1923 FA Cup Final Score: Bolton Wanderers 2-0 West Ham United
Date: Saturday 20 April 1923
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
Official Attendance: 127,047 (they claim up to 250,000 were in the stadium at kickoff
Referee: David Asson
Bolton Wanderers: Dick Pym, Bob Haworth, Alex Finney, Harry Nuttall, Jimmy Seddon, Billy Jennings, Billy Butler, David Jack, Jack Smith, Joe Smith, TedVizard
Bolton Wanderers Goal Scorers: DavidJack 2′, and Jack Smith 53′
West Ham United: Ted Hufton, Billy Henderson, Jack Young, Sid Bishop, George Kay, Jack Tresadem, Dick Richards, Billy Brown, Vic Watson, Billy Moore, Jimmy Ruffell
The White Horse Final
The first Final at the new stadium at Wembley, played on 28 April 1923, was marked by disorderly scenes unparalleled in the game’s history.
Before the 1923 FA Cup final, a crowd of 100,000 outside the stadium rushed the gates, burst the barriers, and swarmed onto the field of play. As a result, about 250,000 people – a record football crowd – squeezed into a space supposed to accommodate 127,000.
The Empire stadium was completed in 300 working days at £750,000. The workers used 25,000 tons of concrete, 1500 tons of steel, and half a million rivets.
But for the anger of the mob of 250,000 people and the presence of King George V in the Royal Box, the match would probably be called off.
In response to the crowd’s enthusiastic singing of “God Save The King,” the authorities began clearing the playing field.
Upon entering the field at 3:10 pm, the players joined the police, asking the crowd to leave so the game could begin. However, they were soon surrounded by enthusiastic fans who trapped them on the field. As a result of the well-intentioned backslapping and vigorous handshaking, players were tired and shaken for the commencement of the 1923 FA Cup final.
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 was so close up to the touchline that he could not take his run until police officers had forced people away from the corner of the field.
Bolton Wanderers won the match 2-0 and took the Cup for the first time after two previous appearances in the FA Cup 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 FA Cup Final, one of the West Ham defenders, Tresadern, was struggling to get back onto the pitch after finding himself on the wrong side of part of the crowd on the touchline.
When half-time came, neither side left the field, and Bolton Wanderers scored a second goal eight minutes after the interval. Jack Smith, Bolton’s center-forward and the only Scotsman in the match, took a beautiful pass from Vizard on his left and shot home past a perplexed Hufton.
The ball rebounded into play so swiftly that few had realized he had scored.
1923 FA Cup Final Winners
Bolton maintained the score until the final whistle to win their first FA Cup victory. Captain Joe Smith was presented with the FA Cup trophy, and the King left the stadium amid cheers. Both teams received commemorative gold medals.
Around 900 spectators were treated for slight injuries, and 22 were taken to the hospital. Two policemen were also injured during the 1923 FA Cup final.
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!