Orders from Headquarters
A telegram intimating suspension unless a retraction is made in entering the U. S. F. A. cup tie competition and urging an immediate reply, is the answer to the action taken by the management of the Bethlehem soccer team in entering the National cup tie. This terse telegram, quite threatening, was forwarded by Pres. "Bill" Cunningham yesterday and is now in the hands of the local management. The substance of the wire is not surprising. In fact, the management more or less expected that much but whether the league head will carry out his threat is another matter. Should Bethlehem draw a suspension it would place the club in a rather tight hole. It would mean "suspended from further competition in the American Soccer League for this season," and also the suspension of a team that has been instrumental in establishing soccer on the organized basis enjoyed today and one of the best drawing cards in the league. Insofar as Bethlehem is concerned, it is understood that the management is determined to abide by its decision in spite of consequences.
Could the League Have the Affront?
Viewed from another standpoint, it is a question if the league could have the affront to suspend Bethlehem. Mr. Cunningham and the powers that be might well consider every angle before taking such drastic action. Sentiment of soccer followers is undoubtedly with the Bethlehem team, for the National Cup is recognized as the blue ribbon soccer classic of the country. All other soccer honors garnered in a season are secondary to the U. S. F. A. play. But that is not the point the writer wishes to stress. To suspend Bethlehem for entering the play of the governing body of soccer in the United States would indirectly be a slap at the U. S. F. A. and the latter justified in throwing out the entire league. The status of the league would hen be one of an outlaw organization. It would probably mean the reorganization of another league which not prohibited by territorial restrictions would undoubtedly place clubs in some of the soccer cities now represented in the loop. Certainly in New York and Brooklyn, territory now occupied by the Messrs. Agar and Vieberg, and the latter would hardly sanction action that would jeopardize their interests, especially if Bethlehem, always a drawing card in the metropolitan district, was identified in a new circuit. The new league proposition is only a supposition visualized if the league should carry out its threat to suspend the American Soccer League clubs entered in the cup tie play. And furthermore, such a league could rest assured that it would received the unstinted and loyal support of the U. S. F. A.
The U. S. F. A. sent out the draw for the first round of the cup competition and in it, it is noticed that Bethlehem is not alone of the league clubs to enter the competition. The New York Giants, one of the pioneer members of the circuit, and Newark have bother entered their teams. Advices from New York, it is understood, are that the Giants will stand firm by their decision so that in dealing with Bethlehem the league will also have to deal with two other members of the league. It is hardly probable that the league could dare suspend three clubs.
The Crafty Marksmen
Fall River, one of the clubs it is understood to have favored the withdrawal of the league from cup competition, is also represented. However, the Marks brothers, owners of the Fall River interests, apparently fearing the consequences were careful to masquerade their entry. The team is listed as "Fall River II F. C." It's dollars to doughnuts that if the Marksmen survived to the final round of the cup play it would be the "seconds" to fulfill the league obligations and the "firsts" to compete for the National title. It has been said that since Fall River has made the entry, Sam Marks decided to withdraw. This statement is not confirmed. And perhaps the league may have a fourth club on which to wreak its ire.
The developments will be watched with keen interest and soccer followers throughout the country and most particularly of league teams will anxiously await the showdown. The crisis is reached and perhaps for the [...] league will hinge the establishing of cordial and harmonious relations with the U. S. F. A. [...] organized.
Swayed by Sentiment
There is no doubt that Bethlehem's entry into the cup is partly swayed by sentiment. Going back over soccer history in this country it is readily gleaned that the U. S. F. A. dragged the sport out of the doldrums and placed it on an organized basis. And in all this missionary work Bethlehem was one of the pioneers. Then, too, the local team has garnered the greatest distinction of any other club in this blue ribbon classic, having had its name inscribed on the handsome DeWar trophy no less than five times and each inscription is symbolic of a National championship. Why then should Bethlehem adhere to the whims and fancies of a few club owners, whose actions is seen as purely a commercial motive? That withdrawal was to follow was plainly evident last year when the New York Nationals, cup champions, announced that the team had competed in the last U. S. F. A. competition. And some of the other representatives endorsed the move.