2002–03 Football League First Division

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Football League First Division
Season 2002–03
Champions Portsmouth
(1st divisional title)
Promoted Portsmouth
Leicester City
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Relegated Sheffield Wednesday
Brighton & Hove Albion
Grimsby Town
Matches played 557
Goals scored 1512 (2.71 per match)
Top goalscorer Svetoslav Todorov
(26 goals)
Biggest home win Nottm Forest 6–0 Stoke,
Wolves 6–0 Gillingham
Biggest away win Millwall 0–6 Rotherham
Highest scoring Grimsby 6–5 Burnley,
Burnley 4–7 Watford
Longest winning run 7 games[1]
Portsmouth
Longest unbeaten run 15 games[1]
Leicester City
Longest winless run 16 games[1]
Stoke City
Longest losing run 12 games[1]
Brighton & Hove Albion
Average attendance 15,599[2]

The 2002–03 Football League First Division (referred to as the Nationwide First Division for sponsorship reasons) was the tenth season under its league division format as the second level of English football.

Portsmouth won the division to return to the Premier League after a fifteen-year absence. In Harry Redknapp's first full season in charge the team secured the title on 27 April, with a victory over Rotherham, having been promoted with four games to spare by defeating Burnley.[3][4]

Leicester City were promoted at the first attempt following their relegation. Their promotion was contentious as they entered administration during the season due to debts in excess of £50 million stemming from their loss of Premier League income and major investment in a new stadium, but were able to write-off these entirely when a new consortium took control and therefore avoided having to sell off players.[5] Following this incident, the Football League would introduce rules that penalised any club entering administration with a ten-point points deduction;[6] although Leicester would still have finished in second place had been this been applied.

Wolverhampton Wanderers won the play-offs to reach the modern-day Premiership for the first time after a 3–0 win in the play-off final against a Sheffield United team which had reached the semi-finals of both domestic cup competitions.[7] This marked a return to top-flight football for Wolves after a nineteen-year exodus that had seen them fall as low as the fourth tier. Also leaving the division were Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton & Hove Albion and Grimsby Town, who were all relegated.

Team changes from previous season[edit]

Joining the First Division

Relegated from the Premiership:

Promoted from the Second Division:

Leaving the First Division

Promoted to the Premiership:

Relegated to the Second Division:

Team overview[edit]

Stadia and locations[edit]

Team Location Stadium Capacity
Bradford City Bradford Bradford & Bingley Stadium 25,136
Burnley Burnley Turf Moor 22,546
Brighton & Hove Albion Brighton Withdean Stadium 8,850
Coventry City Coventry Highfield Road 23,489
Crystal Palace London Selhurst Park 26,309
Derby County Derby Pride Park 33,597
Gillingham Gillingham Priestfield Stadium 11,582
Grimsby Town Cleethorpes Blundell Park 10,033
Ipswich Town Ipswich Portman Road 30,311
Leicester City Leicester Walkers Stadium 32,500
Millwall London The New Den 20,146
Nottingham Forest Nottingham City Ground 30,576
Norwich City Norwich Carrow Road 26,018
Portsmouth Portsmouth Fratton Park 20,224
Preston North End Preston Deepdale 23,408
Reading Reading Madjeski Stadium 24,161
Rotherham United Rotherham Millmoor 8,300
Sheffield United Sheffield Bramall Lane 32,702
Sheffield Wednesday Sheffield Hillsborough 39,812
Stoke City Stoke Britannia Stadium 27,740
Walsall Walsall Bescot Stadium 11,300
Watford Watford Vicarage Road 17,504
Wimbledon London Selhurst Park1 26,309
Wolverhampton Wanderers Wolverhampton Molineux 27,828
  • Note 1: Wimbledon rented the use of Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park home.

Personnel and sponsoring[edit]

Team Manager Kit maker Sponsor
Bradford City England Nicky Law BCAFC JCT600
Burnley England Stan Ternent TFG Sports Lanway
Brighton & Hove Albion England Martin Hinshelwood Erreà Skint Records
Coventry City Scotland Gary McAllister CCFC Subaru
Crystal Palace England Trevor Francis Le Coq Sportif Churchill
Derby County England John Gregory Erreà Pedigree
Gillingham England Andy Hessenthaler Gills Leisure SeaFrance
Grimsby Town England Paul Groves Avec Dixon
Ipswich Town Scotland George Burley Punch TXU Energi
Leicester City England Micky Adams Le Coq Sportif LG
Millwall Scotland Mark McGhee Strikeforce 24seven
Nottingham Forest England Paul Hart Umbro Pinnacle Insurance
Norwich City Northern Ireland Nigel Worthington Xara Digital Phone Company
Portsmouth England Harry Redknapp Pompey Sport Ty
Preston North End Scotland Craig Brown Voi NewReg.com
Reading England Alan Pardew Kit@ Westcoast
Rotherham United England Ronnie Moore Bodyline T-Mobile
Sheffield United England Neil Warnock Le Coq Sportif Desun
Sheffield Wednesday Wales Terry Yorath Diadora Chupa Chups
Stoke City England Steve Cotterill Le Coq Sportif Britannia
Walsall England Colin Lee Xara Banks's
Watford England Ray Lewington Kit@ Toshiba
Wimbledon England Stuart Murdoch Patrick Go MK
Wolverhampton Wanderers England Dave Jones Admiral Doritos

Managerial changes[edit]

Team Outgoing manager Manner of departure Date of vacancy Position in table Replaced by Date of appointment
Brighton & Hove Albion England Peter Taylor Resigned 29 April 2002[8] Off season England Martin Hinshelwood 15 July 2002[9]
Brighton & Hove Albion England Martin Hinshelwood Moved to director of football position 7 October 2002[10] 24th England Steve Coppell 7 October 2002[10]
Stoke City England Steve Cotterill Resigned to become assistant manager at Sunderland 10 October 2002[11] 15th Wales Tony Pulis 1 November 2002[12]
Ipswich Town Scotland George Burley Sacked 11 October 2002[13] 19th England Joe Royle 28 October 2002[14]
Sheffield Wednesday Wales Terry Yorath Resigned 31 October 2002[15] 22nd England Chris Turner 7 November 2002[16]
Crystal Palace England Trevor Francis Mutual consent 18 April 2003[17] 11th England Steve Kember 23 May 2003[18]
Derby County England John Gregory Sacked 9 May 20032[19][20] 18th (end of season) Scotland George Burley 5 June 20033[21][22]
  • Note 2: Although Gregory was dismissed on this date, he had already been suspended from his post on 21 March after "serious allegations" were made against him.
  • Note 3: Burley was initially appointed on 31 March as interim manager following John Gregory's suspension.

League table[edit]

Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Portsmouth (C) (P) 46 29 11 6 97 45 +52 98 Promotion to 2003–04 FA Premier League
2 Leicester City (P) 46 26 14 6 73 40 +33 92
3 Sheffield United 46 23 11 12 72 52 +20 80 Qualification to First Division Playoffs
4 Reading 46 25 4 17 61 46 +15 79
5 Wolverhampton Wanderers (O) (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 45 +15 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 Relegation to 2003–04 Second Division
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

Updated to games played on 11 May 2003.
Source:[citation needed]
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.

Playoffs[edit]

  Semi-finals Final
                     
3  Sheffield United 1 4 5  
6  Nottingham Forest 1 3 4  
    3  Sheffield United 0
  5  Wolverhampton Wanderers 3
4  Reading 1 0 1
5  Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 1 3  

Awards[edit]

Month Manager of the Month Notes
Manager Club
August England Harry Redknapp Portsmouth [23]
September England Micky Adams Leicester City [24]
October England Ray Lewington Watford [25]
November England Alan Pardew Reading [26]
December Scotland Gary McAllister Coventry City [27]
January England Neil Warnock Sheffield United [28]
February England Alan Pardew Reading [29]
March England Joe Royle Ipswich Town [30]
April Scotland Mark McGhee Millwall [31]
PFA Team of the Year[32]
Pos. Player Club
GK Trinidad and Tobago Shaka Hislop Portsmouth
DF Republic of Ireland Denis Irwin Wolverhampton Wanderers
DF England Joleon Lescott Wolverhampton Wanderers
DF England Michael Dawson Nottingham Forest
DF England Matthew Taylor Portsmouth
MF Turkey Muzzy Izzet Leicester City
MF England Michael Brown Sheffield United
MF England Paul Merson Portsmouth
MF England Michael Tonge Sheffield United
FW Jamaica David Johnson Nottingham Forest
FW Scotland Paul Dickov Leicester City

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "English League Championship Stats – 2011–12". Statto.com. 
  2. ^ "English League Championship Stats: Team Attendance". ESPN. 
  3. ^ "Portsmouth 3-2 Rotherham". BBC Sport. 27 April 2003. 
  4. ^ "Portsmouth promoted". BBC Sport. 15 April 2003. 
  5. ^ "Leicester City put into administration". BBC News. 22 October 2002. 
  6. ^ "League to punish stricken clubs". BBC News. 25 September 2003. 
  7. ^ "Wolves back in big time". BBC Sport. 26 May 2003. 
  8. ^ "Taylor quits Brighton". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 29 April 2002. 
  9. ^ "Hinshelwood given Brighton job". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 15 July 2002. 
  10. ^ a b "Seagulls go for Coppell". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 7 October 2002. 
  11. ^ "Cotterill quits Stoke". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 10 October 2002. 
  12. ^ "Pulis gets Stoke job". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 1 November 2002. 
  13. ^ "Ipswich sack Burley". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 11 October 2002. 
  14. ^ "Royle eyes promotion". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 28 October 2002. 
  15. ^ "Yorath quits Wednesday". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 31 October 2002. 
  16. ^ "Turner handed Owls post". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 7 November 2002. 
  17. ^ "Francis leaves Palace". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 18 April 2003. 
  18. ^ "Palace appoint Kember". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 23 May 2003. 
  19. ^ "Gregory suspended by Derby". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 21 March 2003. 
  20. ^ "Derby sack Gregory". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 9 May 2003. 
  21. ^ "Burley takes over at Derby". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 31 March 2003. 
  22. ^ "Burley relishes Derby challenge". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 5 June 2003. 
  23. ^ "Manager of the Month: August 2002". League Managers Association. 
  24. ^ "Manager of the Month: September 2002". League Managers Association. 
  25. ^ "Manager of the Month: October 2002". League Managers Association. 
  26. ^ "Manager of the Month: November 2002". League Managers Association. 
  27. ^ "Manager of the Month: December 2002". League Managers Association. 
  28. ^ "Manager of the Month: January 2003". League Managers Association. 
  29. ^ "Manager of the Month: February 2003". League Managers Association. 
  30. ^ "Manager of the Month: March 2003". League Managers Association. 
  31. ^ "Manager of the Month: April 2003". League Managers Association. 
  32. ^ Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2003). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2003/2004. Queen Anne Press. p. 496. ISBN 1-85291-651-6.