It’s 90 years since the F.A Cup Final was first played at Wembley Stadium. And almost a century on it remains one of the most talked about F.A Cup finals of all time.
The official attendance figure stands at 126,047, but is widely believed to be much higher than that, with some estimating nearer 300,000 punters descending upon Wembley.
King George V was in attendance to present the trophy. David Lloyd George gave the toast at the post-match dinner. A London club, West Ham United, made it to the final.
But the star of the day was Billie the white horse.
The final of 1923 is known to this day as The White Horse Final.
P.C George Scorey was one of the mounted policemen charged with coaxing the crowd off the pitch so that the match could commence.
“The horse was very good,” said Corey, “ easing them back with his nose and tail until we got a goal-line cleared. It was mainly due to the horse. Perhaps because he was white he commanded more attention. But more than that, he seemed to understand what was required of him. The other helpful thing was the good nature of the crowd.”
Around 900 fans were treated for injuries, 22 were hospitalized but there were no fatalities. The match kicked off a mere 45 minutes late, with fans standing right up to the perimeter of the pitch.
The East Londoners, however, went home disappointed, going down 2-0 to Bolton Wanderers on the day, with the West Ham trainer claiming: "It was that white horse thumping its big feet into the pitch that made it hopeless. Our wingers were tumbling all over the place, tripping up in great ruts and holes".
Today, at the new Wembley Stadium, the footbridge that crosses Wembley railway station is named The White Horse Bridge.
P.C George Storey was offered complimentary tickets to each subsequent Wembley final, but is said to have turned them down, as he had no interest in football.
West Ham host Manchester United in the 3rd Round of the F.A Cup this afternoon at 5.15p.m
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