AudlemOnline Logo Link

On this day – April 28th

28th April 2018 @ 6:06am – by Webteam
Back home  /  News  /  On this day – April 28th
default

First Wembley FA Cup Final

In a stark contrast to what happened with the current stadium, the original Wembley was completed a year ahead of schedule, so the FA Cup Final was able to be switched there in 1923 after a run of several years at Stamford Bridge . It was to prove memorable not just as the first FA Cup final played at the venue, but as a disaster only just avoided.
The FA had gone to town on pre-match publicity, fearing that the 125,000 capacity would not be filled on the big day, April 28th, 1923. But good weather, the prospect of obtaining tickets at the gate, and the fact that London side West Ham was one of the finalists, drew unprecedented numbers, though the other team, Bolton , was only expected to bring about 5,000 fans from Lancashire . In the end it is estimated that at least 150,000 got in, with more sources saying that close to 300,000 squeezed their way into the new stadium. Stewarding was totally ineffectual. The police, until reinforcements arrived from all corners of the city, were overwhelmed.
Happily the mood was calm and cheerful, and when George V arrived the spectators sang God Save the King with gusto.
But it looked as if the match might be cancelled, as spectators had spilled onto the pitch, and indeed the start was delayed by 45 minutes. The saviours of the day were Constable George Storey and his police horse. On the newsreel footage of the events the horse, actually a grey, appeared white, thus the final has gone into history as the White Horse Final.
The police and their horses managed to move the crowds back until the touchlines were visible again, the whole operation being done with good humour, and so the game could begin with spectators inches behind the white lines.
Eleven minutes into the game there was another crowd surge, again encroaching on the pitch, so the referee was forced to halt play until the crowd could once more be forced back – though this time there were some injuries, and 22 fans were sent to hospital.
The game itself, which finished 2-0 to Bolton, had one particularly controversial moment, Bolton's second goal, with West Ham players claiming the shot by Jack Smith came back off the post, not as the referee thought off a spectator jammed against the net, and the Hammers further claimed the ball had been kicked by a Bolton fan on the touchline to one of his team.
The referee called for the VAR system to help him with his decision, but unfortunately it hadn't been invented yet.
If such events happened today there would be a massive national outcry, and the press was indeed scathing, though the obvious heroic angle offered by the white horse mitigated the criticism. The rules and safety regulations were changed well before the following year's final, one obvious amendment being no ticket sales on the day.

You can watch edited highlights of the match here, thankfully without managers' interviews!

What was the name of Constable George Storey's horse?

Click here for the answer

Billie


This article is from our news archive. As a result pictures or videos originally associated with it may have been removed and some of the content may no longer be accurate or relevant.

Get In Touch

AudlemOnline is powered by our active community.

Please send us your news and views using the button below:

Village Map

© 2005-2024 AudlemOnline
Visitors Today 0 / Apr 18,311