The FA Cup Final 1893

Wolverhampton Wanderers

The ball

Perhaps the greatest concession made by the Football Association to the fact that football  was becoming essentially a workingman's game was the staging of the FA Cup final in the northwest of England for 2 seasons.
With the exception of the replay in 1886 the Cup Finals had all been played in London, and all bar one at The Oval. This cricket ground was, however, becoming unfit for purpose as the game grew in popularity. 25,000 had watched the 1892 final. As yet there were no big clubs in London, so there was no suitable venue in the capital. 
And so it was that in 1893 the Fallowfield Stadium (also known as Manchester Athletics Stadium) hosted the FA cup final between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton.
45,000 paid to get in but it is estimated that 60,000 were in attendance. 192 police officers were deployed to deal with this crowd.

Contemporary accounts describe the crowd as having a direct influence on the game, with the wingers being hampered by encroaching fans. Both sides protested against the game being played as a competitive fixture before the kick off.  Everton later appealed again that the game had been played in unfit conditions.The referee Mr C.J Hughes overruled the protest stating that, In his opinion, that there had not been sufficient interference with play to justify another match. The Everton protest was then withdrawn  A contemporary report in the describes some conflict between the police and spectators and liberal use of the baton, but rather dubiously commends the way the crowd  stayed behind the ropes.

The scene at Fallowfield on Saturday beggars description. The ground, it was theoretically estimated, was capable of  holding 60, 000 but as a matter of fact the exact number present was 68, 211 - far too large a crowd to be comfortably accommodated. The fact is there were thousands who could not get a sight of the game and naturally they pressed to the front. Up to half passed two the barriers held firm but they were not constructed to stand prolonged pressure and a quarter of an hour later there was an ominous crash and hundreds rushed through the opening and immediately filled the space between the reporters and the touchline. Some of the pencillers stuck to their posts as long as it was possible, but when the crowd behind began to fling sods, drainpipes and stones, they fled to the pavilion and their places were taken by a howling mob who quickly smashed the desks by using them to stand on.
Northern Daily Telegraph, 21.3.1893.

Everton were expected to win. They fielded a reserve team against Wolverhampton's first XI the week before the final and had won . Wanderers, however, provided a shock, winning the chaotic final 1-0 with a long range effort from Harry Allen.
Public sympathy lay with Wolverhampton. There were a number of reasons for this- Manchester Merseyside rivalry existed even then, so many  locals would have plumped for Wolves, who could also depend on neutrals to support them on account of their position as underdogs. There was also the matter of nationalism- the illustrations above and contemporary accounts of the match refer to  'play up England ' favours being worn by some spectators: Wolverhampton  fielded an English born XI whilst Everton had 6 Scotsmen on the park.