Continuing our look back at some of City’s past history in the FA Cup...A is for...
The attendance of 7,012 for the Oldham match last month was our highest home attendance since 7,361 saw the tie with Nottingham Forest in 2007. At least 40 (not all attendances are recorded prior to 1924) other home crowds have exceeded the Oldham figure and on several occasions a new Club record attendance has been set at an FA Cup tie.
The visit of Derby County in 1902 saw 16,435 tickets sold but bad weather on the day meant only around 10,000 actually attended which was still a then Club record. The visit of Leicester City in January 1929 saw a new record crowd of 16,849 and that gate remained the ground record until January 1947 when 17,092 attended against Nottingham Forest.
Whilst several League gates exceeded that figure over the next two years peaking at 23,146 for a Division 2 match against Grimsby in 1949 (beaten again in 1967 v Derby in the League Cup) a further seven FA Cup ties have been watched by more people at Sincil Bank since the Forest game which are:
18,122 v Peterborough United on a midweek afternoon in 1957
18,374 v Sheffield United in 1964
19,602 v West Bromwich Albion in 1949
21,693 v Burnley in 1960
21,741 v Wolves in 1958
21,757 v Grimsby in 1951 (the only one of these games we won) and the highest home crowd is
23,027 v Preston in 1954
Since Sincil Bank was redeveloped the only five figure home attendance has been 10,408 for the clash with Sunderland in 1999.
At the other end of the scale several crowds for matches in the Victorian era were reportedly attended by fewer than 1,000 with 300 the figure mentioned for a replay two days before Christmas 1896 against Worksop but since 1924 the lowest crowd was the 1,344 who turned up for the replay against Worcester City in 2013. It is one of just five games with an official recorded attendance of less than 2,000 and all have occurred since 2011. The lowest crowd whilst we were in the Football League is 1,794 against Hereford United in 2011.
Away from home the largest official attendance is 41,093 at Portsmouth in 1952 followed by 35,456 at Burnley in 1960, 32,196 at Liverpool in 1955, 31,580 at Millwall in 1921 and 31,429 at Birmingham in 1969. Apart from Millwall where we won 3-0 we lost all the games.
Again apart from some very early games with low estimated attendances such as 650 at Peterborough in 1895 all of the lowest crowds have been recorded recently with the 765 at Guiseley earlier this season the lowest. The 873 at Eastleigh and 886 at Alfreton both in 2014 are the only others at less than 1,000. The lowest crowd to watch us whilst we were in the Football League was 1,450 at Witton Albion in 1993
Only two City FA Cup ties have been abandoned before the final whistle both due to bad light in pre floodlight days.
The first game was a replay at Gainsborough Trinity on a Wednesday afternoon in November 1900. With the game poised at one all going into the final seconds Tommy McInnes, who had scored City’s earlier goal, headed home a William Gibson free kick only for celebrations to be cut short as the referee had blown the final whistle before the ball entered the net. Extra-time was started but the light was failing badly and despite having nearby street lights lit to try and provide extra light the game was abandoned after 12 minutes of the extra period without any further scoring. Rather than try again at Gainsborough the rearranged game was fixed for Bramall Lane, Sheffield, so this match has been included in the total number of fixtures City have played in the FA Cup.
The second abandonment has not been included in the total due to the fact that the re-arranged game again took place at the same venue as the abandoned game. The match took place at Mansfield Town in December 1937 and was an eagerly anticipated clash that attracted 12,308 with City having to ask for more tickets as the initial allocation quickly sold out (history repeating itself with Ipswich this year!) and special excursions were run by both road and rail to transport the fans to Field Mill.
After going behind early on City equalised through William White and then took the lead before half-time when Bernard Towler headed home from a White centre but with a heavy mist making visibility difficult the referee called a halt to proceedings after 66 minutes with City still 2-1 ahead although there were no complaints about the decision. Four days later a smaller crowd of 8,082 saw the scoreline reversed as Mansfield won 2-1!