1996: The year the Spice Girls dominated the charts

Spice Girls
Spice Girls

Looking back at the big stories across the UK.

This week in 1996, Prime Minister John Major doggedly insisted that he would win the general election, in spite of heavy English council losses.

Mr Major, relieved that the Conservatives had avoided being wiped out, said: “A general election is a different ball game.”

At the general election people would not be registering protest votes, but would be exercising choice,” he said, adding he was confident that choice would be Conservative.One year later, under the leadership of Tony Blair, Labour ended its 18 years in opposition and won the general election with a landslide victory, winning 418 seats, the most the party had ever held, and the highest proportion of seats held by any party in the post-war era.

In other news, the Crystal Palace fan who was the victim of Eric Cantona’s infamous kung-fu kick was jailed for imitating the Manchester United player’s actions in a courtroom aŽ ack on a lawyer.

Matthew Simmons leapt at the prosecutor after he was convicted of using threatening words and behaviour, sparking the Cantona incident.

Top 20 singles

Top 20 singles

In sport, it was announced that Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle would be stepping into the England hotseat to replace Terry Venables a’ er Euro 96, which was due to take place that summer in England.

While the job was described as a poisoned chalice, Hoddle pondered what he could bring to the England national team, saying it had been his lifetime ambition to guide the national team.

Hoddle guided England to qualification for the 1998 World Cup, however, he caused controversy by omitting Paul Gascoigne from the squad and installing supposed faith healer Eileen Drewery as part of the England coaching staff , which led to the team being dubbed ‘The Hod Squad’.

Hoddle’s England reached the second round of the 1998 tournament, losing on penalties to Argentina.

In snooker, Stephen Hendry powered to a 18-12 success over Peter Ebdon to secure a record-equaling Embassy world professional title.