The incredible Wembley opening day
Before 95 years, the newly built Wembley opened its doors to host its first FA Cup final. 200.000 spectators crammed in to watch Bolton vs West Ham (2-0). View photos, the official game program from 1923, how the police acted, and why halftime was never done in the brand new dressing rooms.
It is commonly accepted that when the British were playing football, the rest of the world was wondering why the ball is round.
The above sentence can be a great exaggeration. But in 1923 the British built a pure football stadium like Wembley for 200.000 people. They released a match program that many would envy in 2018. So, the use of our exaggeration is something that the British won. Of course, the problems were not missing.
On April 28 of 1923, the football temple of Wembley opened its doors for the first time in order to host the FA Cup final. The game is well known as the "White Horse Final". Many things to remember from the match, but also for what happened before.
Before the game, 100.000 people gathered to the Wembley Park in order to attend. The crowd was growing every minute and was breaking the doors & the railings. King George V followed the match sitting to a special royal box in the stands.
The game came close to a postponement but eventually started with a 45-minute delay. 200.000+ people entered a stadium that could fit a maximum of 126.047 people! It was normal that the game was extremely difficult to be played as the crowd was actually inside the field.
The police tried to help the referees so they can see all four lines. The scenes below in the photo were typical in any corner kick. The police tried to push the crowd away to allow players to perform.
Bolton won the FA Cup trophy with a 2-0 score. This was their first FA Cup trophy for Bolton after two failed attempts.
The first goal scored at Wembley came just two minutes after kick off. David Jack was the first player to score at the Wembley. Jack played three more finals and became the first UK player that had a 10.000 pounds clause to his contract.
Regarding the first goal, it is said that the West Ham defender was totally out of his position. Just cause he was looking to focus while he was entangled with the crowd.
It is worth noting that during the halftime neither of the teams used the brand new dressing rooms. Again, due to the crowd into the field, it was impossible to reach the dressing rooms.
You can learn more & watch more pictures of the Wembley History on Sky.
The Wembley was built after 300 days and its cost was 750.000 pounds. 25.000 tons of cement was used, 1500 tons of steel and half a million screws. A few days before the final, an infantry battalion used the Wembley platforms for fifteen minutes, to test their strength.