|Everton finished the 1995/96 season in 6th place, following their FA Cup Final victory a season earlier, and optimism was high at the start of 1996/97 that further successes would be heading the way of Joe Royle's squad.
But Everton stuttered through the first half of the season and star man Andrei Kanchelskis had slumped in form as he sulked his way towards provoking a move away from the club.
The Russian eventually got his wish and departed for Fiorentina in February. By that time all was not well with Royle's reign at the club. The football was poor and centred on long balls up to Duncan Ferguson, the manager was becoming annoyed and withdrawn and the fans were restless.
The mood was hardly helped by Royle's big January signing: Claus Thomsen, a midfielder player who arrived from Ipswich Town for £900,000.
Thomsen was a Danish international but had been relegated with Ipswich in the year that Everton had won the FA Cup - and his arrival at Goodison hardly caused fans to start dancing with joy in the streets.
His subsequent form in an Everton shirt did nothing to change opinions.
Why? Well, Toffeeweb had this to say about him: "one adjective followed Claus Thomsen in match reports like an unwanted ghost: 'statuesque'".
Thomsen was 6' 3" in height but like many tall midfield players he wasn't the most mobile of players. Not to put too fine a point on it, he was completely immobile.
James Corbett, in his "Everton: The School of Science" book, described him as looking "more like an ungainly teenager than an experienced Danish international".
He played in all but one of Everton's remaining games in 1996/97 following his January debut - the last 7 being under the caretaker managership of Dave Watson following Joe Royle's inevitable departure.
The club won just 3 of those 16 matches and Thomsen seemed to be simply invisible in what was a totally ineffective midfield.
The one moment he did stick his head above the parapet was the Merseyside derby at Goodison in April when he opened the scoring. For Liverpool.
1997/98 saw no improvement on the pitch for Thomsen and he made only 9 more apperances, 6 of them as a sub, before he was shipped out to AB Copenhagen for £500,000.
The move came just a month after he had scored his one and only goal for Everton, a late consolation in a 2-1 home defeat by Derby. Amazingly it came from an overhead kick. More fittingly, it left him injured and his Everton career was thankfully almost over.