Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on October 27, 1974 · Page 161
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 161

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 27, 1974
Page 161
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sp""" 7 jj - Q3MnD "We weigh what they'll mean to us and if they don't want to play for us, that's too bad," coach Boisture said. (nninnTnregginifini.i.Liiiii).i .aaBaiBanGiimp 10 o 0 o a 'III O The Pleasure is all Yours. mt - Enjoy one of life's great pleasures... Asbach Uralt ... a brandy so superb that it's been the favorite of brandy connoisseurs for years. They know that Asbach's unique excellence comes from traditional Old World artistry . . . careful aging . . . and special blending. The result is a mellow, golden brandy of exquisite bouquet and rich, glowing flavor. Asbach Uralt... The Immortal Brandy of the Rhine Valley. Shouldn't the Pleasure be Yours? (o2j3?JIrnported gSgninim- S-i , SO Proof O 1974 Imported by Schenley Imported Wines Co., New York, N.Y. The 'People' Team,' cant. mitted. So Detroit's team of the people com-mited itself to play its home games 37 miles from the heart of the city. To their credit, though, the original owners never abandoned their hope of playing in Detroit. On Aug. 29, Ziegelman issued a call for the public to "send letters and telegrams to John Fetzer" imploring the owner of Tiger Stadium to allow the Wheels to play there in 1975. Fetzer's representatives had told the Wheels repeatedly that the Lions had exclusive control over professional football in the stadium through the 1976 season. Perhaps the Wheels' public plea a plea that resulted in only five letters to the Tiger owner could be called determination. But it sounds more like stubbornness, a trait that shows up repeatedly in their transactions through the spring and summer. As early as March 21, Gilbert Silverman, the club treasurer, projected a deficit of $500, 000 by July. On April 15 that estimate had been revised to show a $700,000 deficit by July. On April 30 the figure was revised again to project a $720,000 deficit. And to add to their already imposing problems, both the Bank of the Commonwealth and the National Bank of Detroit had refused them credit. "If I was a bank, I wouldn't have loaned money to us, either," Ziegelman admitted much later. They did some hasty re-evaluating of what was necessity and what was expendable and on June 4 the shareholders were presented with a new projection through Jan. 31 of 1977. It predicted the club would be only $176 671 in the hole by Jan. 31, 1975 but would continue to lose ground, falling $731,952 in debt by Jan. 31, 1976 and $1,178,233 in debt by Jan. 31. 1977. That projection prompted 22 of the owners to pledge another $500,000 at a meeting on July 8 and two days later as the Wheels opened the season in Memphis, Lee announced the new funding by saying: "this means that the Detroit Wheels will be there even if we don't sell one ticket all season." Whether or not that half Million dollars ever materialized is subject to debate, though. Zie gelman says most of it eventually was put in the Wheels bank account. General manager Sonny Grandelius contends half of those pledges were never honored. Outwardly, everything had proceeded nor mally through May and June, but numerous rumors many of them false kept popping up. The Wheels would merge with the Toron to team and play their games in the Canadian city . , . The team was so broke it had pur chased the used uniforms from a college that had dropped football . . . The WFL would cancel the 1974 season and open up in 1975. Those rumors were all false, but a lot of others were not. Stories of the club's poor financing had been circulating since the original group of seven investors had ballooned to 33 (or was it 32.) but coach Dan Boisture and his staff went Continued on Page 12 Last Might in Xew York, cont. is mispronouncing Wvche's name as "Watch" instead of"Wye-sh." When it is finally finished, the Wheels have lost their 12th game, 37-7. Wheels running back Jim Rathje is in a nearby hospital, getting his injured right leg casted, the same hospital where teammate Mike Kuhn, another back, is having his broken shoulder set. Through the open end of Down ing Stadium, behind the barred windows of the maximum security skyscraper of the Ward's Island state mental institution, dark forms can be seen, watching this action in the real world. And past Ward's Island, across the river, shine the lights of midtown Manhattan, where the big deals go down. Walking across the field with the team, a Wheels' assistant coach is told by a reporter that the Stars will announce in the morning that they are moving to Charlotte, the city that was considering adopting the bankrupt, unloved Wheels." "Those lucky sons of bitches." the coach says. Then he walks into the dark stadium tunnel, toward the locker room. Detroit Free Press, October 27,

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