More or less expecting such a decision, the suspended clubs and their sympathizers have not been inactive in the meantime and plans for a new league are said to be well formulated. Representatives of the prospective teams will hold their meeting in New York this evening when it is hoped that some substantial understanding can be reached and the organization speeded along so that the league can be in operation soon.
That President Cunningham was secure in his position and the meeting held last evening merely a matter of form and probably to set at rest some of the clubs still in the league and whom may have been in sympathy with the suspended clubs, is apparent by a statement issued by President Cunningham in reply to the U. S. F. A. ultimatum. The action taken at the special meeting was undoubtedly all cocked and primed otherwise the statement prepared by Mr. Cunningham and dated September 26 would hardly have been prepared at such an early date.
In the statement Mr. Cunningham refers to the action of the U. S. F. A. as being in conflict with one of the rules and regulations of the National Association in that suspended clubs must make an appeal from any decision before the U. S. F. A. has a right to interfere. He intimates that the interference of the association is to cripple, hamper and publicly embarrass the league, since under the league by-laws, a majority vote carries any question and the vote to remain out of the National Challenge Cup was 8 to 2 against. He further states that perhaps the association illegally extended the entry date to enable the three clubs to enter and by so doing became a party to sedition and automatically assumed the blame for the entire trouble which is nothing more or less than an attempt to hamper the growth of soccer.
Under these by-laws, the American League president is fully protected in the action he took against three teams that defied a league mandate. These by-laws were fully approved by the U. S. F. A., I therefore fail to see where the U. S. F. A. can take any action whatsoever, without reversing itself so completely, making itself so utterly ridiculous, and showing the public so clearly its thinly veiled desire to throttle this organization that it will forfeit the last vestige of the respect with the public.
It is my private opinion that you have unwittingly allowed yourselves to be drawn into an old simmer of American League dissatisfactions. Bethlehem, Newark and the Giants represent a small and perpetually disgruntled minority that have been the cause of much league trouble in the past. This statement applies more particularly to Bethlehem and Newark than to the Giants. The latter, a splendid team and intelligently handled, is merely, in my opinion, the victim of bad advice.
Bethlehem and Newark, however, have long been definitely considered liabilities of the league. Bethlehem, unable to draw profitably on its home field, and refusing all persuasion to leave its home pitch -- save for a brief interval in Philadelphia, has long been waging an unsuccessful fight for an increased percentage gate division from all clubs on away games, has threatened several times to withdraw from the league, and did resign at the last annual meeting, only to reconsider when its bluff was called and begin playing this season on schedule.
Newark, once a splendid soccer center, has lapsed to a positive negative, and the present Newark team has not even Bethlehem's saving grace of being an acceptable road attraction. The management has been in frequent difficulties with the league having been twice suspended within the past twelve months and being unable to finish last year's schedule.
The New York Giants has usually sided with Bethlehem in all that team's troubles, imaginary and real. It even joined Bethlehem 18 months ago in failing to cooperate with the league in arranging a match between a picked league team and the touring Uruguay players, a thing that embarrassed the league considerably at that time.
Obviously, the more sporting gesture for these three teams and one with which no one could have quarreled, would have been to resign their membership in the league, if they felt the vote contrary to their best interest and if they had been really actuated by the high principles they since have stated in the press. Instead of this, however, they secretly went behind the backs of their own organization and its officials, and apparently in a bitter attempt to wreck their own body in payment for supposedly personal grudges entered into a secret pact and filed their applications without revealing their intentions to their officials or member clubs, until after the step had been taken.
Bethlehem sent a half apologetic letter to this office after filing its entry, but neither Newark nor the Giants have ever to this day informed this office of the step they took. I fail to see how anyone can condone such action, and I fail to see how any reputable body can find any excuse for supporting it.
In championing the cause of these three clubs against what I presume to call the more progressive, cooperative and successful majority of the American League, the United States Football Association lays itself wide to the charge of sedition and destruction. I think every fair minded fan will agree with the league in that opinion.
And in threatening action against an organization that has proceeded in strict conformity with its bylaws, after these bylaws have been previously approved by the body threatening the actin, it seems to me that the U. S. F. A. is approaching untenable ground.
May I suggest that for the further progress of soccer which we are both trying to promote, you consider your next move carefully. There is, unfortunately, no higher soccer body in this country, to whom we can take our case, but the fair minded soccer sportsmen will be jury enough for us, and there are legal courts to which we can and promptly will repair if any action of yours serves to jeopardize our considerable financial investments.