The failure of Matt McMeekin, sterling fullback, to live up to the terms of his agreement and return to this country and Bethlehem, to campaign the American Soccer League season which opens Sunday, caused the management of the local team no little concern for a time.
And while the absence of McMeekin will be regretted by the club, however, the players are rejoicing over the success in the satisfactory negotiations which will bring Jock Marshall, without a doubt the greatest right back in the country, to the Bethlehem team. Marshall was a visitor in Bethlehem today and before he left for his home in Brooklyn to make arrangements to come here and locate permanently, satisfactory terms were reached and a playing form signed.
Powerful in physique, the new acquisition of the local club possessed every requisite necessity of a star player. Marshall, who has been seen in Bethlehem on numerous occasions as a player with Newark or Brooklyn, is capable of playing either right or left back but is seemingly more at home on the right side. He is an Internationalist of many years for Scotland and without a doubt the greatest back developed since the war.
At the height of his sensational career he was transferred to the Middlesborough Club, of the English League, at a figure said to be staggering and after playing several years with that club, migrated to this country. He launched his career in America with Brooklyn and later played with Newark only to return to Brooklyn, the last league club with which he was associated.
In soccer the great Marshall ranks with such great baseball stars as Cobb, Sneaker, Wagner and a host of others, many of which are still playing the National pastime. The newcomer plays his position without any seemingly great exertion. Nevertheless, he is never found wanting and some of the younger and speedy forwards will confess that the Internationalist is one of the most feared backs in the game.
His sense of position rivals that of Jock Ferguson, veteran of the local team, who with Marshall are a pair of backs without comparison and what a rare exhibition the management could present to soccer followers if these players were paired now and then in some of the league games. Marshall is of the old school of players and yet not very old in years. He is the type of player who can time and sense the direction of a movement and is invariably successful in checking the attack. His clearances are of the variety that sail through the air close to the goal mouth and if elected for a free kick or penalty can usually be relied upon to inflict damage.
In announcing the signing of Marshall the club does not hesitate in boast the best right back in American League Soccer. In this assertion there are legion of local admirers who have seen Marshall play against Bethlehem and create much havoc and entertain an opinion similar to that of the management. Marshall joins the club in good condition and immediately after penning his signature to a form urged the management to play him against his former teammates in Brooklyn on Sunday.
While it is not definitely assured that he will see service against the Agarites, it is certain that the management will use their prize capture in opening the league season here on Labor Day with Newark as the opponents.
Players of the Bethlehem team who were slightly perturbed by the cable on the McMeekin affair, are no longer worried and when word was given them that Marshall would likely be a member of the club, went through a big practice on Thursday afternoon with a vim and determination that forecasts success.
The probably lineup for the Brooklyn game on Sunday will see McClure, in goal; Allan and J. Barrie, backs; W. Barrie, Carnihan and MacGregor, halfbacks; Gillespie, Jaap, Stark, Massie and Rollo.