Dwight Yorke ran over to the touchline, gasping for breath.
We’re being overrun, he told Roy Keane, one of two central midfielders in an ambitious 4-4-2 at Goodison Park.
‘Run about more then’, was the Irishman’s reply. Sunderland lost 7-1.
That team, brilliantly recalled in Keane’s book with Roddy Doyle, is rightly remembered with fondness but that day, Everton brutally exposed them for what they were.
For years, that was a regular occurrence.
A trip to Goodison Park made Sunderland shudder. Under David Moyes they were ruthless and refined, the Black Cats always second best to prime tormentor Tim Cahill.
Since then this fixture has swung in fascinating fashion, Sunderland recording back-to-back wins over Roberto Martinez’s often soft-centred side, before an embarrassing 6-2 drubbing last season.
Under Koeman, the Blues have some of that old efficiency back, and in Romelu Lukaku they have the one thing that evaded Moyes during his 11 successful years on Merseyside: A world-class striker.
Sunderland managed to strip Everton of their of invincibility on home turf but after their collapse at the Stadium of Light earlier this season, fear is in the air once more.
Just months before Lukaku’s 11-minute Wearside hat-trick they had looked to be two clubs heading in opposite directions, passing each other on the way.
Everton were insipid, Lukaku disinterested, Martinez out of ideas. Sunderland were dogged, Kone and Kaboul magnificent, Big Sam dancing.
A summer of change for both, and Lukaku returned reborn to prey on Papy Djilobodji’s fragility. The Blues have continued to go from strength to strength, while Sunderland struggle.
Three of Sunderland’s squad featured during that 7-1 win, Pienaar, Anichebe and Lescott.
None are likely to play on Saturday, but Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo will have to shine if Moyes is to rekindle the old days with a win at Goodison.
After the Scot’s departure Everton no longer have the Indian sign over Sunderland on home turf, but in pace, power, and belief they have the advantage.
Many of this Sunderland team have tasted success against their opponents, but as ever with this team, which side will turn up?