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  Sunday, 1 October, 2000, 22:54 GMT 23:54 UK
Bolton clinch the Cup
West Ham players
West Ham players wait for the huge crowds to disperse
Bolton Wanderers 2-0 West Ham

Date: 28 April 1923

In a final in which the crowd provided as much excitement as the football, Bolton were able to win the first FA Cup at the new Wembley Stadium.

Only two minutes in, David Jack put Bolton ahead with a powerful drive and John Smith finished off the Hammers in the second half with a controversial volley.

However, it looked as though the spectators played as much a part in the game as the two teams.

Over 200,000 crammed into the new Stadium to see Wembley's Cup final, dwarfing the paltry 53,000 who graced Stamford Bridge for the previous FA Cup.

Billy the white horse and rider PC Scorey
Billy the white horse saves the day
Though kick-off was at 3:00pm, the doors were already shut by 1:45pm with 126,047 crammed inside.

This may have been the official figure that the authorities claimed Wembley could hold, but it did not stop another 65,000 or so from climbing the railings, scaling the walls and jumping the turnstiles.

By 2:00pm police stations from miles around had been mobilised, but by the time they arrived at the stadium, there was little they could do about the chaos.

As King George V arrived at his Royal Box, more than three quarters of the pitch was covered by the crowd and it looked like play was not going to get under way.

Saviour


As my horse picked his way onto the field, I saw nothing but a sea of heads. I thought, 'We can't do it.'
PC Scorey
Hope came in the form of a 13-year-old white horse called Billy.

While Billy, ridden by PC George Scorey, was not the only horse at Wembley, he was the only white one, and played a crucial part in clearing the crowded pitch.

PC Scorey was sceptical at first: "As my horse picked his way onto the field, I saw nothing but a sea of heads. I thought, 'We can't do it.'"

However, Scorey eventually did find a way.

"I told them to join hands and heave and they went back step by step until we reached the line."

With the pitch more or less cleared, the game was eventually started 40 minutes later.

Controversial

No sooner had the game started than Bolton's David Jack crashed in a shot so hard that it whizzed past West Ham keeper Ted Hutton and knocked out a spectator behind who in turn knocked over a whole section of the crowd like skittles.

Bolton v West Ham
The match finally gets underway
While the goal was good, there was some controversy about the absence of Hammers right-back Jack Tresadern who was trapped in the crowd and unable to get back onto the pitch after the throw-in that led to the goal.

Controversy reigned supreme in the second half when eight minutes in, Bolton put in their second goal.

Ted Vizard crossed for John Smith to volley past Hutton, but caused some complaints from the West Ham side after the ball appeared to hit the woodwork and bounce back into play.

However, referee David Asson of West Bromich maintained it was still a goal, ruling that the ball had hit a spectator, not the crossbar.

Not to be appeased that quickly, West Ham then pointed to a Bolton fan they alleged had kicked the ball back into play and into Vizard's path as he dribbled down the wing before crossing.

Mr Asson was having none of it and pointed to the centre circle.

Hammers skipper George Kav pleaded with Mr Asson to abandon the match, but the Bolton captain chipped in with: "We're doing fine, ref, we'll play until dark to finish the match if necessary."

All in all, a fine result for Bolton, but some would say they could not have done it without the support of their fans.



Bolton Wanderers: Pym, Haworth, Finney, Nuttall, Seddon, Jennings, Butler, Jack, JR Smith, Vizard.

West Ham: Hufton, Henderson, Young, Bishop, Kay, Tesadern, Richards, Brown, Watson, Moore, Ruffell.

Referee: DH Asson

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