There was a buzz of excitement on Teesside when Bryan Robson was named Boro's new player-manager.
A true global superstar, Captain Marvel's illustrious career had seen him make more than 500 appearances and score just shy of a century of goals in a 13-year spell with Manchester United, while he had also earned 90 caps for England.
Just a few months after Boro had announced plans to move to the brand-new, 30,000-capacity Riverside Stadium, fighting off stiff competition to secure the services of the highly-rated Robbo as replacement for Lennie Lawrence was a further marker of the club's burgeoning ambition under Chairman Steve Gibson.
Robson enjoyed a dream start to his managerial career with Boro, winning promotion to the Premiership as Division One Champions in his first season, and the club's last at Ayresome Park.
That was followed by a 12th-placed finish in the top flight, with his Boro side - now boasting the likes of Juninho and Nick Barmby - garnering a reputation as one of the most exciting in the country. The season would see Robson's final playing action, as he hung up his boots to focus on making an impact from the dugout.
The following campaign, and bolstered by further big-name signings such as Emerson and Fabrizio Ravanelli, Boro would make history with two trips to Wembley for our first major cup finals, the League Cup against Leicester in March and the FA Cup against Chelsea in May. The agony of losing out in both finals was compounded by relegation from the Premiership on the final day.
Nevertheless, the club and Robson rallied, winning promotion once more in 1997/98 - although there was more cup final heartbreak as Boro again lost out on the League Cup to familiar foe Chelsea.
While there was to be no happy end to Robson's trophy hunt with Boro - we would have to wait until 2004 for that - the next three years saw the club enjoy real top-tier stability for the first time since the late 1970s.
In the latter months of his Boro career, Robson was joined by Terry Venables - a man he'd worked with in the England national team set-up. His tenure on Teesside came to an end in the summer of 2001, to be replaced by another Manchester United alumnus - Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant coach Steve McClaren.