Players Probably Cut in on Receipts
A thorough investigation might reveal that by taking part in the exhibition game in Philadelphia, the Merchant players probably cut in on the receipts. They realized no doubt that a holiday exhibition contest against a popular Quaker City team would draw a big crowd and in this they were not mistaken for reports have more than a thousand fans attending the contest. To come to Bethlehem the team would have received no more than the regular guarantee in which none of the players share. However, it would be no surprise at all if it became known that the Merchants' share in the game with the Cardington F. C. was equally distributed among the players. Four of the Merchant regulars did not show up for the game and a late Christmas dinner was the excuse offered. It may be that these players instead had a case of "cold-feet" and fearing some sort of punishment changed their minds about playing shortly before the game. Whatever excuse was offered by Merchants' for canceling the trip to Bethlehem was probably concocted at the last minute. That Merchants had little intention of coming here a week or more before the scheduled contest is partly borne out by press dispatches appearing in the Philadelphia papers announcing the exhibition game on Christmas Day. These announcements are now recalled but at the time it was believed that since the game was only to be an exhibition, Merchants would muster together their surplus players and present a second team. If the Merchant management and players expect to get away without punishment they should be taught a lesson and the Bethlehem club should force the issue to the very limit. The National League, this year especially, is gaining ill repute by some of its tactics and every effort should be made to exact the discipline prevalent in the cup competitions.