A BIG-MONEY arrival from the Americas was the big football story of twenty years ago - as Middlesbrough found out to their chagrin.
It was Boro’s north-east rivals Newcastle United who were the ones to parade the latest expensive star signing as their financial largesse under Kevin Keegan continued when they signed Colombian maverick Faustino Asprilla from Serie A side Palermo.
And the forward paid back the first installment of his £7.5m fee by setting up the Magpies’ equaliser in the snow at the Riverside Stadium en route to a 2-1 win which kept them on pole position in the Premier League table - and on course for their first title since 1927.
Keegan sprung a major surprise by naming Asprilla on the bench, when most thought the frontman, newly arrived at Newcastle Airport, would be handed a watching brief on the bench.
A hectic opening half in front of 30,011 fans ended with Boro 1-0 up courtesy of a John Beresford own goal, and well placed to end their worrying winter run.
Then in the 67th minute, Asprilla - complete with woolly gloves - entered the fray and soon turned his marker to set up Steve Watson for a leveller.
Just five minutes later, Gary Walsh spilled a routine shot from Les Ferdinand as the visitors claimed their first top-flight victory at Ayresome Park since Christmas Day 1953.
Elsewhere, Yorkshire sides had mixed fortunes with Sheffield Wednesday recording a 2-1 home win over Wimbledon - in a real noteworthy day for defender Julian Watts, who scored the Owls’ second goal.
Silky Belgian forward Marc Degryse also struck for the hosts, with Marcus Gayle on target for the Dons.
In the second tier, Barnsley, in second spot in the table, extended their unbeaten run to six matches with a 3-1 success at Tranmere Rovers.
Ex-Hull City and Middlesbrough marksman Andy Payton was at the double for the Reds, with Neil Redfearn also netting from the spot - John Aldridge replying for Rovers.
Sheffield United eked out a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace - and three days later, returned to home soil to sink Millwall 2-0, thanks to goals from Carl Veart and Don Hutchinson to boost their survival quest.
Hull City’s woes continued with a 3-1 home loss to Bristol Rovers, for whom Marcus Browning, Marcus Stewart and Peter Beadle scored in their clash in the old Division Two.
A Bobby Davison goal was in vain for the relegation-haunted Tigers.
Bradford City were also afforded no home comforts, losing 1-0 at home to Stockport County, whose match-winner was Richard Landon.
Rotherham United and York City drew 2-2 for the second time in just over a month.
The Minstermen scorers were former Millers midfielder Nigel Pepper and Glenn Naylor, with Neil ‘Butch’ Richardson and Shaun Goodwin on the scoresheet for the visitors.
In the bottom rung, Scarborough took the Roses points in a 2-0 win at Rochdale, courtesy of goals from Andy Toman and Craig Midgeley.
Doncaster Rovers’ dip continued as they went down 1-0 at home to Bury, whose scorer was Rob Matthews.