Echoes From Across the Pond
This soccer in American is developing into something that is forcing recognition from our dribbling enthusiasts across the pond and while as yet the true merit of American teams is not conceded as equal to that of the European clubs, controversies involving the transfer of players seems to be a topic that is frequently discussed. In a recent issue of the Weekly News, published in Glasgow, Scotland, appears an article which no doubt will be of interest to local fans since it hits straight back home at the Bethlehem Steel team. It is relative to a letter sent by the U. S. F. A. to the S. F. A. relative to some working agreement in regard to the transfer of players. A letter from the U. S. F. A. which it is probably safe to say was not influenced by any of the American Soccer League clubs, the strongest aggregation of soccer representatives in this country. Some facts are set forth as being authentic by the writer but which insofar as Bethlehem is concerned seem slightly distorted. "Something You Didn't Know" is the caption heading the following article:
"Now let us consider the letter sent by the United States Football Association to the S. F. A. The American body writes that they have seen reports in the British papers concerning the "jumping" of contracts by British players. And they are grieved.
"Poor things! I can almost see the tears streaming down the beard of Uncle Sam! British clubs being robbed of valuable players by America! What a dreadful state of affairs.
"Yes, the Americans are greatly concerned about this matter. They are determined to stop the poaching of British players by American clubs. Of course, they are!
"What are the United States Football Association, anyhow? Are they not representatives of the various clubs, the very clubs that are anxious to get good Scottish players to America? They are. They are like our own Association folks, club men first, association men next.
"I'll tell you something about this letter from America -- something authentic! It was prompted by the unexpected departure of the brothers Walter and Alec Jackson from Bethlehem Football Club, U. S. A.
"I assure you that's a fact. Bethlehem were as much upset about the Jacksons' departure as were the Patrick Thistles about Ballantyne's emigration. I learn that Bethlehem considers the Jacksons under contract to them. That's why the American Association wrote that funny letter to the S. F. A.
"Our Association will reply to the letter. They will give certain details about the players who have gone. They will suggest that the American clubs shall agree to the establishment of a transfer system similar to that in operation here.
"The Americans will reply. And our association will write again. And the correspondence will be most interesting. And it will be protracted. And in the end the laugh will be with the Yankees. See if it isn't!"
It is no secret that the loss of the Jackson brothers at the time they departed was a severe blow to the football aspirations of the local management. And why shouldn't it be when two of the most brilliant front liners in the country decided to hand in the pink slip? However, the visit of the Jacksons to the Heatherland for a visit was sanctioned by the club management, with understanding, of course, that they were to return. And that is neither a secret nor was it veiled in mystery at the time the brothers Jackson departed. When word was received that both Bethlehem players had cast their lot with Aberdeen, a First Division Scottish club, with which incidentally they are going big, it was received with keen disappointment and while the local management may have entertained harsh will against them, there was no unusual explosion or squawking. Bethlehem did the next best thing. The management stepped out to get players to replace the lost brothers and have succeeded to such an extent we will venture to say that the Bethlehem Steel forward line is today better balanced than it was a year ago. That may should like sour grapes, but it is the sincere believe of the writer. Relative to the brothers, a letter explaining conditions at home and the reasons for remaining seemed perfectly satisfactory and amicable relations between employer and employee were again harmoniously established. Bethlehem did not ask any assistance in attempting to force the Jacksons to return but took the loss in the spirit of good sportsmanship. That is the attitude of the Bethlehem Steel club and management.