Derby manager Jim Smith rejected the offer to become Director of Football and resigned on 7 October after more than six years at the helm. His assistant Colin Todd, who won two league titles with the club in the 1970s, was promoted to the manager's seat, but by this stage the Rams were deep in relegation trouble. A shock 3–1 home defeat against Division Three strugglers Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup proved the final straw for the directors and Todd was sacked days later, after a mere three months in charge. By the end of the month, John Gregory had taken over at Pride Park just six days after quitting Aston Villa. Two quick wins and a draw against Manchester United suggested that Gregory might be Derby's saviour, but seven defeats from their final eight games condemned Derby to relegation.
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored. (C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished: (Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points
1Since Arsenal qualified for the Champions League, their UEFA Cup place as FA Cup winners defaulted to Chelsea, the losing finalists.
2Blackburn Rovers qualified for the UEFA Cup as League Cup winners
3Despite relegation, Ipswich Town qualified for the 2002–03 UEFA Cup Qualifying Round as Fair Play Award winners