March 29, 1960

George Ross’s column in the Tribune today took on “a fellow who writes for one of the lesser papers across the bay” who complained that “Oakland is a bush league town,” said he’d give 50-to-1 odds that Oakland never built a stadium, and wouldn’t support the team even if they did. Ross didn’t identify the writer or the paper.1 To counter the other writer’s argument, Ross provided quotes from the Raider owners.

Ed McGah: “For the benefit of the few readers the guy might have on this side of the bay, I’ll cover some of that 50-to-1 money right now.”

Robert Osborne: “I’ve got 10-to-1 we’ll get a stadium and the Raiders will be in it, and so will an American League baseball team.”

Wayne Valley: “We wouldn’t be here today if we weren’t sure a stadium is going to be built in Oakland. We’re preparing for the 1961 season, our preseason ticket sales campaign is under way, we’re expecting better crowds than last year, we see no reason to think the Raiders won’t be playing football in 1962, 1963, 1970, and in Oakland as soon as possible.”

Oakland Tribune

1. I poked around but couldn’t find who the author or the paper was.

Chet Soda

Yster Charles Soda
Born March 15, 1908 in Oakland
Died March 12, 1989 in Oakland, age 80

For the team’s first year, Chet Soda was the face of Oakland Raider ownership. Through the ties he formed in the construction industry, Soda helped put together the coalition that would acquire the last of the American Football League’s charter franchises. Tension and disagreements among the group appeared almost from the beginning and after that first year, Soda was out, but he remained a major player in the Oakland business and sporting scene for the rest of his working life. While his tenure as Raiders owner was short, his work laid the foundation on which the team would be built at least until the coming of Al Davis.

The eldest of the three children of Andrea and Marguerite Soda, Y. Charles Soda was born in Oakland on March 15, 1908. A sister, Mary, came along a year later, and a brother, Stephen, was born in 1912. His father owned and operated a cement and construction business, and following graduation from Fremont High School, Charles joined the business, now named A. Soda and Son.

Through the 1930s and 1940s, the Sodas helped build sidewalks, sewers, and bridges in the East Bay area and grew to be quite prosperous. When Andrea died in 1948, Chet took full ownership of the company. He would be a tireless entrepreneur and administrator his whole life and when he formed H&S Developers, a housing development firm, he grew wealthier still.

By the late 1930s, he had married his wife Helen and they quickly became active in the East Bay social scene. Soda, a Catholic, took part in numerous charitable activities associated with his church and it was probably there where he made the acquaintance of many of the men who would become his partners in the Raiders venture, including Art Beckett, Charles Harney, and Ed McGah.

His interest in the sporting life started to make its appearance in the public sphere after the war. In 1948 he served a one-year stint as president of the Metropolitan Club of Oakland, a group that promoted local sports. He also owned a 2,500-acre ranch in the Hayward Hills where he and Helen bred racehorses and in 1955, he was named a director of the Golden Gate Fields racetrack in Berkeley.

So, when the opportunity came to pursue an American Football League team for Oakland, Soda was a natural fit. He, Robert Osborne, and Wayne Valley, led the effort forming the eight-man coalition that was awarded the league’s last franchise. Soda was named team president and faced the daunting task of hiring coaches and players months after the other teams in the league had begun their efforts. Within days he had hired former St. Mary’s College star Eddie Erdelatz to coach the team and together they began to build a roster.

Soon, though, dissension among the owners began to appear. Art Beckett quietly dropped out in late February and in April, restaurateur Harvey Binns followed suit more noisily, complaining that the parsimony that had served Soda well in his construction business had no place in running a football team. Despite the bickering, the Raiders fielded a competitive team in 1960, going 6-8 and avoiding the cellar that most of the nation’s sports scribes had felt was their due.

Serious divisions began to be made public in December and by January the league had to step in and adjudicate what the owners couldn’t resolve among themselves. On the 16th a settlement was announced. Soda and four of his fellows would sell their shares in the team to McGah, Osborne, and Valley. In getting out, Soda took a personal loss of about $50,000 and would never again take part in the world of pro football.

He threw himself back in the business of building shopping centers and golf courses and took part in all sorts of civic enterprises. He tried to enter politics running for a spot on the board of the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District but finished a distant second. Following that he took positions on the board of a number of public ventures including the Oakland Library and Museum Committee, the Alameda County Fair Association, and the Pacific Racing Association. He was named a regent of St. Mary’s College and in the 1970s became a vice president of the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners and the chairman of the California Horse Racing Board. By 1975 he had retired from running his businesses but still held seats on the port commission, racing board, and was president of the St. Mary’s regents.

By the end of the decade, now in his 70s, he had stepped back from public life, but began to receive a number of humanitarian awards from the community. In 1983 Helen died. They had had no children together. He remarried, to a woman named Rosemary, but in 1989 he entered the hospital for an unspecified surgical procedure, and soon after, on March 12, died at the age of 80.

Berkeley Daily Gazette
Chico Enterprise-Record
Hanford Sentinel
Long Beach Independent
Los Angeles Times
Oakland Tribune
Petaluma Argus-Courier
Sacramento Bee
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Examiner
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
Tulare Advance Register
Ukiah Republican Press
United States Census Bureau

Robert Osborne

Robert L. Osborne
Born November 23, 1897, Cleveland
Died September 26, 1968, Oakland

A mechanical engineer by training and by trade, Robert Osborne moved to Oakland in his mid-thirties and turned his manufacturing business into a small fortune. His experiences as a businessman and industrialist led him to seek a seat on the Oakland City Council, a position he held for 11 years, and his wealth enabled him to be one of the eight original investors in the Oakland Raiders. Opinionated, outspoken, and sometimes reactionary, he was a staunch champion of his adopted city and may have been responsible for keeping the Raiders in Oakland through its darkest days when his fellow owners were ready to sell out or move out.

Born Bryan R. Osborne (or Bryan L. – see note), he was the third of six children born to Don and Agnes Osborne.[1] Don Osborne was a Cleveland attorney who later left law practice and formed a machinery manufacturing firm. His success in the field was marred by bankruptcy in 1912, but he weathered the storm successfully and kept the business going until retiring in the 1920s and moving to the Los Angeles area. Not much is known about Bryan’s youth other than he started going by the name of Robert sometime after 1910 and was a childhood friend of Bob Hope, whose family had moved to Cleveland from the UK in 1908. Though there is only tenuous evidence for it, it is likely that Osborne attended Purdue University after graduating high school, in pursuit of a mechanical engineering degree.

By 1920 Osborne had moved in with his sister and her husband in Cleveland who was an office manager for her father’s company. Osborne himself was probably working as a salesman in the firm. Sometime in the 1920s he married his first wife, Carolyn, and in the early 1930s they adopted a child. Shortly after the adoption, Carolyn filed for a divorce, citing gross neglect, and sued Osborne for lack of support. By this time, Osborne was out of the machinery business and running a Cleveland nightclub.

In 1935 his father died and that same year he and his brother, Don, Jr., traveled west, settling in the Oakland area. He found work as a salesman for a machinery distributor and soon met and married his second wife, Katherine. By 1941 he had started his own business, the Osborne Engineering Company, originally based in San Francisco, but just after the war, he built a $250,000 factory in San Leandro which became his base of operations for most of the rest of his career.

In 1949, Osborne and his wife, who had no kids at time, traveled to Ireland where they adopted a pair of children, Terry and Cecilia (called Teela by everyone who knew her).[2] In 1950, Osborne expanded his operations, acquiring the Malabar Manufacturing Company and building another large plant in San Leandro to house its operations.

Born into a Catholic family and a lifelong communicant himself, Osborne was a regular contributor to the Church’s charitable activities and in 1951 he was elected vice president of the Board of Regents of St. Mary’s College in Moraga. Through these activities he made the acquaintance of several like-minded businessmen, such as Art Beckett, Charles Harney, Ed McGah, and Chet Soda, who would later be his pro football partners.

In 1953 Osborne took his first crack at politics, running for a spot on the Oakland Board of Education, with a platform of increasing local control of schools, increasing teacher pay, and building more classrooms. He lost a close vote, but he wouldn’t give up on politics.

In 1954 he started his own newspaper, the Oakland Free Press, which may have been the start (or the result) of his long-running feud with the Knowland family who ran the Oakland Tribune. The venture never took off, though, and failed within a couple of years. That same year, he received an offer from Victor Morabito, one of the owners of the San Francisco 49ers, to purchase half the team for $275,000. The Morabitos were having money troubles, but were unwilling to give up any voting rights to go with the share of the team, and one of the stipulations of the contract offer gave Victor the right to purchase a new automobile every other year at the team’s expense. Osborne declined the offer, saying he thought Victor should buy his own cars.

In 1957 Osborne made his first fun at an Oakland City Council seat. Accused of running a negative, destructive campaign by his main opponent, he finished a strong second in the primary then easily won the run-off between the top two candidates. His election was characterized as breaking the hold ward politics had had on the council and he was soon described as a “fighting maverick” challenging long-standing practices and what he believed was a cavalier attitude toward taxpayer money. Throughout his time on the council he was regarded as something of a gadfly, opposing tax increases and poverty relief measures, and taking a dim view of the increasing power of racial minorities in city politics.

With a high profile in local affairs he was one of the leading figures in the effort to bring an American Football League franchise to Oakland. Along with many of his fellow leaders in the Catholic community and some other well-heeled acquaintances, he persuaded the league to give them a team and acted as an early spokesman on matters such as coaching hires and the building of a stadium.

Very much an Oakland partisan, he took serious issue with his fellow owners, especially Soda, when any of them suggested moving the team out of town in response to poor attendance and financial losses. Matters came to a head in January 1961 resulting in five of the owners selling out, leaving the team in the hands of Osborne, McGah, and Wayne Valley, with Osborne taking on the role of team treasurer.

Soon after the team’s reorganization, Osborne faced an election to retain his council seat and won by a better than 3-to-1 margin over his nearest competitor. With a comfortable win under his belt he continued his council work and that of running his team. Despite stronger leadership, though, the Raiders were still playing before sparse crowds in San Francisco and the owners were bleeding cash. While he was working to find a place to play in the East Bay, McGah and Valley were making noises about having to sell the team to outside bidders. Osborne again came out in strong opposition to the idea, but as the controversy gained steam, he began to have health problems, suffering a series of small heart attacks, including one while attending a game against the Chargers at Candlestick Park. As a result, he spent two weeks in the hospital followed by another three months of home convalescence, seriously curtailing his work with either the team or the council.

As a result of increasing differences with McGah and Valley and his health difficulties, he sold his share of the Raiders to the other two in May 1962. That same year he began to downsize his manufacturing operations, closing one plant and auctioning off the equipment, while continuing to act as a broker, buying and selling equipment.

Slowed, perhaps, but undaunted he continued his support of fiscal conservatism, taking on his biggest project yet, opposing the construction of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) rail network, complaining that the cost to the city was far too high and that the contract provided far too much latitude for uncontrolled spending beyond that called for in the contract. He would lose the fight, eventually, but he never tired of trying to slow the project down.

In 1964 he suffered another heart attack and spent two more weeks in the hospital but recovered and felt well enough to seek re-election the following year. This time he was unopposed and continued his fight against what he saw as irresponsible spending and catering to interest groups he thought didn’t contribute enough in taxes.

In 1967 he was joined on the council by former Raider co-owner Harvey Binns, whose brash style sometimes rankled Osborne, but they shared enough political goals to often end up on the same side of issues.

However, his health continued to deteriorate. He frequently missed council meetings because of illness and at the age of 70 was plainly in decline. On September 20, 1968, he entered an Oakland hospital and suffered a “severe” heart attack two days later. He held on for four more days but died on the morning of the 26th.

Eulogies praised his service to the city of Oakland and recognized his “vigorous pursuit of economy and fiscal control.” He was survived by his wife, two children, and one grandchild.

Chico Enterprise-Record
Cleveland Leader
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Mansfield News-Journal
Napa Journal
Napa Valley Register
Oakland Tribune
Pomona Progress-Bulletin
Sacramento Bee
San Francisco Examiner
San Mateo Times
San Pedro News-Pilot
Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
Santa Rosa Republican
Zanesville Times-Recorder
United States Census Bureau

[1] The 1900 census lists him as Bryan L. The 1910 census lists him as Bryan R. The 1920 census lists him as Robert L. I could find no explanation for any of the changes. Oddly, the Osborne’s eldest child was listed as Margaret in the 1900 census and Irene M. in the 1910 census, so somewhere there was a significant change of heart.

[2] Nothing in any of the stories says whether Terry and Teela, who were both a year old at the time of their adoption, were twins, or even siblings by birth.

Ed McGah

Edward Winston McGah
Born July 18, 1899, Alameda(?), California
Died September 17, 1983, Los Angeles, age 84

Ed McGah owned a piece of the Oakland Raiders longer than any of the other seven original owners. Described as “thoughtful” and “low-key”, he stuck with the team through internal squabbles, big financial losses, profoundly bad play, and lawsuits, and lived to see them win two Super Bowl championships.

He was the eldest of three surviving children of James and Wilhelmina McGah. Two of his siblings died in childhood and those who remained were his sisters Hildreth (born 1903) and Erol (born c.1909). His father worked variously as a longshoreman and general laborer while the kids were growing up. Ed left school after the eighth grade but was an avid young baseballer playing in amateur leagues into his 20s.

He was still living at home when he married his first wife, Gertrude, sometime around 1920. Edward, Jr., their only child, was born in 1921, and grew up to be a good enough ballplayer himself to get a cup of coffee with the Boston Red Sox in the late 1940s. Somewhere around this time Ed, Sr., took a job with the Superior Tile Company, based in Berkeley, and worked his way up to president of the firm by the mid-1930s.

Sometime before 1930, despite being Catholic, Ed and Gertrude divorced, and Ed married his second wife, Lucille. Into the thirties, he and Superior Tile took on bigger jobs, acting as a subcontractor on such projects as the Yerba Buena Tunnel on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. By the early 1940s, he had become a land developer and house builder, and was wealthy enough to try and land a semi-pro football team with fellow businessman and future Raider co-owner Wayne Valley, with the goal of getting into the NFL. Later that decade, he tried to get a piece of the San Francisco 49ers in the All-America Football Conference, but both efforts failed.

Still, he was making money. His development company built a large tract of 1,500 new homes in central Contra Costa County and joined up with a partner to from the McBail Development Company in 1949. In the 1950s, he branched out further, forming the Trancas Land Company with another business partner, and earned a spot on the board of directors of the Associated Home Builders of the Greater East Bay. One of Trancas’s biggest projects was the building of the Bel Aire Shopping Center in Napa.

Like most of his fellow owners, McGah was a social networker, holding membership in a number of clubs and taking part in various charitable activities. He was quite active in his support of the Silesian Boys Club, sitting on the board with future partners Art Beckett, Charles Harney, Robert Osborne, Wallace Marsh, and Chet Soda.

McGah finally got his chance to own a pro football franchise in 1960 when he joined the group that landed an American Football Franchise for Oakland. That first season he didn’t make a lot of noise, leaving most of the running of the team to Soda. Late in the year, though, the owners fell to fighting amongst themselves. In January 1961, with reconciliation no longer possible, five of the owners sold their shares to McGah, Osborne, and Valley, and McGah emerged as team president.

The new, streamlined partnership didn’t solve the Raiders’ money woes, though. With the team playing in San Francisco, and playing horrendous ball to boot, attendance was sparse and financial losses were expected to mount into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Late in 1961, McGah and Valley gave the city of Oakland an ultimatum: build a stadium or they would sell to a group likely to move the team to another city. Osborne, caught unawares by the announcement, swore the team wouldn’t leave Oakland, but he had had a heart attack several months ago, and unwilling to lose even more money in 1962, decided to sell his piece of the team to McGah and Valley.

Though the city finally approved the construction of a new stadium and put the team up in temporary digs at tiny Frank Youell Field, the Raiders were even worse in 1962 and again, McGah and Valley made it known that they were looking for someone to take the team off their hands. A deal to move the Raiders to New Orleans came close to fruition, but the parties couldn’t agree on a sale price, and it fell through.

Unable to find buyers, McGah and Valley agreed to play the 1963 season in Oakland and made the most momentous decision in franchise history: hiring San Diego Chargers assistant coach Al Davis as head coach and general manager. Davis immediately turned the team’s fortunes around, earning Coach of the Year honors and remaking the team in his own image. While the next two seasons weren’t quite as successful as the first, Davis was regarded as an up-and-comer and in 1966 was named AFL commissioner as the league battled the NFL for supremacy.

When the leagues agreed to a merger, McGah and Valley welcomed Davis back, not as head coach and general manager, but as “managing general partner” with an annual salary and a small share of ownership that would grow on a yearly basis. McGah and Valley took a more passive role as Davis built the team into a perennial powerhouse.

Davis’s continued success pleased McGah, but his level of team control rankled Valley. In 1973, McGah signed Davis to a 20-year contract giving him dictatorial powers over the Raiders. Valley objected, saying he hadn’t been aware of the contract prior to its signing and sued to have it declared void. McGah responded by calling the suit “ill-founded and destructive” and added that “Wayne should know he can’t run the Raiders. He made a mess of it before.”

The suit dragged on for two years before the contract was upheld in court, though the judge did reduce the scope of powers accorded to Davis in the agreement. Valley, however, had had enough and sold his share back to McGah and Davis in 1976, less than a year before the team would win its first championship.

McGah, happy with the way the team was performing, and the profits derived therefrom, let Davis alone to run the Raiders his way, even when Davis set in motion plans to move the team to Los Angeles in 1980. While commissioner Pete Rozelle and the NFL spared no effort to prevent the move, McGah, a lifelong Bay Area man, backed up his fellow owner, and moved to Los Angeles himself when his team finally started play there in 1982.

By this time, though, he was in his 80s and his health was starting to fail. In January 1983, he had surgery for “blood clots and other internal problems” and on September 17, died at Cedars Sinai hospital after what was termed “a long illness,” just four months before his team would win its third Super Bowl title in Tampa. He was 84. He was survived by his son, Ed Jr., third wife Ruth, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.[1]

Eureka-Humboldt Standard
Los Angeles Times
Napa Valley Register
North Hollywood Valley Times
Oakland Tribune
Palm Springs Desert Sun
Sacramento Bee
San Bernardino County Sun
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Examiner
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
United States Census Bureau


[1] The last mention of his second wife, Lucille, that I could find was in the 1940 census and the first mention of Ruth was in his obituary. Lucille died in 1982, so he might have remarried soon after or they may have divorced years ago. I could find nothing to corroborate any particular chain of events.

January 15, 1961

It took a seven-hour meeting and intervention by AFL commissioner Joe Foss, but the long-rumored ownership shakeup finally happened.

The day started with the eight owners getting together to try and resolve the mutual antipathies that had built up among the various group cliques. Three hours in and with nothing settled, Foss arrived in person with a pair of league lawyers.

As Foss explained, behavior at recent league meetings had shown that “all was not well in Oakland. It was decided then that I should come to Oakland for the meeting. I was authorized to take away the franchise if the problems couldn’t be worked out. I got here after the men had been in session for three hours and had reached an impasse.” Everyone agreed they wanted to keep the team in Oakland, but Foss said, “they just couldn’t get along and it was obvious one group had to sell out. For the next four hours, I and the league attorneys listened to both sides of the argument and finally a sale agreement was reached. Everyone in the league feels that Oakland can become one of our great franchises.”

It was decided that Don Blessing, Charles Harney, Roger Lapham, Wallace Marsh, and Chet Soda would sell their shares to Ed McGah, Robert Osborne, and Wayne Valley. McGah would retain his position as president, with the vice presidency going to Valley, and Osborne assuming the treasurer role.

Afterward, Valley said, “The three of us have wanted all along to proceed in Oakland. We are all East Bay businessmen and we feel that we can succeed.” Asked about rumors that the team would pursue austerity, he added, “We want to win, and we are businessmen, and within those confines we shall move forward. We have lots of things to look into and personnel to evaluate. This is not to say that we are unhappy with the people we now have.”

One of those people was Eddie Erdelatz who, responding to the news that the team would stay in town, said it was “one of the greatest things to happen to the city of Oakland. We will make every effort to field a team Oakland can be proud of next season. The American League has shown what it can do on the field. Our fans were pleased with the wide-open style of play and I feel we’ll have much larger crowds next year.”

Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle


January 14, 1961

A report appeared in Chicago newspapers that White Sox owner Bill Veeck had purchased the Raiders for $175,000 and planned to move them to Comiskey Park. All parties hastened to refute the story.

Veeck said the tale was “absolutely not true. I have not talked with officials of the Oakland team or any other professional football club and I don’t contemplate doing so. We would like to have a tenant for Comiskey Park in the offseason, but I wouldn’t go so far as buying Oakland to get one.”

Wayne Valley said, “We don’t know anything about that. It’s the first I’ve heard of it and it’s completely untrue. It’s a shot in the dark. If there were anything to it, I would be the first one to know.”

Chet Soda said the report was a “complete surprise to him,” though co-owner Roger Lapham said that Soda had responded positively to the rumor when he first heard it and Lapham added for himself, “You can quote me: the Raiders are for sale at the proper price.”

All this served to highlight news of continued dissension amongst the owners. Lapham said, “We’ll either resolve our problems among ourselves or sell the club before the end of the month.”

Newly installed team president Ed McGah acknowledged there were disagreements but thought they “should see it through at least the second year, as we agreed.” He admitted some of the owners wanted to sell out and that other owners had offered to buy them out, but in any event the team would stay in Oakland. “Bob Osborne, for one, is too civic-minded to let (a move) happen and our pre-incorporation articles state that no one can sell any part of his stock without the unanimous approval of the other owners.”

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 4, 1961

According to Scotty Stirling in the Oakland Tribune, the anticipated shakeup among the Oakland Raider ownership had begun, with Ed McGah, Robert Osborne, and Wayne Valley assuming more dominant roles. As an interim measure, McGah was named president with Bud Hastings taking the post of acting general manager.

Valley said, “We met for three hours and named McGah president and appointed Bud acting general manager. That was the heart of the meeting. We haven’t had time to think about filling the general manager’s job on a permanent basis because right now we are more concerned with signing some of our top draftees.” The team hadn’t ruled out removing the “acting” from Hastings’ job title at some point.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

January 2, 1961

In news that was not unexpected, Chet Soda stepped down as president and general manager of the Raiders today. “I have contemplated this move for some time,” he said. “I expect to stay with the organization and have no immediate plans to sell my holdings in the Raiders.” He said he had twice tried to resign earlier, but the board of directors had talked him out of it each time. There was no comment from the other owners and both Robert Osborne and Wayne Valley said they hadn’t heard of his decision until reporters tried to reach them for comment. “I haven’t been to my office in three days,” said Osborne. “The letter of resignation could be in the mail on my desk.”

No successor was named, but Eddie Erdelatz quickly removed himself from the running. “I am not old enough to quit coaching,” he said. “I don’t think any man could handle both the coaching and the business end of the Raiders. It is too much for one man in a new organization. I want it known that I’m still working for the Raiders and intend to continue as coach.” With no word from the owners and Erdelatz’s lack of interest, assistant general manager Bud Hastings was thought to have the inside track for the position.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

December 18, 1960

Rumors appeared saying there would be a shakeup at tomorrow’s owners’ meeting. The story said Chet Soda would sell his shares and he would be joined by at least three others. Don Blessing, Charles Harney, Roger Lapham, and Wallace Marsh were the names mentioned. The story also said Wayne Valley was rising to the top of the leadership hierarchy.

Chet Soda claimed ignorance. “I know nothing about this except what I read,” he said. “We have our regular corporation meeting tomorrow, but if there is going to be any stock changing hands, I haven’t heard about it.”

San Francisco Chronicle

November 23, 1960

A story by Scotty Stirling appeared in today’s Oakland Tribune that was probably, in part, a response to yesterday’s piece in the San Francisco Chronicle criticizing the Raiders’ front office. Addressing rumors that the team would force Chet Soda out of the general manager’s role, to be replaced by Robert Osborne and Wayne Valley, an unidentified owner said it wasn’t true. “We met just ten days ago and gave Soda a vote of confidence,” said the owner. “It would take a majority vote to force Soda out of his position and Chet is held in high regard by at least five of the eight voting owners. There may be some unhappiness with a couple of the owners, and it has become fashionable now to blame Soda for every little thing that goes wrong with the Raiders.

“It’s terrible when you think we have a club that is right in the thick of the title fight and something like this comes up. The only important thing is what the club does on the field and right now we are in a position to pick up all the marbles. I think it’s a tribute to Erdelatz and the team that they perform as well as they do with all this business about the front office continually in the papers.”

The story pointed out that Soda’s position was meant to be temporary and that Eddie Erdelatz was expected to take on the role at some point. Soda was not being compensated for his work and put in as many as twelve hours a day running the team, though he had started to delegate more responsibilities to his assistant, Bud Hastings. According to Stirling, Soda had had enough of the job, but wouldn’t be forced out and would leave on his own terms.

Soda, so far, had refused to comment on the rumor, saying, “Sunday we play in Los Angeles in a game that could put us in a first-place tie. That, and only that, is the number one thing on my mind right now.”

The piece also discussed rumors that Erdelatz was looking for a way out, but the same unidentified owner said the Raider coach had expressed some dissatisfaction with the way the team was run but had never been heard to say he wanted to leave.

In less dramatic news, the Raiders announced they had taken halfback Bobby Crespino out of Mississippi with their sixth-round pick in the draft.

Oakland Tribune