"Bethlehem stands firm in its decision to enter the National Challenge Cup," is the ultimatum of the management of the Bethlehem soccer team in reply to the statement issued by President "Bill" Cunningham, saying that "Bethlehem is honor bound to respect the league vote in the matter."
The above statement was made today in reply to the following Associated Press dispatch emanating from Boston, the headquarters of the league president:
"The reported intention of the Bethlehem club of the American Soccer League to enter the National Cup competition, contrary to the recent decision of the league, today brought forth a statement from President Bill Cunningham, in which he said that such action would be impossible under the league's by-laws.
"Bethlehem is honor bound to respect the league vote in the matter," Cunningham said. He added that when Providence sought an injunction against a league ruling last year, the members adopted an agreement which provided that every club must abide by every mandate of the league and its officials.
In the by-laws of the league, he said, it is stipulated that no club in the organization may play other than American Soccer League games during the playing season without the consent of the president of the league."
Subsequent developments since Bethlehem, in all decency, notified the league president of its intention to enter the cup play have inspired an even more determined attitude and the team is apparently now satisfied to await any disposition the league might make.
That President Cunningham will have the support of some if not all of the New England clubs in whatever action he takes became readily apparent by a telegram received from Sam Marks, of the Fall River team, in which he severely censured the Bethlehem management for its contrary action. Not alone did the Fall River management attempt to reprimand Bethlehem for entering the cup but notified the team that the additional source of revenue Bethlehem received at Fall River, a verbal agreement, is discontinued.
Why this sudden change of attitude of Sam Marks is beyond the comprehension of the Bethlehem management. Fall River, it is understood was one of the first clubs in the league to verbally agree to give Bethlehem a bigger cut of the gate receipts than the league provided. But few other teams refused, notable of which was Nat Agar at the helm of the Brooklyn Wanderers and Vieberg, of the New York Nationals.
There is another little matter pending between Bethlehem and Fall River that may have been responsible for this attitude of Marks and that little matter involves Malcolm Goldie, a former inside left of the Bethlehem team. Marks wanted Goldie and agreed to the transfer price. This sum, it is understood, was something like $400, part to be paid immediately and the balance at the end of the season. As yet no remittances have been made, and chances are that if the arrangement was presented tot he league, Bethlehem would be the loser since the transaction was a verbal agreement.
However, whatever Fall River does or thinks is necessary is secondary to the management of the Bethlehem team at this time. Interest at present is solely centered on what league may or may not do when notified that Bethlehem will stick by its original intention insofar as the challenge cup is concerned.
Why the league should wreak its vengeance on Bethlehem and ignore similar action taken by other league teams is also hard to comprehend. In issuing the statement why did the executives not include the New York Giants and Newark F. C., as clubs being honor bound to abide by the league ruling. Surely, since the draw for the first round cup games has been made and these three league clubs included as exempt in the preliminary rounds, President Cunningham could hardly have been unaware of their intention.
In the mean time Bethlehem will continue to play its league schedule just the same as heretofore unless ordered by the league to do otherwise. In that event it will be one of two things. Bethlehem will finish the season and then hang up in soccer for good and all of Bethlehem will be among the clubs likely to enter a new league, a circuit more compact and one that would receive the staunch cooperation of the U. S. F. A.