chapter  2
‘The Day was an Ugly One’: Wembley, 28th April 1923
Pages 17

Taylor and Francis Ltdfs s5202.sgm10.1080/1466097042000235182Socce Soceity466-970 (p int)/1743-9590 (online)Original Article2 04 & Francis Ltd50 00 Summer 2 04Since the events of 11th September 2001 the term ‘twin towers’ has taken on a new and terrible meaning. Before that it signified, to British people at least, something quite different and certainly less awful. The two squat towers that framed the main entrance were the distinctive feature of Simpson and Ayrton’s new sports stadium at Wembley Park in north London, hurriedly built to accommodate the Football Association Cup final of 1923. It was also to form a central part of the campus for the British Empire Exhibition, scheduled to open at Wembley in the summer of 1924 and designed both to celebrate the sinews of empire, and to promote trade within it. In the days when building programmes ran to timetable and costs did not escalate too frighteningly over budget, the stadium was completed on schedule. It staged its first event – the Cup final between West Ham United and Bolton Wanderers – on the afternoon of Saturday 28th April 1923. It aroused enormous public interest. An estimated half a million people descended on Wembley, and chaos prevailed across north London that day, which

The

Times

newspaper described as an ‘ugly one’.