On this day: ‘Enough transfer hot air at Portsmouth to inflate six of Richard Branson’s balloons’.
The Pompey History Society looks back on what was making the Sports Mail headlines on Saturday, April 6, 1996.
Pompey pulled further away from the Football League first division relegation zone by beating Watford at Vicarage Road in front of 8,226.
The Blues looked the slightly sharper side early on and took the lead on 28 minutes when Andy Awford, making his 150th appearance for the club, angled a shot past Kevin Miller for his first league goal.
Tommy Mooney converted a penalty to equalise in the 41st minute, but Pompey regained the lead after 61 minutes when Alan McLoughlin’s ferocious volley nearly scythed through the net.
With the match almost over, the Blues’ win was marred by John Durnin being sent off after clashing with Andy Hessenthaler.
Pompey: Alan Knight, Danny Hinshelwood, Andy Awford, Alan McLoughlin, Andy Thomson, Russell Perrett, Martin Allen, Fitzroy Simpson, Deon Burton, Paul Hall, John Durnin.
Blues fans hit out at manager Terry Fenwick, blaming him for the team’s tumble towards the relegation zone.
One supporter wrote: ‘Since Terry Fenwick took over there has been enough transfer hot air to inflate six of Richard Branson’s balloons.’
Ryan Giggs scored the winner in a 3-2 win for Manchester United against neighbours Manchester City at Maine Road, while second-placed Newcastle United won 2-1 at home to Queens Park Rangers.
Toon manager Kevin Keegan hit back at suggestions that the arrival of Faustino Asprilla and David Batty at St James’ Park would cost his team the Premiership title.
The Magpies were three points behind United with a game in hand.
A Matt Le Tissier penalty 10 minutes from time earned Southampton a single-goal victory at home to Blackburn Rovers.
The kick-offs of matches at Arsenal and Wimbledon were delayed after a power failure on the London Underground held up fans on their way to the grounds.
Sunderland won 1-0 at Barnsley to stay top of the first division - five points ahead of Derby County who won by the same scoreline away to Oldham Athletic.
In Division Two, AFC Bournemouth were hammered 4-0 at Carlisle, while Brighton went down 1-0
away to Bristol Rovers.
Former Pompey player Mick Tait was sent off for two bookable offences in Hartlepool’s 2-0 defeat at Gillingham in Division Three.
Havant won an enthralling derby against Fareham 4-3, thanks to a David Wakefield hat-trick.
Steve Leigh was also on target for Havant, while the Fareham goals came from Paul Odey (2) and Dave Walters.
Waterlooville were beaten 3-0 by Fisher and Newport claimed a 2-0 victory over Weymouth at
St George’s Park.
Cambridge took the 142nd Boat Race with a winning time of 16 minutes 58 seconds.
- ROGER HOLMES