Bolton Wanderers return to Wembley a century after lifting the FA Cup there in 1923

 wembley 1923
Vast crowds of 300,00 people surged into the stadium, far exceeding its official capacity of 125,000 Credit: PA Images
  • Article written by Granada Reports journalist Rob Jaskowski

Bolton Wanderers are at Wembley this weekend where they take on Plymouth in the Papa Johns Trophy final.

Current ticket sales are believed to be around the 34,000 mark, making it one of the biggest crowds the team will have ever played in front of.

But the club are no strangers at the prestigious London stadium, visiting it on numerous occasions over recent years.

A hundred years ago, in 1923, when the famous 'Twin Towers' were brand new, thousands of Wanderers fans headed to the capital on trains and buses to watch their team play against West Ham.

It was the first football match to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Bolton versus West Ham souvenir programme from the 1923 FA Cup Final Credit: PA Images

It was at a time when widespread television coverage was yet to come, and professional football was in its infancy.

The final was preceded by chaotic scenes as spectators surged into the stadium.

The match began 45 minutes late as the vast crowd was shepherded by police to clear the pitch and stand around the perimeter.

Although West Ham started strongly, Bolton proved the dominant team for most of the match and won 2–0.

The pre-match overcrowding prompted discussion in the House of Commons and led to the introduction of safety measures for future finals Credit: Press Association

The match is often referred to as the "White Horse Final" and is commemorated by the White Horse Bridge at the new Wembley Stadium.

The famous 'white horse' which is now commemorated by the White Horse Bridge at the new Wembley Stadium. Credit: British Pathe

The horse was called Billie, who was actually grey – but the saturation on old photos made him appear lighter.

Credit: Press Association