Reserved tickets

Central League Fever

Written by: Moxcowhite • Daniel Chapman
Artwork by: Eamonn Dalton
A goalkeeper making a save at Elland Road in the 1950s. We were rubbish in the FA Cup then, too

Leeds United’s cup run of 1950 acted like feverish hypnotism on the city, and when the Peacocks won their fourth round replay at Bolton and confirmed their fifth round tie at home to Cardiff, the mania went up another notch. A newspaper competition named goalie Harold Searson’s lucky doll mascot ‘Lulu’ — ‘Leeds United Leeds United’ — while complaints came into the letters page about soccer fans singing Hunslet Rugby League songs in all the excitement. The strict conditions under which Hunslet fans may sing ‘We’ve swept the seas before, boys’ were set out in some detail.

But how could Elland Road accommodate this new interest in the sport when Cardiff came to town? The Welsh were allocated 12,500 tickets, and more than 50,000 had come through the gates for a league game, against Spurs, for the first time since 1932. The United had never been so popular, and that was a problem.

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