24 April 1909


100 years ago today was Cup Final day in England, with the two finalists, Manchester United and Bristol City, both having reached this stage for the first time in their history. The natch was played at the Crystal Palace in front of 71,000 fans with United winning with a single  goal, Sandy Turnbull netting after a shot by Harold Halse had come back off the crossbar. However, the match was not a classic and one source described it as “one of the poorest games for many a long year.”

Here is part of the Daily Mail’s report on the scenes at Crystal Palace that day:

“It was a generous, orderly, good-humoured crowd, full of life and enthusiasm. Many of those who travelled to see the game had to put up with inconvenience, even positive discomfort; but they took it all as it came. The Crystal Palace was, of course, the objective for everyone, but there was plenty of time for other things, and before and after the central event of the day the tourists extracted no end of amusement out of the sights of London.

Saturday was a profitable day for the street vendors of whirling and twirling and jumping and crawling things, of flowers and favours, of souvenirs and postcards. A large number of the visitors had provided themselves with their favourite team’s colours before they left home; but this made no difference: the more the better was the idea, and the merchants who had laid in stocks of favours did a roaring trade. …

Those who lost their ways and their trains on the return journey were allowed to pass the night in the stations, stolidly sleeping the hours away upon platform and waiting-room seats, until yesterday [Sunday] when they were sent on to their various destinations by subsequent excursions and ordinary trains.

‘There were about thirty of the men, I should say, who got left behind here on Saturday,’ said an official at King’s Cross. ‘We take their names and addresses and make them promise they will send on the extra fare entailed by their travelling on an ordinary train. Last year not one single wrong name or address was given, which speaks well for the type of men who come up.’ “


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