England
2002–03
Season information
FA Premier League Manchester United
First Division Portsmouth
Second Division Wigan Athletic
Third Division Rushden & Diamonds
Conference Yeovil Town
FA Cup Arsenal
League Cup Liverpool
Community Shield Arsenal
Previous season
Next season
 ← 2001-02
2003-04 → 

The 2002–03 season was the 123rd season of competitive football in England.

Overview

  • Wigan Athletic marked their 25th season of Football League membership by winning the Division Two championship and reaching the league's second tier for the very first time.
  • Sheffield Wednesday went down to Division Two, just 10 years after reaching the finals of both domestic cup competitions and 11 years after coming two places short of the league title.

England national team

Date Venue Opponents Score Competition England scorers
7 September 2002 Villa Park, Birmingham  Portugal 1-1 F Alan Smith
12 October 2002 Tehelné pole, Bratislava  Slovakia 2-1 ECQ David Beckham, Michael Owen
16 October 2002 St Mary's Stadium, Southampton  North Macedonia 2-2 ECQ David Beckham, Steven Gerrard
12 February 2003 Upton Park, London  Australia 1-3 F Francis Jeffers
29 March 2003 Rheinpark Stadion, Vaduz  Liechtenstein 2-0 ECQ Michael Owen, David Beckham
2 April 2003 Stadium of Light, Sunderland  Turkey 2-0 ECQ Darius Vassell, David Beckham
22 May 2003 Kings Park Stadium, Durban  South Africa 2-1 F Gareth Southgate, Emile Heskey
3 June 2003 Walkers Stadium, Leicester  Serbia 2-1 F Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole
11 June 2003 Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough  Slovakia 2-1 ECQ Michael Owen (2)

Key: ECQ = 2004 European Championship qualifiers, F = Friendly; scores are written England first

European club competitions

UEFA Champions League

UEFA Cup

UEFA Intertoto Cup

Honours

Competition Winners
FA Premier League Manchester United
FA Cup Arsenal
Worthington Cup Liverpool
Football League Division One Portsmouth
Football League Division Two Wigan Athletic
Football League Division Three Rushden & Diamonds
Football League Trophy Bristol City
FA Trophy Burscough
FA Vase Brigg Town
FA Youth Cup Manchester United

Final league standings

Premier League

Main article: Premier League 2002-03

Manchester United, unbeaten in the league after 22 December, overhauled Arsenal during the final three months of the season to clinch their eighth Premiership title in 11 seasons, while the other two Champions League places went to Newcastle United and Chelsea. Going into the UEFA Cup were Liverpool (who made an excellent start to the league, going unbeaten in their first three months before a sudden collapse) and Blackburn Rovers, along with FA Cup runners-up Southampton (who also achieved their best Premiership finish of 8th place) and Fair Play award winners Manchester City (who finished an impressive ninth on their Premiership comeback). Southampton had not played in European competitions for nearly 20 years, while Manchester City's last European campaign was a quarter of a century ago.

Everton finished seventh in their first full season under the management of David Moyes, the club's highest finish for seven years, in a campaign where the club was the centre of national media and public attention following the performances of 17-year-old striker Wayne Rooney, who became the youngest full England international after the season's end.

Compensation for Arsenal after their spectacular failure to retain the league title came in the form of retaining the FA Cup - the first side to do so for 21 years.

Leeds United's season was plagued by a loss of form and mounting debts, and having to sell several key players, as they slipped to 15th place - their lowest finish for 10 years and a stark contrast to the previous five campaigns, where they had never finished outside the top five. Manager Terry Venables was axed towards the end of March after eight months in charge, with Peter Reid taking over for the final weeks of the season to secure survival and earn himself a permanent contract. Aston Villa's 16th-place finish was their lowest for eight years, although their strong home form ensured their survival in the Premier League.

Sunderland's season started badly and got worse as they finished with a record Premiership low of 4 wins, 19 points and 21 goals, losing their final 15 league games in the process. The Wearside club went through three managers, with Peter Reid (one of the league's longest-serving managers) leaving in early October to be replaced by Howard Wilkinson, who lasted just five months before Mick McCarthy was appointed. They were joined by West Bromwich Albion, who attained just 26 points in their first top flight season for nearly 20 years and won just three times in the league after September. Last to go down were West Ham United, who went down with 42 points - the highest points tally of any club to be relegated from the Premiership under the 20-club format.

Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Notes
1 Manchester United  (C) 38 25 8 5 74 34 +40 83
2003–04 UEFA Champions League Group stage
2 Arsenal 38 23 9 6 85 42 +43 78
3 Newcastle United 38 21 6 11 63 48 +15 69
2003–04 UEFA Champions League Third qualifying round
4 Chelsea 38 19 10 9 68 38 +30 67
5 Liverpool 38 18 10 10 61 41 +20 64
2003–04 UEFA Cup First round 1
6 Blackburn Rovers 38 16 12 10 52 43 +9 60
7 Everton 38 17 8 13 48 49 −1 59
8 Southampton 38 13 13 12 43 46 −3 52
2003–04 UEFA Cup First round 2
9 Manchester City 38 15 6 17 47 54 −7 51
2003–04 UEFA Cup Qualifying round 3
10 Tottenham Hotspur 38 14 8 16 51 62 −11 50
11 Middlesbrough 38 13 10 15 48 44 +4 49
12 Charlton Athletic 38 14 7 17 45 56 −11 49
13 Birmingham City 38 13 9 16 41 49 −8 48
14 Fulham 38 13 9 16 41 50 −9 48
15 Leeds United 38 14 5 19 58 57 +1 47
16 Aston Villa 38 12 9 17 42 47 −5 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 38 10 14 14 41 51 −10 44
18 West Ham United  (R) 38 10 12 16 42 59 −17 42 Relegation to 2003–04 Football League First Division
19 West Bromwich Albion

 (R)

38 6 8 24 29 65 −36 26
20 Sunderland  (R) 38 4 7 27 21 65 −44 19

Updated to games played on 11 May 2003
Source: FA Premier League
Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd number of goals scored.
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round; (Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament

Leading goalscorer: Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United), 25

Division One

Main article: Football League First Division (1992-2004) 2002-03

Portsmouth won the Division One title by some distance, passing manager Harry Redknapp's old club, West Ham, on the way down and ending their own 15-year exile from the top flight. They were rarely outside the top two at any point of the season.

Leicester City earned a somewhat controversial promotion, as administration and a Creditor's Voluntary Agreement wrote off much of their £30million debt. Partly as a result of this, the League would introduce a 10-point subtraction for any teams entering administration from the next season onwards. The play-offs were won by Wolves, returning to the top flight after nearly 20 years and finally allowing owner Sir Jack Hayward to see the return he wanted on his years of investment. Their opponents, Sheffield United, were semi-finalists in both domestic cups.

Gillingham enjoyed their most successful season to date, finishing a club record eleventh place in the division, the highest in their history. Despite having some of the lowest attendances in senior football after the relocation to Milton Keynes was announced, Wimbledon managed a 10th-place finish in the league, but then went into administration - putting the future of the club under yet more doubt.

Grimsby were relegated, after struggling in the division for five years on extremely limited resources. Both Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday suffered awful starts to the season (Brighton managing only a single win from their first sixteen matches), and despite good runs of form late in the season, neither were able to survive, although Brighton at least had the satisfaction of staying in the hunt for survival up the last game.

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Portsmouth (C, P) 46 29 11 6 97 45 +52 98
2 Leicester City (P) 46 26 14 6 73 40 +33 92
3 Sheffield United 46 23 11 12 72 52 +20 80
4 Reading 46 25 4 17 61 46 +15 79
5 Wolverhampton Wanderers (P) 46 20 16 10 81 44 +37 76
6 Nottingham Forest 46 20 14 12 82 50 +32 74
7 Ipswich Town 46 19 13 14 80 64 +16 70
8 Norwich City 46 19 12 15 60 49 +11 69
9 Millwall 46 19 9 18 59 69 –10 66
10 Wimbledon 46 18 11 17 76 73 +3 65
11 Gillingham 46 16 14 16 56 65 –9 62
12 Preston North End 46 16 13 17 68 70 –2 61
13 Watford 46 17 9 20 54 70 –16 60
14 Crystal Palace 46 14 17 15 59 52 +7 59
15 Rotherham United 46 15 14 17 62 62 0 59
16 Burnley 46 15 10 21 65 89 –24 55
17 Walsall 46 15 9 22 57 69 –12 54
18 Derby County 46 15 7 24 55 74 –19 52
19 Bradford City 46 14 10 22 51 73 –22 52
20 Coventry City 46 12 14 20 46 62 –16 50
21 Stoke City 46 12 14 20 45 69 –24 50
22 Sheffield Wednesday (R) 46 10 16 20 56 73 –17 46
23 Brighton & Hove Albion (R) 46 11 12 23 49 67 –18 45
24 Grimsby Town (R) 46 9 12 25 48 85 –37 39

Leading goalscorer: Svetoslav Todorov (Portsmouth), 26

Division Two

Main article: Football League Second Division (1992-2004) 2002-03

Wigan won their first-ever promotion beyond the Second Division. Crewe managed a promotion on the back of their famed youth policy while play-off winners Cardiff were another big-spending team that were able to earn promotion, beating QPR in the final.

Tranmere Rovers had to settle for seventh place - not even enough for a playoff place - despite collecting 80 points, a tally which at times had been enough for some teams to win automatic promotion. Plymouth Argyle and Luton Town both achieved top half finishes a season after promotion.

An ill-advised managerial change mid-season helped send Northampton down. Mansfield Town's first season out of the bottom division in over a decade ended as their previous spell had; with immediate relegation in a season awash with over 160 goals where they had no problems scoring goals but unfortunately leaked goals at an alarming rate. Huddersfield started badly, and a financial crisis later in the season helped condemn them to relegation, only three years after they looked Premiership-bound. Cheltenham came close to survival, but a defeat on the final day of the season saw them return to Division Three.

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Wigan Athletic (C, P) 46 29 13 4 68 25 +43 100
2 Crewe Alexandra (P) 46 25 11 10 76 40 +36 86
3 Bristol City 46 24 11 11 79 48 +31 83
4 Queens Park Rangers 46 24 11 11 69 35 +24 83
5 Oldham Athletic 46 22 16 8 68 38 +30 82
6 Cardiff City (P) 46 23 12 11 68 43 +25 81
7 Tranmere Rovers 46 23 11 12 66 57 +9 80
8 Plymouth Argyle 46 17 14 15 63 52 +11 65
9 Luton Town 46 17 14 15 67 62 +5 65
10 Swindon Town 46 16 12 18 59 63 –4 60
11 Peterborough United 46 14 16 16 51 54 –3 58
12 Colchester United 46 14 16 16 52 56 –4 58
13 Blackpool 46 15 13 18 56 64 –8 58
14 Stockport County 46 15 10 21 65 70 –5 55
15 Notts County 46 13 16 17 62 70 –8 55
16 Brentford 46 14 12 20 47 56 –9 54
17 Port Vale 46 14 11 21 54 70 –16 53
18 Wycombe Wanderers 46 13 13 20 59 66 –7 52
19 Barnsley 46 13 13 20 51 64 –13 52
20 Chesterfield 46 14 8 24 43 73 –30 50
21 Cheltenham Town (R) 46 10 18 18 53 68 –15 48
22 Huddersfield Town (R) 46 11 12 23 39 61 –22 45
23 Mansfield Town (R) 46 12 8 26 66 97 –31 44
24 Northampton Town (R) 46 10 9 27 40 79 –39 39

Leading goalscorer: Robert Earnshaw (Cardiff City), 31

Division Three

Main article: Football League Third Division (1992-2004) 2002-03

Rushden & Diamonds continued their meteoric rise, winning the divisional title. They were helped in no small part by runners-up Hartlepool suffering a shocking late-season collapse, which cost them the title and manager Mike Newell his job. Wrexham took the last automatic promotion spot and bounced back from the previous season's relegation, as did play-off winners Bournemouth, who beat Lincoln City in the final.

Oxford United were promotion contenders a season after finishing fourth from bottom, but in the end just missed out on the playoffs. Despite almost going out of business, York City managed to finish 10th - their highest finish since relegation to Division Three in 1999. Hull City finished 13th under new manager Peter Taylor, who took over from Jan Molby just before the club completed its relocation from Boothferry Park to the new KC Stadium, which gave the club the highest crowds at this level, although the upturn in form was not enough to get them anywhere near the top of the table. Boston United managed a 15th-place finish in their first season as a league club, despite having four points deducted for financial irregularities.

A shock FA Cup victory over Everton did little to help Shrewsbury, and they finished bottom of the League. Exeter City were bought out pre-season in a high-profile takeover spearheaded by Uri Geller; unfortunately, Geller's associates proceeded to asset-strip the club, and despite a late-season run of form, Exeter fell victim to the first-ever dual relegation from the League.

Yeovil Town, who had spent decades making the headlines by defeating league opposition in the FA Cup, finally reached the Football League as Conference champions. The first Conference playoffs were won by Doncaster Rovers, who returned to the league after a five-year exile with the financial backing of John Ryan, who now had a new all-seater stadium in the pipeline.

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Rushden & Diamonds (C, P) 46 24 15 7 73 47 +26 87
2 Hartlepool United (P) 46 24 13 9 71 51 +20 85
3 Wrexham (P) 46 23 15 8 84 50 +34 84
4 Bournemouth (P) 46 20 14 12 60 48 +12 74
5 Scunthorpe United 46 19 15 12 68 49 +19 72
6 Lincoln City 46 18 16 12 46 37 +9 70
7 Bury 46 18 16 12 57 56 +1 70
8 Oxford United 46 19 12 15 57 47 +10 69
9 Torquay United 46 16 18 12 71 71  0 66
10 York City 46 17 15 14 52 53 –1 66
11 Kidderminster Harriers 46 16 15 15 62 63 –1 63
12 Cambridge United 46 16 13 17 67 70 –3 61
13 Hull City 46 14 17 15 58 53 +5 59
14 Darlington 46 12 18 16 58 59 –1 54
15 Boston United 46 15 13 18 55 56 –1 54
16 Macclesfield Town 46 14 12 20 57 63 –6 54
17 Southend United 46 17 3 26 47 59 –12 54
18 Leyton Orient 46 14 11 21 51 61 –10 53
19 Rochdale 46 12 16 18 63 70 –7 52
20 Bristol Rovers 46 12 15 19 50 57 –7 51
21 Swansea City 46 12 13 21 48 65 –17 49
22 Carlisle United 46 13 10 23 52 78 –26 49
23 Exeter City (R) 46 11 15 20 50 64 –14 48
24 Shrewsbury Town (R) 46 9 14 23 62 92 –30 41

- Boston United deducted four points due to financial irregularities

Leading goalscorer: Andy Morrell (Wrexham), 34

Conference National

Main article: Conference National 2002-03

National League System

League Champions
Step 2 Leagues Northern Premier League Accrington Stanley
Southern League Tamworth
Isthmian League Aldershot Town
Step 3 Leagues Northern Premier League Division One Alfreton Town
Southern League Midland/West Division Merthyr Tydfil
Southern League South/East Division Dorchester Town
Isthmian League Division One North Northwood
Isthmian League Division One South Carshalton Athletic
Step 4 Leagues Northern League Brandon United
Northern Counties East League Bridlington Town
North West Counties League Prescot Cables
Midland Alliance Stourbridge
United Counties League Holbeach United
Eastern Counties League A.F.C. Sudbury
Hellenic League North Leigh
Western League Team Bath
Isthmian League Division Two Cheshunt
Essex Senior League Enfield Town
Spartan South Midlands League Dunstable Town
Combined Counties League Withdean 2000
Wessex League Eastleigh
Sussex County League Burgess Hill Town
Kent League Cray Wanderers

Cup finals

FA Cup

Main article: FA Cup 2002-03

Football League Cup

Main article: Football League Cup 2002-03

FA Community Shield

Main article: 2002 FA Community Shield

Football League Trophy

Main article: Football League Trophy 2002-03

FA Trophy

Main article: FA Trophy 2002-03

FA Vase

Main article: FA Vase 2002-03

Transfer deals

Summer transfer window

Main article: List of English football transfers summer 2002

The summer transfer window ran from the end of the previous season until 31 August.

2 May 2002
14 August 2002
30 August 2002
31 August 2002

January transfer window

The mid-season transfer window ran from 1 to 31 January 2003.

31 January 2003

For subsequent transfer deals see 2003-04 in English football.

Famous Debutants

Retirements

11 August 2002: Tony Adams, 35, retires after spending his entire 19-year career at Arsenal, and was team Captain for 14 seasons.

11 May 2003: Peter Schmeichel, 39, retires from playing after spending 10 of the last 12 seasons in England, the final of which was spent at Manchester City, though he is best remembered for his eight-year spell at Manchester United during which he established himself as a world class goalkeeper.

Events

Chelsea are fined ₤5,000 for the state of the pitch at Stamford Bridge for their Premier League match against Charlton Athletic on 11 January. Chelsea were going to relay their pitch immediately after the match and had removed the old grass surface, leaving only the sand base on which the new pitch would be laid. Chelsea did not inform Charlton of the poor state of the pitch prior to the game, which Chelsea won 4-1.

External links

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