THE memories are vague, recollections of the critical moment hazy, while video footage has never been visited.
But Ian Ormondroyd is certain he was offside.
I thought I was off, but it was not to be from the match officials’ point of viewIan Ormondroyd
The controversy remains a stain on the hearts of the Fratton faithful to this day, time is no kindly healer.
Almost 23 years have passed, yet the overpowering dislike for Leicester City refuses to subside among many.
In May 1993, Alan McLoughlin had levelled the Division One play-off semi-final.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Pompey had parity at Fratton Park in front of a 25,438 crowd.
Then, two minutes later, David Oldfield’s shot was diverted into the net by the left foot of Ormondroyd three yards out.
With Alan Knight ahead of play, there was only Kit Symons between the Leicester striker and the goal line. It was offside.
Yet the goal stood – and Pompey went on to lose the fixture 3-2 on aggregate and fail in their bid to reach the top flight.
The visit of Plymouth tomorrow represents a first play-off encounter since that night of Ormondroyd-inflicted heartbreak.
And the offender accepts his guilt.
He told The News: ‘It’s a bit vague really, the ball dropped to me and it did look as though I was offside.
‘I scored but don’t know how it happened, how it fell to me or where it came from. I cannot remember how it all panned out.
‘Yet I can recall my initial thought was I was offside so looked across at the linesman. He didn’t put his flag up and I then looked at referee Roger Milford and he didn’t give anything either.
‘Sometimes you get good calls and sometimes bad ones.
‘All the Portsmouth fans are still adamant it was offside but I have not seen any footage to back that up either way.
‘In those days you didn’t really get TV replays. We used to get footage of the home games, but never much of the away games, so I have never actually seen a replay.
‘It might have been offside, who knows?
‘I thought I was off, but it was not to be from the match officials’ point of view.’
Jim Smith’s team broke up following that match, Guy Whittingham departing for the Premier League with Aston Villa.
The team he left behind finished 17th in Division One as they failed to emulate that outstanding previous campaign.
As for Leicester, they went on to lose 4-3 to a Glenn Hoddle-inspired Swindon Town in the play-off final.
Yet 12 months later, Brian Little’s side did make the top flight, defeating Derby 2-1 in the play-offs.
Now Pompey are back in play-off territory – and have a new supporter.
Ormondroyd added: ‘I really want to see Portsmouth go up for that fantastic fan base.
‘You have got to say there are not many fans better than them in terms of loyalty. Palace have good fans but they tend to come and go a little – Pompey always have their numbers and the fans stood by their club to save it when needed.
‘You want teams like that to get promoted and I hope they do, to be honest.’