By rinoagozzino

Chapter 9 - 1996

It’s coming home, it’s coming, footballs coming home! It was the year that the nation went football crazy, when England hosted Euro ’96.  Even those that weren’t normally football fans couldn’t help but get caught up with the overwhelming feeling of hope, expectation and support for their home side. The world cup finalists, Italy were eliminated early on in the group stages following defeat against the Czech Republic, then draws with Russia and Germany. England however made it through to the semi-final, where they met Germany. The score was 1-1 after normal play and in penalties both sides scored their first five kicks, but in the sixth round, Gareth Southgate had his penalty saved, allowing Andreas Möller to score the winning goal. Germany won the tournament, beating the Czech Republic 2-1 in the final with a golden goal during extra time; it was the first major competition to be decided using this method and was Germany's first major title won as a unified country.
The Fugees had the biggest selling single of the year, with a cover of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song”, it sold over a million copies and the Spice Girls, kick started their career with three number 1 singles - the million-selling "Wannabe" in July, which was one of the longest No 1 stints by any girl group; "Say You'll Be There" in October; and "2 Become 1" in December, also a million seller, and the year's Christmas number one single. 1996 was the year when Mad Cow Disease hit Britain, Prince Charles and Princess Diana get divorced, the number of Internet host computers goes from 1 million to 10 million and Damon Hill won the Formula One Championship. “Independence Day” was by far the highest grossing film of the year, with “Twister” and “Mission: Impossible” coming in 2nd and 3rd.

The years highlight weren’t all as deep and meaningful as football and girl bands. It was an important year for me because after 2 years of studying after work and exams every 3 months, I had earned the right to apply for a promotion from storeman to Buyer/Planner. It was my first real job interview and my hard work hadn’t gone unnoticed, the interview was a success, I was offered the job and proved to myself that my own personal development was attainable, if I was willing to work for it. I had stumbled into a career in Procurement. What a great way to earn a living, shopping with other people’s money.
There was a major breakthrough in the war against smoking as a lung-cancer sufferer was awarded $750,000 against a US tobacco company after a jury ruled that the manufacturer had shown negligence in not alerting smokers to the hazards of smoking. It was a surprise verdict, which relied partly on new evidence concerning the addictive properties of nicotine. But for me, the drinking and watching football with my mates in the pub, the evening classes, the exams, an interview and a new job. They were all perfectly reasonable excuses for me to put off quitting smoking for another year.
How much did a pack of cigarettes cost in 1996?
i think it was about £3.50 back then.