What happened the week Portsmouth’s Mnoga was born?

Haji Mnoga made his Pompey debut at Crawley. Picture: Joe Pepler
Haji Mnoga made his Pompey debut at Crawley. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Haji Mnoga became Pompey’s second-youngest player in the club’s post-war history last night. 

The former Trafalgar School pupil signed two-year scholarship terms with the Blues in June.

But he was given his first-team bow in the 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy victory over Crawley.

Aged 16 years, five months and 24 days, only academy team-mate Joe Hancott supersedes Mnoga to don the star & crescent in a senior outing.

Here’s a look at what was happening around the time the defender was born on April 16, 2002. 

How were Pompey faring?

Things weren’t going brilliantly at Fratton Park when Mnoga was born.

Despite a promising start to the Division One season under Graham Rix, Pompey’s form slumped in the winter and they found themselves flirting with relegation. 

Rix was sacked on March 25, with Harry Redknapp swiftly taking charge as manager. 

What about Mnoga’s first game after being born?

Four days earlier, Pompey had suffered a 1-0 defeat to Watford at Fratton Park.

It meant the Blues had failed to win their past seven matches, with Redknapp not delivering a victory in his opening four.

Mnoga’s first game when born was Pompey’s final fixture of the campaign at Manchester City on April 21.

The Blues failed to bring the curtain down on their season with a victory, suffering a 3-1 loss at Maine Road. 

Steve Howey opened the deadlock for the hosts on eight minutes, with Shaun Goater doubling City’s lead 18 minutes later.

Courtney Pitt grabbed one back for Redknapp’s men in the 59th minute but Jon Macken’s 86th-minute strike put the game to bed.

It meant the Blues finished 17th in the Division One table, just four points above the relegation zone.

The Pompey team that day was: Dave Beasant, Lewis Buxton, Scott Wilson, Linvoy Primus, Courtney Pitt, Jamie Vincent, Kevin Harper (Kevin Harper 79 mins), Robert Prosinecki, Nigel Quashie, Mark Summerbell, Rowan Vine (Garry Brady 82 mins).

Who was top of the Premiership?

Arsenal sat at the summit of the table on 72 points with five games to go.

Arsene Wenger’s side would go on to claim a 12th top-flight title, finishing seven points clear of second-placed Liverpool.

Gunners striker Thierry Henry netted 24 goals to clinch the Golden Boot.

What was number one in the charts?

The first series of Pop Idol had just finished and the teenage girls of Britain were still crazed over Will Young and Gareth Gates.

Although it was the former who won the ITV singing contest, Gates topped the charts on the day of Mnoga’s birth with Unchained Melody.

Celine Dion’s A New Day Has Come was the best-selling album that week.