Why Pick on Bethlehem?
"Bethlehem is honor bound to respect the league vote in the matter," says "Bill" Cunningham, president of the American Soccer League, in commenting on the action of the local booters in entering the National Challenge Cup competition. The president added that when Providence sought an injunction against the 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. The gist of Mr. Cunningham's statement given for publication is quite in contrast to the gist of a telegram received by the local management which threatened definite action, taken to mean suspension, if Bethlehem did not retract. Probably since writing the telegram Mr. Cunningham had time to give the matter thought and deemed best not to act too hastily.
Other Clubs Ignored
Incidentally in the statement issued by Mr. Cunningham it seems peculiar that he should direct his dictum at the Bethlehem club, a team apparently on which the league wishes to wreak its ire, and seemingly overlook the fact that two other clubs in the league are entered in the same competition. There is no reference whatever to the New York Giants and Newark club and certainly Mr. Cunningham is cognizant of the fact that both of these teams are entered in the National Challenge Cup play. Perhaps the latter clubs have withdrawn although not likely.
A New Loop
Should the league remain firm in its intention to discriminate against the U. S. F. A. insofar as granting sanction to play cup tie games during the league season, the National body would undoubtedly back a new league project to the limit. Traveling to the New England States is not only an expensive proposition but consumes considerable time. A more compact league would probably be favored, and this would be possible with a team in New York, one in Brooklyn, the re-establishment of a big league club in Philadelphia and Bethlehem. These four clubs could readily be used as a nucleus for a new circuit. And to secure four more clubs should not be much of a task with Baltimore, Trenton, Newark prospective possibilities. Robbed of Chance for Title
In many matters Bethlehem's interest has been waived in favor of teams whose only motive in playing soccer, it would seem, is purely the commercial gain. It seems that some of the clubs have lost all decency of sportsmanship, otherwise they would hardly have severed relations with the National Cup. Bethlehem's position insofar as consideration is given in matters of local interest, is strongly reflected in the weak-kneed manner in which the league responded when the team was thrown out of the final for the league championship. Bethlehem was the logical opponent of New Bedford in the final, and not Boston. Regardless of what the league might say to the contrary, soccer followers and quite a few club owners expressed sentiment in favor of Bethlehem and still believe that Bethlehem should have been the team. No club was given a more artistic lacing than Boston in the semi-final and Boston was advanced as the finalist. Bethlehem played an outside goalie; that is true, but with the permission of the league and Boston. If a technicality was involved to jeopardize the chances of Bethlehem, the league executives certainly should have had the foresight to detect it and warn the team before the game was played; not waiting until after Boston was defeated and then acting on a protest of the hub club rule Bethlehem out on a "technicality." That decision, unjustified in the opinion of many, certainly did not favor local interests.