The gates were opened at 11:30 am as advertised, three and a half hours before the match was due to begin, and until 1:00 pm the flow of people into the stadium was orderly. By 1:00 pm, however, a vast number of people were pouring into the stadium, and after an inspection by the stadium authorities, the decision was made to close the gates at 1:45 pm. Spectator William Rose said later that Olympic Way was "seething with people" and that "the nearer I got to the stadium the worse it got, by the time I got there the turnstiles had been closed". Although the information was relayed to various railway stations, thousands of people continued to arrive and mass outside the gates. Organisation within the stadium was poor, and in his report on the match the correspondent for the Daily Mail described the stewarding as "useless" and stated that officials in and around the stadium "seemed to know nothing". Fans were not directed to any specific area, and the tiers in the lower half of the stadium filled up much faster than those higher up. As the crowds outside the stadium continued to grow, local police stations were mobilised, but by the time officers arrived the crowd was too large for them to take any effective form of action. At 2:15 pm, the crowds outside the stadium rushed at the barriers and forced their way in. Spectators in the lower tiers had to climb the fences to escape the crush and overflowed onto the pitch itself. Spectator Terry Hickey said later that "To put it mildly, the whole thing was a bloody shambles". The crowd was officially reported as 126,047, but estimates of the actual number of fans in attendance range from 150,000 to over 300,000. The FA refunded 10% of the total gate money to fans who had pre-purchased tickets but were unable to reach their assigned seats. The roads around the stadium were blocked and the Bolton players were forced to abandon their coach a mile from the stadium and make their way through the crowds. The Times stated that at one point it seemed impossible that the match would ever be able to start, but that when King George V arrived, the mood of the crowd changed. After enthusiastically singing "God Save The King", the crowd began to assist the authorities in clearing the playing area.
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