The highest ever crowd at Elland Road
01 Jan 2017 09:34am, by YorkshireSquare
The biggest ever crowd to squeeze into Elland Road was 57,892 (According to leedsunited.com) on 15th March 1967, who saw arch-rivals United and Sunderland slug out a draw in an F.A. Cup Fifth Round Replay. Congratulations to Leon from Driffield who entered our competition and won a copy of The Only Place for Us: An A-Z History of Elland Road.
The clubs had been promoted together in 1964 and matches between the two clubs were not for the faint hearted. That was certainly the case in the 1-1 draw in the first match at Roker Park, where a howling gale swept the length of Roker Park didn’t help as tempers reached boiling point in a match dominated by strong defences. For the Elland Road Replay, Sunderland replaced the injured Bobby Kerr by his deputy Allan Gauden, while Albert Johanesson took the place of Paul Madeley, but he too was replaced by Terry Cooper at half-time.
However, the replay saw most of the action off the pitch. Thousands of spectators were locked out when the turnstiles were shut twenty-three minutes before kick-off with some fans, desperate to see the action, scrambling on the Scratching Shed roof. Leeds had been unable to make the match all ticket due to the time factor and it was only ten minutes into the game that a ten foot crush barrier at the corner of Lowfields Road and the Scratching Shed collapsed. Fans, many shocked and dazed, suffering from crush injuries, spilled beyond the perimeter track and on to the pitch for safety.
Referee Ray Tinkler halted the match and a fleet of ambulances took eighteen people to Leeds General Infirmary as United Chairman, Harry Reynolds, appealed for calm on the public address system. After fifteen minutes, United Officials, Police and Tinkler agreed that the match could continue with hundreds of people squatting near the touchlines.
United fell behind in the thirty-seventh minute when Scottish forward John O’Hare, who was later to join United during Brian Clough’s brief reign, latched onto George Herd’s through ball and fired in a shot which looped into the net off Gary Sprake’s outstretched leg. United were level within a minute, winning a free-kick on the edge of the Sunderland penalty box, which Billy Bremner tapped to Johnny Giles, who sent a low shot scorching past Jim Montgomery. Despite United having the bulk of possession, defences remained on top, with United unable to breach the Sunderland defence which was well marshaled by George Kinnell and even extra-time could not determine a victor. The closest United came to grabbing a winner was in extra-time when Jimmy Montgomery made a miraculous save to turn away a Jack Charlton shot in extra-time.
The draw meant a third meeting on neutral territory with Sunderland opting for Middlesbrough as their preferred venue. United preference was Hillsborough or Hull City’s Boothferry Park. Eventually the FA selected Hull. So the tie moved on to a second replay at Hull City’s Boothferry Park, where United won a stormy game 2-1 with a controversial late Johnny Giles penalty after which two Sunderland players, George Mulhall and George Herd, were sent off.
Read more about all three matches at Oz White’s Leeds United History.