1992: Mad with joy and disbelief: It was the year of Christie - and of Lineker and Gower. We review it in the words of our writers at the time. Compiled by Chris Maume

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A visit to the City Ground these days is not what it was. Nottingham Forest are still a power in the land but there is something wrong . . . At a recent game half-time was enlivened by a vehement debate among several Forest fans who all had their views about where the club had gone wrong . . . The barmy wizard Clough was under attack for selling the wrong players and losing his zest.

Norman Fox gives an early warning of the troubles afflicting Nottingham Forest, then mid-table, now at the bottom.


This was rugby as it was meant to be played. Half a dozen VCs before breakfast and 33 points before half-time. No one could possibly have left the ground without a glow of satisfaction, having witnessed one of the finest exhibitions of running rugby.

Chris Rea sees England beat Ireland 38-9 at Twickenham.


Not for many years has a driver started a grand prix season with such a mechanical advantage. With Prost's future uncertain, and Senna temporarily marooned in the past, Mansell - and Williams - have no excuses this year. With this degree of superiority, there should be few, if any, mistakes. Mansell's major problem, indeed, might be the picking of a safe path through the back markers.

Nigel Roebuck at the start of the Formula One season.

Danny Baker was his temperate self. 'What's gone wrong with Millwall is we've gone soft,' he erupted rather than said. 'In the past, teams used to hate coming to The Den. It was a hostile, horrible place - and we were successful. Now it's the family club, creches and 'Welcome to Millwall. Please] Help yourself to three points'.'

Guy Hodgson sits in on the Six-O- Six Show on Radio 5.

Anything can happen in the 1992 World Cup. We know this because it already has. The world's best one-day team has lost three games. An off-spinner has opened the bowling. Derek Pringle has taken two diving catches. Pigs have seldom been seen travelling by land.

Tim de Lisle on the first week of cricket's World Cup down under.

The welcome awaiting England at journey's end was, quite understandably, tumultuous. It has been two years short of man's allotted span since successive Grand Slams were last achieved, and the crowd celebrated as if it would be another lifetime before it happened again. And why not? This was not an occasion for English phlegm.

Chris Rea sees England beat Wales 24-0 at Twickenham to take their second successive Grand Slam.

Twenty-eight was the fateful number. It was 13 seconds, 28 strides into Carvill's Hill's Gold Cup. But he should have taken off at 27. Horse and fence were not meant for each other. It was an enormous blunder. The whole half-ton of him galloping slap into that first Cheltenham obstacle, 4ft 6in of thick, hard-packed birch. It was exactly what his allies feared, what his opponents hoped for.

Brough Scott on the Gold Cup, won by Cool Ground.

As two-horse races go, this season's championship is going to be one of the good ones . . . We are about to discover who has the better head for heights. A personal inkling is that Manchester United may destroy their own greatest ambition.

Norman Fox gets it right after Manchester United drew 0-0 with Wimbledon, their sixth draw in 10 games.

As if the dowry was not going to be high enough already, the amount of money that a bride will have to present to Imran Khan inflated further still last week. One of the world's most eligible bachelors, Imran became yet more glamorous when he led Pakistan to victory over England in the World Cup final. Scyld Berry.


They passed us less than 200 yards from the post. Llewellyn had just this straight run for victory. The whip came up in his right hand, a spitting roar came through his clenched teeth. For him and his horse, this was their moment.

Brough Scott sees Chris Llewellyn win the Grand National on Party Politics.

The money-changers were outside the temple. Three hours before kick-off in the Manchester derby and the approach roads to Old Trafford are lined with spivs and hustlers muttering 'Any spare tickets?' There's a price on United's dream. Brough Scott.

They will never bury him. Nijinsky died on Wednesday. He now lies beneath three feet of Kentucky earth. But the memory still gallops free. The best I have ever seen.

Brough Scott.

Come the next millenium and followers of English cricket will surely look back at the summer of 1992, and laugh. The fixture list for this coming season could not indeed have been drawn up by a monkey with a typewriter. But that's only because monkeys are too clever to devise a programme which makes English cricketers play as much, rather than as well as possible . . . No self-respecting dog would dine on the uncoordinated mess that English professional cricket has become. Scyld Berry.

There is a writhing restlessness which you sense is building towards eruption. Men roll shoulders and lift knees, all the time staring hard into some far-off focus where hellfire burns. Local pride is fierce. A bare backside goes past with the red rose of Lancashire tattooed on its right buttock.

Brough Scott in the Wigan rugby league dressing room.


You could predict it but you still couldn't believe it. Lester Piggott won his 30th Classic at the silver- haired age of 56. Father Time should throw away his sickle in defeat.

Brough Scott sees Piggott win the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on Rodrigo De Triano.

When the teams trooped on, he looked like a fat man who had tagged on to the Liverpool line to live out every overweight's dream. During the whole Wembley experience his most pleased expression was when he was given a drink at the end of the match. But in between he did things to the football which must have sent it singing.

Brough Scott on Jan Molby, the fulcrum of Liverpool's 2-0 win over Sunderland in the FA Cup final.

Against a man who had lost only once in 45 professional contests, the Londoner gave one of the finest exhibitions of ring craft seen in Britain for many years.

Ken Jones sees Colin McMillan outpoint Maurizio Stecca to win the WBO world featherweight title.

Live League football has joined the broadcasts from on high and there is already talk of it being confined to a pay-as-you-view part of the BSkyB empire. More money. Fewer people able to afford it.

Guy Hodgson on BSkyB's pounds 304m deal to screen the Premier League.

Devious answer to open Derby (headline).

Greg Wood correctly tips Dr Devious to win the Derby at 8-1.

Ignore him now, criticise him for being in a slump at your peril. He is on the point of winning again.

John Hopkins on Nick Faldo, six weeks before his Open victory.

Sometimes one wonders what the players make of him. He launches into verbosity that makes Howard Wilkinson seem comparatively monosyllabic, and then adds 'I'm not telling you anything more than I'm telling the players.' Possibly they, like the rest of us, stumble through the undergrowth of his prattling in the belief that on the other side there is commonsense.

Norman Fox on the England manager, Graham Taylor.

'How much will I get back if I bet pounds 5 on Miss Independent?' Mr Cudgel Jnr, or something like that, replied with a strong dose of technogibberish which sounded to me that if Miss Independent won I would receive, tax free, pounds 1,057. On seeing my eyes glint Mr Cudgel's minder and interpreter quickly interjected: 'You'll get back 15 quid love, OK?' Which I didn't because she came last.

Alyson Rudd goes to the dogs at Walthamstow.


Her legs have been strapped up underneath and in front of her. Her hunched shoulders demand a new rhythm from the wheels, and as she accelerates up to nearly 20mph you see why aficionados think she is something special. She is a lovely, flowing spider on the spin, a tough one to beat.

Brough Scott sees Tanni Grey in the National Wheelchair Games. She later won four gold medals at the Barcelona Paralympics.

Holmes could only win by a knock-out so he boldly set about Evander Holyfield, driving in right hooks, raising a small storm until his energy drained away. Then he was just an old fighter clearly outpointed in a tedious contest that had nothing to do with the dramas of his past.

Ken Jones, in Las Vegas, on the last round of Larry Holmes's attempt on the world heavyweight title.

For his own reasons Taylor made Lineker the scapegoat, but unlike Brolin and van Basten, Lineker had no inventive support from midfield. For Taylor to move that blame to Lineker by having him substituted was a scandal for which he must make retribution. Attempting to get England into the next World Cup finals will be good enough punishment.

Norman Fox, after England had lost to Sweden and been eliminated from the European Championship.

A nation sits enthralled as Szygzplodz Wigaflibowic trounces old favourite Szogzplydz Flibawigovic in a nail-biting 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 thriller. Des Lynam sleeps happily through the news that 12-year-old Cathy Spang from Oklahoma is through to the second round. And, as ever, there's the welcome return of the golden oldies. Will Jimmy Connors/Ivan Lendl/John McEnroe overcome advancing years, aching muscles etc, to cause an unlikely upset against 17-year- old Craig Steroid on the Centre Court? (Answer: no).

Marcus Berkmann on Wimbledon.

Cometh the hour, cometh David Gower. Having come to earth at Lord's, where they paid a predictable price for over-extending themselves in attack, England have recalled the man grounded since the tour of Australia.

Scyld Berry on Gower's recall for the third Test.


The whiff of charred reputation drifts across Centre Court this week. Barely a day after tennis's aristocrats had taken their places in the quarter-finals of the men's singles, they were gone.

Guy Hodgson, during a Wimbledon in which none of the top four men's singles seeds made the semi-finals for the first time since 1951.

Thompson began his day watched by three bona fide spectators - Jon and Guri Eidsvik, and their dog Titus. The dog, a Gordon setter of Scottish origin, had a problem with the starting gun - once he heard it go he whimpered to be allowed to chase grouse.

Mike Rowbottom, in Trondheim, Norway, sees Daley Thompson try - and fail - to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard for the decathlon.

Nigel Mansell is more than the overwhelming favourite for today's Silverstone Grand Prix. The crowd, expected to be of record proportions, is almost daring him to lose. If all goes to plan, Mansell's race should amount to little more than a demonstration run.

Nigel Roebuck on the day of Mansell's victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

He is quite simply the best British golfer of this century and the most methodical golfer the world has seen since Ben Hogan. He may not be the flashing, dashing genius that is Ballesteros, and thus there is no doubt that he is a less exciting player to watch, but the sustained quality of his golf this year has had to be seen to be believed.

John Hopkins on the eve of Nick Faldo's Open Championship victory at Muirfield.

There was a sudden hubbub in the crowd as the lens-laden photographers trudged like sherpas up the line. A hare had got up and was jinking for freedom. Sheltered from the wind, the ground smelt warm and hay sweet. Faldo finished his relentless, pacing, crouching mantra of preparation, stood over his putt. And holed it.

Brough Scott during the third round of the Open at Muirfield.

I have been training hard for the Olympics for many months now. Long, hard 100-metre runs up to the off-licence, marathon cushion- plumping sessions and daily digit exercises for swift-reflex remote- control manipulation have been part of my regimen since early February. And now everything is ready. The fridge is full, the answering machine is on. I'm at my physical and mental peak, ready for everything Des Lynam can throw at me. Marcus Berkmann.

They are going to have Desert Orchid, Red Rum, Shetland ponies, the mayor and chain, a man from God, a Scud missile (trained on whom?), Lester Piggott and all the rest. It's our first Sunday.

Brough Scott on the first Sunday race meeting, at Doncaster.


In some ways, the 25th Olympiad of the modern era is chiefly a celebration of how, over the last four years, the world has been made safe for the giant multinational corporations. Where Marx and Lenin once held sway, now the people's aspirations are defined by Nike and Panasonic. And here in Barcelona, the marriage of competition and commerce is consummated. Thus Coca-Cola can use its status as a main sponsor of the Games to proclaim, mystifyingly, that it is 'sharing the Olympic ideal'. What sporting ideal, exactly, can a soft drink share?

Richard Williams in Barcelona.

Fu Mingxia is 13 years old, 'almost 14'. Still glowing from her exertions, she looked less like an Olympic champion than a child who had just come in from playing on the neighbours' lawn.

Richard Williams on the Chinese Olympic diving champion.

Christie crossed the line in 9.96sec cocooned in utterly single-minded concentration which gave way suddenly to a look that was mad with joy and disbelief and things beyond words.

Mike Rowbottom sees Linford Christie's 100 metres gold medal.

The Pakistanis were invigorating in their 2-1 victory. They gave us cricket that was not safety first and fear of failure, but purely positive. Above all, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram have started a revolution. They have reversed the whole trend of cricket since the war, since Bodyline in fact, by making the batsman's stumps and not his body the focus of the game.

Scyld Berry looks back on the Test series.

Everyone knows that a few clubs and some promotions men now run the new League. The organisation with the unfortunate initials seems to be doing, well, putting it politely, not much.

Norman Fox on the start of the Premier League and the FA's role in it.

These days it is fashionable to talk about being comfortable on the ball and treating it like a friend. Stuart Pearce likes to crush it against his opponents' shins and blast it with one of the hardest shots in world football.

Norman Fox on the England and Nottingham Forest captain.


When David Gower is married on Friday in Winchester cathedral, he will be accompanied at the altar by a large measure of public sympathy as well as Ms Thorunn Nash. The disagreement between Gower and the England captain, Graham Gooch, has got out of hand. The country is being split as it ne'er has been since Charles I and Cromwell, to whom Gower and Gooch are so akin in temperament and method - but not to the extent that they cannot live together in the same cricket team. Someone, somewhere along the line, has failed to communicate.

Scyld Berry.

The choppy seas put paid to an interesting battle with Geoff Capes, once the world's strongest man, and a Cornish shark. Capes had boasted the night before, between glasses of Hog's Breath (creme de menthe and lemonade), that he would pull a shark from the sea. In the event, the sharks had the last laugh as Capes spent a couple of hours retching over the side. 'The noises he made were unbelievable,' one of the fishermen said.

Keith Elliott at the British Shark Angling Festival.


The image people have of him is of a player who regards it as a matter of personal honour to intimidate the nation's finest, to castrate them with a shattering, late tackle early in the game, to rip their ears off and spit in the hole.

Jasper Rees on Vinny Jones.

Lazio inserted us on a drying matting wicket, and after the usual fall of early wickets our tempo began to pick up. Our star batsman, a management consultant whose gut is of such size and scope that he is regularly mistaken for God by primitive tribes, became the first batsman in Captain Scott history to throw up at the wicket while making 78. Some team members thought he should have made sure to vomit on a good length as by now the pitch was beginning to play very easily, but he happily rejected such unsportsmanlike notions.

Marcus Berkmann with the Captain Scott Invitation XI in Rome.

He doesn't have the muscles, the one-liners or the special relationship with 'Arry. He doesn't have BBC licence-payers' money behind him. The exclusives don't flow effortlessly from promotional intermediaries on to favoured Fleet Street courtiers and on to us at breakfast. Lennox Lewis can fight. He is not Frank Bruno.

Jonathan Rendall, six days before Lewis beat Razor Ruddock.


Formula One has acquired a quite justifiable reputation as the sport of multi-millionaire whingers who sprayed champagne from the podium and hardly smiled as they did so. Money, the cynics say, will do this to any sport. It is an unusual man who gets dollars 1m or so for an afternoon's work and keeps his self-importance in check.

Nigel Roebuck.

I cannot recall when I sat so transfixed by a contest in any theatre of sport. This exhibition was a total vindication of the new laws, and if this is to be an example of rugby's future, then there will be few sports anywhere in the world to compete with it for spectacle and entertainment.

Chris Rea sees South Africa B beat England 20-16 at Bristol.

As Holyfield lurched across the ring almost senseless, it seemed inevitable that he would go down. But . . . hanging on until his head cleared, Holyfield staged an amazing rally, piling into Bowe with counters . . . The round will be recalled as one of the most dramatic in the history of the heavyweight division.

Ken Jones on the 10th round of Riddick Bowe's victory over Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas.


The thing is, there's no excuse. There's you, and a ball, and a net, and a goalkeeper. From 12 yards, you can hardly miss. And when you're being paid silly money, the sort of wage that could buy you a new BMW every week of the year, you're not supposed to miss.

Richard Williams on the penalty- takers' fear of the penalty kick.

They've come all the way from Cardiff to watch him, have Karen, 24, and Caroline, 22, all neat and pretty in their knitwear and fresh make-up. 'We used to like Alex Higgins,' Caroline was saying earlier, with a sweet giggle. 'But now we like Stephen. We've gone from a bad boy to a good boy.' But their good boy is in bad trouble.

Richard Williams sees Stephen Hendry go out of the World Matchplay tournament in Doncaster. .

The World Pheasant Association can probably supply birds as exotic as the golden pheasant and even jungle cock. When you need to tie a fly, just pop outside and steal a few feathers. And when the bird looks a bit scrawny, you can eat it] The perfect example of a dual-use gift.

Keith Elliott on Christmas presents for anglers.

(Photograph omitted)