West Ham United

West Ham United, 1923, Boleyn Ground, East London
Richards, Ruffell, Moore, Tresadern, Brown, Watson, Young, Henderson, Kay, Bishop, Hufton, Trainer Paynter





West Ham United; 1923 FA Cup Final

The first Final at the new stadium at Wembley, played on 28 April 1923, was marked by disorderly scenes unparalleled in the history of the game. Before the match a crowd of 100,000 outside the stadium rushed the gates, burst the barriers, and swarmed on to the field of play. In all about 200,000 people a record football crowd squeezed into a space supposed to accommodate 127,000.

The stadium had been completed in 300 working days at a cost of £750,000. The workmen had made use of 25,000 tons of concrete, 1,500 tons of steel and half a million rivets. A few days before the Final a battalion of infantry marked time on the terraces for fifteen minutes to test their strength.

But for the anger of the mob of 200,000 people, and the presence of King George V in the Royal Box, the match would probably have been called off. Although it took three quarters of an hour after the time fixed for the start of the match for mounted police to clear the pitch, it was virtually impossible to observe the rules of the game. When a player took a corner kick, for example, the crowd were so close up to the touch line that he could not take his run until policemen had forced people away from the corner of the field. Bolton won the match, 2 0 and took the Cup for the first time, after two previous appearances in the Final. The first Wembley goal came only two minutes after the delayed start, and David Jack, Bolton's inside right, was the scorer.

Jack later played in three more finals, one for Bolton and two for Arsenal. He was also the first player for whom a transfer fee of £10,000 was paid. It is said that, while he was shooting into the West Ham net in the 1923 Final, one of the West Ham defenders, Tresadern, was struggling to get back on to the pitch after finding himself the wrong side of part of the crowd on the touch line.

When half time came neither side left the field, and eight minutes after the interval Bolton scored a second. J. R. Smith, Bolton's centre forward and the only Scotsman in the match, took a beautiful pass from Vizard on his left and shot home past Hufton. The ball rebounded into play so swiftly that few realized he had scored.

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