with several new players from England and Scotland."
Should Bethlehem again have a club, it surely will be regretted that the Robins, probably t he most spirited rivals of the former Steel Workers will no more. However, the announcement that the players will band together and organize a team to represent Brooklyn is a partial consolation for undoubtedly with the same players, or at least a host of them, the same interest would be manifest. On the home field, the big attraction promises to be the J & P Coats, which team was reinforced with the inclusion of five former Bethlehemites and members of the Philadelphia club. As mentioned at the time of the departure of these players ,there is every reason to believe that the leaving of this clan of players is going to prove the medium of stimulating interest in the sport here, and if Bethlehem enters the league every effort should be made to have the Pawtucket, R. I., gang do likewise. Probably the service of these players will be missed and probably not. Be that as it may, their leaving for other ports is surely going to be far more beneficial to the interest of the sport locally than had they remained. Familiar faces on rival squads is going to give the fans something to argue about prior to their meeting, and this discussion on comparative merit is going to inspire something that soccer in Bethlehem never before enjoyed.
That Bethlehem will enter a club if a favorable adjustment of the gate receipts can be reached is the belief of those more closely associated with the sport in this city. It is known that the transfer of the team to Philadelphia practically centered around the arrangement of the division of the gate receipts last year -- each club to enjoy the exclusive benefit of the shekels that passed over their window. This promises to be the big question at the meeting scheduled for New York next Saturday. It is understood that the arrangement of the receipts adopted last year worked out successfully with only one club, New York, which is said to be the only club in the circuit to make money. Philadelphia, even though it won the championship, dropped a bale of money, together with Harrison and Todd's, while Coats, Holyoke and Fall River are believed to have about split even. Those interested in the promotion of the American League believe that should the league magnates decide on a division of the gate receipts for the coming season, there is a possibility that Philadelphia will place a strong team on the field for the coming season; also that Bethlehem will probably withdraw the same as it did last season, unless all league matches are played on a percentage basis. New York will probably be the only team to object to such a proposal. However, a two-thirds majority will change the rules of the association.