2002–03 Watford F.C. season

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Watford
2002–03 season
Chairman Graham Simpson
Manager Ray Lewington
Stadium Vicarage Road
First Division 13th
FA Cup Semi-finals
League Cup First round
Top goalscorer League: Helguson (11)
All: Helguson (13)
Average home league attendance 13,405

The 2002–03 season marked Watford Football Club's third consecutive season in the Football League First Division, following relegation from the Premier League in the 1999–2000 season. The club was managed by its former reserve team manager Ray Lewington, following the dismissal of Gianluca Vialli at the end of 2001–02. The club finished 13th in the First Division, reached the semi-final of the FA Cup, and were eliminated in the first round of the League Cup. Watford were operating under severe financial constraints following the collapse of ITV Digital, and at the end of the season were forced to offload several first team players, including Tommy Smith, Gifton Noel-Williams, Stephen Glass and the club's record signing at the time Allan Nielsen.

Season review[edit]

Over the summer many of the Vialli's signings left the club. Lewington had few funds to strengthen the side. The extent of Watford's financial difficulties was exposed in the autumn, along with many League clubs, following the collapse of ITV Digital.[1] The club was facing administration when the players and staff agreed a 12% wage deferral.[2] Exacerbating the club's difficulties were the large payoffs they had had to make to Vialli and several players on terminating their contracts, and Vialli's decision to sue the club early in 2003.[3] The club started the season well, however, despite the players having to agree to a pay-cut during October, and finished in mid-table. An unexpected run to the FA Cup semi-final, where Watford lost to Premiership Southampton,[4] also generated vital cash.[5]

Final league table[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GD Pts
1 Portsmouth 46 17 3 3 52 22 12 8 3 45 23 97 45 +52 98
2 Leicester City 46 16 5 2 40 12 10 9 4 33 28 73 40 +33 92
3 Sheffield United 46 13 7 3 38 23 10 4 9 34 29 72 52 +20 80
4 Reading 46 13 3 7 33 21 12 1 10 28 25 61 46 +15 79
5 Wolverhampton Wanderers 46 9 10 4 40 19 11 6 6 41 25 81 44 +37 76
6 Nottingham Forest 46 14 7 2 57 23 6 7 10 25 27 82 50 +32 74
7 Ipswich Town 46 10 5 8 49 39 9 8 6 31 25 80 64 +16 70
8 Norwich City 46 14 4 5 36 17 5 8 10 24 32 60 49 +11 69
9 Millwall 46 11 6 6 34 32 8 3 12 25 37 59 69 –10 66
10 Wimbledon 46 12 5 6 39 28 6 6 11 37 45 76 73 +3 65
11 Gillingham 46 10 6 7 33 31 6 8 9 23 34 56 65 –9 62
12 Preston North End 46 11 7 5 44 29 5 6 12 24 41 68 70 –2 61
13 Watford 46 11 5 7 33 26 6 4 13 21 44 54 70 –16 60
14 Crystal Palace 46 8 10 5 29 17 6 7 10 30 35 59 52 +7 59
15 Rotherham United 46 8 9 6 27 25 7 5 11 35 37 62 62 ±0 59
16 Burnley 46 10 4 9 35 44 5 6 12 30 45 65 89 –24 55
17 Walsall 46 10 3 10 34 34 5 6 12 23 35 57 69 –12 54
18 Derby County 46 9 5 9 33 32 6 2 15 22 42 55 74 –19 52
19 Bradford City 46 7 8 8 27 35 7 2 14 24 38 51 73 –22 52
20 Coventry City 46 6 6 11 23 31 6 8 9 23 31 46 62 –16 50
21 Stoke City 46 9 6 8 25 25 3 8 12 20 44 45 69 –24 50
22 Sheffield Wednesday 46 7 7 9 29 32 3 9 11 27 41 56 73 –17 46
23 Brighton & Hove Albion 46 7 6 10 29 31 4 6 13 20 36 49 67 –18 45
24 Grimsby Town 46 5 6 12 26 39 4 6 13 22 46 48 85 –37 39
  • Pld = Matches ; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points
  • NB: In the Football League goals scored (F) takes precedence over goal difference (GD).
Key
Football League Champions, promoted to FA Premier League
Promoted to FA Premier League
Participated in play-offs
Promoted to Premier League through play-offs
Relegated

Results[edit]

Watford's score comes first[6]

Legend[edit]

Win Draw Loss

Football League First Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
10 August 2002 Leicester City A 0-2 31,022
13 August 2002 Millwall H 0-0 11,187
17 August 2002 Wimbledon H 3-2 10,292 Webber, Robinson, Neilsen
24 August 2002 Portsmouth A 0-3 17,901
26 August 2002 Coventry City H 5-2 11,136 Glass, T Smith, Webber, Nielsen, Robinson
31 August 2002 Norwich City A 0-4 20,563
7 September 2002 Walsall H 2-0 10,528 T Smith, Foley
14 September 2002 Nottingham Forest A 1-0 17,865 Cox
17 September 2002 Preston North End A 1-1 12,408 Robinson
21 September 2002 Crystal Palace H 3-3 12,153 Ardley, Hyde, Helguson
28 September 2002 Sheffield United A 2-1 16,301 Cox (pen), Helguson
5 October 2002 Brighton & Hove Albion H 1-0 15,305 Helguson
12 October 2002 Grimsby Town H 2-0 13,821 Foley, T Smith
19 October 2002 Gillingham A 0-3 8,728
26 October 2002 Sheffield Wednesday H 1-0 15,058 Helguson
30 October 2002 Stoke City A 2-1 11,215 Helguson, Cox
2 November 2002 Wolverhampton Wanderers H 1-1 16,524 Cox
9 November 2002 Rotherham United A 1-2 6,790 Foley
17 November 2002 Ipswich Town H 0-2 16,184
23 November 2002 Reading A 0-1 17,465
30 November 2002 Burnley H 2-1 13,977 Helguson, T Smith (pen)
7 December 2002 Derby County A 0-3 21,653
14 December 2002 Ipswich Town A 2-4 22,985 T Smith, Cox
21 December 2002 Bradford City H 1-0 12,579 Cox (pen)
26 December 2002 Wimbledon A 0-0 2,643
28 December 2002 Leicester City H 1-2 16,017 Helguson
1 January 2003 Portsmouth H 2-2 15,048 Hyde, Cox
11 January 2003 Millwall A 0-4 9,030
19 January 2003 Norwich City H 2-1 13,338 Neilsen, Helguson
1 February 2003 Coventry City A 1-0 17,393 Hyde
8 February 2003 Rotherham United H 1-2 15,025 T Smith
22 February 2003 Walsall A 0-2 7,705
25 February 2003 Wolverhampton Wanderers A 0-0 24,591
1 March 2003 Nottingham Forest H 1-1 17,934 Helguson
4 March 2003 Preston North End H 0-1 11,101
15 March 2003 Grimsby Town A 0-1 4,847
18 March 2003 Gillingham H 0-1 10,492
22 March 2003 Stoke City H 1-2 12,570 Helguson
29 March 2003 Sheffield Wednesday A 2-2 17,086 T Smith, Norville
5 April 2003 Burnley A 7-4 10,208 Brown, Hyde, Cox, Chopra (4)
8 April 2003 Crystal Palace A 1-0 14,051 Hunt (own goal)
19 April 2003 Bradford City A 1-2 11,145 Helguson
21 April 2003 Derby County H 2-0 11,909 Chopra, Ardley
26 April 2003 Brighton & Hove Albion A 0-4 6,841
30 April 2003 Reading H 0-3 11,814
4 May 2003 Sheffield United H 2-0 14,320 Cox, Fitzgerald

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 2002–03 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R3 4 January 2003 Macclesfield Town A 2-0 4,244 Helguson, Pennant
R4 25 January 2003 West Bromwich Albion H 1-0 16,975 Helguson
R5 15 February 2003 Sunderland A 1-0 26,916 T Smith
QF 9 March 2003 Burnley H 2-0 20,336 T Smith, Glass
SF 13 April 2003 Southampton N 1-2 42,602 Gayle

League Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 10 September 2002 Luton Town H 1-2 14,171 Foley

First-team squad[edit]

Squad at end of season[7]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Alec Chamberlain
2 England DF Neal Ardley
3 England DF Paul Robinson
4 England MF Paolo Vernazza
5 England DF Neil Cox
6 England DF Sean Dyche
7 Denmark MF Allan Nielsen
8 Jamaica MF Micah Hyde
9 England FW Tommy Smith
10 England DF Wayne Brown
11 Scotland MF Stephen Glass
12 England MF Gavin Mahon
14 Australia MF Richard Johnson
15 England FW Gifton Noel-Williams
16 England MF Anthony McNamee
No. Position Player
18 Iceland FW Heiðar Helguson
19 England DF Jerel Ifil
20 England DF Lloyd Doyley
21 Republic of Ireland FW Dominic Foley
22 England FW Lee Cook
23 England MF Jamie Hand
24 England FW Jason Norville
25 England MF Gary Fisken
27 Jamaica DF Marcus Gayle
28 England MF Sam Swonnell
29 England MF Jermaine Pennant (on loan from Arsenal)
30 England GK Richard Lee
31 England DF Jack Smith
32 Canada MF Elliott Godfrey
33 England FW Scott Fitzgerald

Left club during season[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
10 England MF Stephen Hughes (released)
13 Norway GK Espen Baardsen (to Everton)
17 England FW Nick Wright (retired)
No. Position Player
17 England FW Michael Chopra (on loan from Newcastle United)
29 England FW Danny Webber (on loan from Manchester United)

Reserve squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
26 England MF Fabien Forde

Ownership and finance[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]