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2002–03 FA Premier League

2002–03 FA Premier League

The 2002–03 FA Premier League (known as the FA Barclaycard Premiership for sponsorship reasons) was the 11th season of the Premier League, the top division in English football. The first matches were played on 17 August 2002 and the last were played on 11 May 2003.

Manchester United ended the campaign as champions for the eighth time in eleven years – an achievement made all the more remarkable by virtue of defending champions Arsenal having been in the lead by eight points on 2 March. After defeating Birmingham at the start of the season, Arsenal equalled a top-flight record of fourteen straight wins but in their next game at West Ham United failed to extend it, being held to a 2–2 draw. They remained unbeaten for 30 Premier League games, (23 of which were played away) until late October and Arsène Wenger's all conquering Gunners scored in 55 consecutive league games up until the visit to Old Trafford. They threw away a priceless lead against Bolton Wanderers and finally surrendered the title with a 3–2 home defeat to Leeds United, in their antepenultimate game of the season. This result all but saved Leeds from relegation. Newcastle United and Chelsea were the remaining two teams, who qualified for the Champions League at the expense of Liverpool who had to settle for the UEFA Cup; they would be joined in Europe by Blackburn Rovers for their second successive season.

On the bottom end of the table, West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland had to face relegation to the Football League First Division. Promoted for the new season were 2002–03 Football League First Division champions Portsmouth, runners-up Leicester City and play-off winner Wolverhampton Wanderers.

[[LINK|lang_en|Premier_League|FA Premier League]]
Dates17 August 2002–11 May 2003
ChampionsManchester United
8th Premier League title
15th English title
West Ham United
West Bromwich Albion
Champions LeagueManchester United
Newcastle United
UEFA CupSouthampton
Blackburn Rovers
Manchester City
Matches played380
Goals scored1,000 (2.63 per match)
Top goalscorerRuud van Nistelrooy (25)
Biggest home winChelsea 5–0 Manchester City
(22 March 2003)
Arsenal 6–1 Southampton
(7 May 2003)
Biggest away winWest Bromwich Albion 0–6 Liverpool
(26 April 2003)
Highest scoringManchester United 5–3 Newcastle United
(23 November 2002)
Newcastle United 2–6 Manchester United
(12 April 2003)
Longest winning run7 games[6]
Longest unbeaten run18 games[6]
Manchester United
Longest winless run20 games[6]
Longest losing run15 games[6]
Highest attendance67,721
Manchester United v Charlton Athletic (3 May 2003)
Lowest attendance14,017
Fulham v Blackburn Rovers
(7 April 2003)
Average attendance35,470
← 2001–02


Twenty teams competed in the league – the top seventeen teams from the previous season and the three teams promoted from the First Division. The promoted teams were Manchester City (immediately returning after a season's absence), West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City (both teams returning to the top flight after a sixteen year absence). This was also West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City's first season in the Premier League. They replaced Ipswich Town (relegated after two seasons in the top flight), Derby County and Leicester City (both teams relegated after a six-year presence).

Stadiums and Locations

Locations of the 2002–03 Premier League teams

Locations of the 2002–03 Premier League teams

Greater London Premier League football clubs

Greater London Premier League football clubs

West Midlands Premier League football clubs

West Midlands Premier League football clubs

ArsenalLondon(Highbury)Arsenal Stadium38,419
Aston VillaBirmingham(Aston)Villa Park42,573
Birmingham CityBirmingham(Bordesley)St Andrew's30,009
Blackburn RoversBlackburnEwood Park31,367
Bolton WanderersBoltonReebok Stadium28,723
Charlton AthleticLondon(Charlton)The Valley27,111
ChelseaLondon(Fulham)Stamford Bridge42,055
EvertonLiverpool(Walton)Goodison Park40,569
FulhamLondon(Fulham)Loftus Road[1]19,148
Leeds UnitedLeedsElland Road40,242
Manchester CityManchesterMaine Road[2]35,150
Manchester UnitedOld TraffordOld Trafford68,174
MiddlesbroughMiddlesbroughRiverside Stadium35,049
Newcastle UnitedNewcastle upon TyneSt James' Park52,387
SouthamptonSouthamptonSt Mary's Stadium32,689
SunderlandSunderlandStadium of Light49,000
Tottenham HotspurLondon(Tottenham)White Hart Lane36,240
West Bromwich AlbionWest BromwichThe Hawthorns28,003
West Ham UnitedLondon(Upton Park)Boleyn Ground35,647

Personnel and kits

TeamManagerCaptainKit manufacturerShirt sponsor
ArsenalFranceArsène WengerFrancePatrick VieiraNikeO2
Aston VillaEnglandGraham TaylorRepublic of IrelandSteve StauntonDiadoraRover Company
Birmingham CityEnglandSteve BruceRepublic of IrelandJeff KennaLe Coq SportifPhones4U
Blackburn RoversScotlandGraeme SounessEnglandGarry FlitcroftKappaAMD Processors
Bolton WanderersEnglandSam AllardyceIcelandGuðni BergssonReebokReebok
Charlton AthleticEnglandAlan CurbishleyEnglandGraham StuartLe Coq SportifAll Sport
ChelseaItalyClaudio RanieriFranceMarcel DesaillyUmbroFly Emirates
EvertonScotlandDavid MoyesScotlandDavid WeirPumaKejian
FulhamWalesChris ColemanWalesAndy MelvilleAdidasBetfair
Leeds UnitedEnglandPeter ReidScotlandDominic MatteoNikeStrongbow
LiverpoolFranceGérard HoullierFinlandSami HyypiäReebokCarlsberg
Manchester CityEnglandKevin KeeganAlgeriaAli BenarbiaLe Coq SportifFirst Advice
Manchester UnitedScotlandSir Alex FergusonRepublic of IrelandRoy KeaneNikeVodafone
MiddlesbroughEnglandSteve McClarenEnglandGareth SouthgateErreàDial-a-Phone
Newcastle UnitedEnglandSir Bobby RobsonEnglandAlan ShearerAdidasNTL
SouthamptonScotlandGordon StrachanEnglandJason DoddSaintsFriends Provident
SunderlandRepublic of IrelandMick McCarthyEnglandMichael GrayNikeReg Vardy
Tottenham HotspurEnglandGlenn HoddleEnglandTeddy SheringhamKappaThomson
West Bromwich AlbionEnglandGary MegsonEnglandSean GreganThe Baggies (by club)West Bromwich Building Society
West Ham UnitedEnglandTrevor Brooking (caretaker)EnglandJoe ColeFilaDr. Martens

Managerial changes

TeamOutgoing managerManner of departureDate of vacancyPosition in tableIncoming managerDate of appointment
Leeds UnitedRepublic of IrelandDavid O'LearySacked27 June 2002Pre-seasonEnglandTerry Venables8 July 2002
SunderlandEnglandPeter Reid7 October 2002[7]17thEnglandHoward Wilkinson10 October 2002[8]
EnglandHoward Wilkinson10 March 2003[9]20thRepublic of IrelandMick McCarthy12 March 2003[10]
Leeds UnitedEnglandTerry Venables21 March 2003[11]15thEnglandPeter Reid21 March 2003[12]
FulhamFranceJean Tigana17 April 2003[13]15thWalesChris Coleman (caretaker)17 April 2003
West Ham UnitedEnglandGlenn RoederIllness22 April 2003[14]18thEnglandTrevor Brooking (caretaker)25 April 2003

League table

PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGDPtsQualification or relegation
1Manchester United(C)3825857434+4083Qualification for the Champions League group stage
3Newcastle United38216116348+1569Qualification for the Champions League third qualifying round
5Liverpool381810106141+2064Qualification for the UEFA Cup first round[3]
6Blackburn Rovers381612105243+960
8Southampton381313124346−352Qualification for the UEFA Cup first round[4]
9Manchester City38156174754−751Qualification for the UEFA Cup qualifying round[5]
10Tottenham Hotspur38148165162−1150
12Charlton Athletic38147174556−1149
13Birmingham City38139164149−848
15Leeds United38145195857+147
16Aston Villa38129174247−545
17Bolton Wanderers381014144151−1044
18West Ham United(R)381012164259−1742Relegation to Football League First Division
19West Bromwich Albion(R)3868242965−3626


Aston Villa1–10–23–02–02–02–13–23–10–00–11–00–13–00–10–11–00–12–14–1
Birmingham City0–43–00–13–11–11–31–10–02–12–10–20–13–00–23–22–01–11–02–2
Blackburn Rovers2–00–01–10–01–02–30–12–11–02–21–01–01–05–21–00–01–21–12–2
Bolton Wanderers2–21–04–21–11–21–11–20–00–32–32–01–12–14–31–11–11–01–11–0
Charlton Athletic0–33–00–23–11–12–32–10–11–62–02–21–31–00–22–11–10–11–04–2
Leeds United1–43–12–02–32–41–22–00–12–00–13–01–02–30–31–10–12–20–01–0
Manchester City1–53–11–02–22–00–10–33–14–12–10–33–10–01–00–13–02–31–20–1
Manchester United2–01–12–03–10–14–12–13–03–02–14–01–11–05–32–12–11–01–03–0
Newcastle United1–11–11–05–11–02–12–12–12–00–21–02–02–62–02–12–02–12–14–0
Tottenham Hotspur1–11–02–10–43–12–20–04–31–12–02–30–20–20–30–12–14–13–13–2
West Bromwich Albion1–20–01–10–21–10–10–21–21–01–30–61–21–31–02–21–02–22–31–2
West Ham United2–22–21–22–11–10–21–00–11–13–40–30–01–11–02–20–12–02–00–1


  • Most wins – Manchester United (25)

  • Fewest wins – Sunderland (4)

  • Most draws – Bolton Wanderers (14)

  • Fewest draws – Leeds United (5)

  • Most losses – Sunderland (27)

  • Fewest losses – Manchester United (5)

  • Most goals scored – Arsenal (85)

  • Fewest goals scored – Sunderland (21)

  • Most goals conceded – West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland (65)

  • Fewest goals conceded – Manchester United (34)

Season statistics

Top scorers

1NetherlandsRuud van NistelrooyManchester United25
2FranceThierry HenryArsenal24
3EnglandJames BeattieSouthampton23
4AustraliaMark VidukaLeeds United20
5EnglandMichael OwenLiverpool19
6EnglandAlan ShearerNewcastle United17
7FranceNicolas AnelkaManchester City15
8ItalyGianfranco ZolaChelsea14
FranceRobert PiresArsenal14
AustraliaHarry KewellLeeds United14
EnglandPaul ScholesManchester United14


Michael OwenLiverpoolManchester City3–0 [48]28 September 2002
James BeattieSouthamptonFulham4–2 [49]27 October 2002
Ruud van NistelrooyManchester UnitedNewcastle United5–3 [50]23 November 2002
Robbie KeaneTottenham HotspurEverton4–3 [51]12 January 2003
Thierry HenryArsenalWest Ham United3–1 [52]27 January 2003
Ruud van NistelrooyManchester UnitedFulham3–0 [53]22 March 2003
Mark VidukaLeeds UnitedCharlton Athletic6–1 [54]5 April 2003
Paul ScholesManchester UnitedNewcastle United6–2 [55]12 April 2003
Michael Owen4LiverpoolWest Bromwich Albion6–0 [56]26 April 2003
Ruud van NistelrooyManchester UnitedCharlton Athletic4–1 [57]3 May 2003
Jermaine PennantArsenalSouthampton
6–1 [58]
7 May 2003
Robert Pires
Freddie LjungbergArsenalSunderland4–0 [59]11 May 2003
  • 4 Player scored 4 goals


  • First goal of the season: Michael Ricketts for Bolton Wanderers against Fulham (17 August 2002)[16]

  • Fastest goal of the season:

  • Largest winning margin: 6 goals[17] West Bromwich Albion 0–6 Liverpool (26 April 2003)

  • Highest scoring game: 8 goals[17] Manchester United 5–3 Newcastle United (23 November 2002) Newcastle United 2–6 Manchester United (12 April 2003)

  • Most goals scored in a match by a losing team: 3 goals[18] West Ham United 3–4 Leeds United (10 November 2002) Manchester United 5–3 Newcastle United (23 November 2002) Bolton Wanderers 4–3 Newcastle United (26 December 2002) Tottenham Hotspur 4–3 Everton (12 January 2003)

Clean sheets

  • Most clean sheets: 15[17] Blackburn Rovers

  • Fewest clean sheets: 5[17] Tottenham Hotspur


  • Worst overall disciplinary record (1 pt per yellow card, 3 pts per red card):

  • Best overall disciplinary record:

  • Most yellow cards (club):

  • Most yellow cards (player): 13 – Iván Campo (Bolton Wanderers)[19]

  • Most red cards (club):

  • Most red card (player): 3[19] Franck Queudrue (Middlesbrough)

  • Most fouls (player):


Monthly awards

MonthManager of the MonthPlayer of the Month
AugustGlenn Hoddle[20]Tottenham HotspurSylvain Wiltord[21]Arsenal
SeptemberArsène Wenger[22]ArsenalThierry Henry[22]Arsenal
OctoberGérard Houllier[23]LiverpoolGianfranco Zola[23]Chelsea
NovemberDavid Moyes[24]EvertonJames Beattie[25]Southampton
DecemberGordon Strachan[26]SouthamptonAlan Shearer[27]Newcastle United
JanuarySir Bobby Robson[28]Newcastle UnitedPaul Scholes[29]Manchester United
FebruaryAlan Curbishley[30]Charlton AthleticRobert Pires[31]Arsenal
MarchGlenn Roeder[32]West Ham UnitedSteven Gerrard[33]Liverpool
AprilSir Alex Ferguson[34]Manchester UnitedRuud van Nistelrooy[34]Manchester United

Annual awards

PFA Players' Player of the Year

The PFA Players' Player of the Year award for 2003 was won by Thierry Henry of Arsenal.[35] This was the Frenchman's first award of the season and he beat off competition from the previous winner Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The shortlist for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, in alphabetical order, was as follows:

James BeattieSouthampton
Thierry HenryArsenal
Ruud van NistelrooyManchester United
Paul ScholesManchester United
Alan ShearerNewcastle United
Gianfranco ZolaChelsea

PFA Young Player of the Year

The PFA Young Player of the Year award was won by Jermaine Jenas of Newcastle United.[36] Wayne Rooney was voted runner-up, and John O'Shea finished third in one of his first full seasons as a United player.

The shortlist for the award was as follows:

Craig BellamyNewcastle United
Jermain DefoeWest Ham United
Jermaine JenasNewcastle United
John O'SheaManchester United
Scott ParkerCharlton Athletic
Wayne RooneyEverton

PFA Team of the Year

Goalkeeper:Brad Friedel (Blackburn Rovers)
Defence:Stephen Carr (Tottenham Hotspur), Sol Campbell (Arsenal), William Gallas (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Arsenal)
Midfield:Patrick Vieira (Arsenal), Paul Scholes (Manchester United), Kieron Dyer (Newcastle United), Robert Pires (Arsenal)
Attack:Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Alan Shearer (Newcastle United)

Premier League Manager of the Year

The Premier League Manager of the Year award was won by Sir Alex Ferguson[37] for winning his eighth title and regaining the league after a superb second half to the season, involving an 18-match unbeaten run.

Premier League Player of the Year

The Premier League Player of the Year award was given to Ruud van Nistelrooy,[38] whose form, creativity and goals all helped Manchester United regain the league from Arsenal.

Premier League Golden Boot

The Premier League Golden Boot award was also won by Ruud van Nistelrooy who scored 25 goals in 38 league matches and 44 in all competitions. He also equalled his record of eight goals in eight successive matches at the beginning of the season, a milestone he had reached the previous season. Van Nistelrooy finished one goal ahead of Arsenal's Thierry Henry while James Beattie managed 23 league goals for Southampton. Since the reduction of the number of games from 42 to 38 in 1996, only Kevin Phillips had scored more Premiership goals in one season – 30 for Sunderland in the 1999–2000 season.

Premier League Golden Gloves

The Premier League Golden Gloves award was given to Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, who proved vital in their quest for UEFA Champions League football. He kept twelve clean sheets – the most in the season – and only conceded 35 goals. Viewers of ITV's On the Ball voted Cudicini, ahead of Southampton keeper Antti Niemi, and Blackburn Rovers' Brad Friedel.[39]

Goal of the Season

The annual award was won by a wonder goal from Thierry Henry against Tottenham Hotspur, on 16 November 2002, voted by viewers of ITV's The Premiership.

Henry – chance for a break out, Wiltord to his right, Bergkamp to his left...they'll do well to catch up with Thierry Henry though...he's drifted away from Carr – HENRY! What a fabulous solo goal by Thierry Henry. A long distance goal followed by a long distance celebration...and Arsenal are back in the goalscoring business, after their midweek blank. Henry's been short of a goal or two just recently...but look at the confidence as he breaks from inside his own half, shrugging off Etherington, stepping away from Carr and from King...and picking his spot – he had options...but he had eyes for only one thing – the back of Kasey Keller's net. Thierry Henry moves into double figures for the season.— Clive Tyldesley on Thierry Henry's solo goal when commentating the North London derby for The Premiership on ITV1.[40]

The French striker picked up the ball from his side of the pitch and ran almost 30 yards (27 m), twisting and turning the Spurs defence to unleash a thunderous shot. In celebration, he ran the distance of the whole pitch and skidded in front of the Spurs faithful. The goal proved important as it helped them regain their position at the top of the Premiership from Liverpool.

Premier League Fair Play Award

The Premier League Fair Play Award was won by Manchester United.[41]

Respect toward
Respect toward
Behaviour of
team officials
1Manchester United383323252232262061312328.008.63
2Newcastle United383253182172182001278319.508.41
5Manchester City383102882242311941247311.758.20
8Blackburn Rovers383072922192221781218304.508.01
9Aston Villa383042832122182011218304.508.01
13Leeds United383042902062101941204301.007.92
14West Bromwich Albion383162732192141811203300.757.91
16Tottenham Hotspur383092912152071741196299.007.87
17West Ham United382982812112121911193298.257.85
18Charlton Athletic383162702102141771187296.757.81
19Bolton Wanderers382992792182171611174293.507.72
20Birmingham City382952712012131791159289.757.63


Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgFulham temporarily relocated to Loftus Road (home stadium of Queens Park Rangers) after Craven Cottage was in need of a refurbishment.
Sep 19, 2019, 9:25 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgThis was Manchester City's last season at Maine Road as they were scheduled to relocate to the 48,000 seater City of Manchester Stadium.
Sep 19, 2019, 9:25 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgSince Liverpool qualified for the UEFA Cup via the league, their place in the UEFA Cup as League Cup winners reverted to the league and was awarded to Blackburn Rovers as the highest-placed team not already qualified for European competitions.
Sep 19, 2019, 9:25 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgSince Arsenal qualified for the Champions League, their place in the UEFA Cup as FA Cup winners went to Southampton, who were the FA Cup runners-up.
Sep 19, 2019, 9:25 AM
Citation Linkopenlibrary.orgManchester City qualified as the highest-ranked team not already qualified for European competitions of Premiership Fair Play League by The Football Association, the top association among UEFA Fair Play ranking winners.
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