A year after finishing fifth in the Premiership and earning George Burley the title of "Manager of the Year", Ipswich dropped back into Division One after two years among the elite after falling victim to second season syndrome. A dismal start to the season saw their UEFA Cup dream end in the third phase of the competition, while after 18 games they were still bottom of the Premiership with just one win. A turnaround then followed and seven wins from eight games pulled Ipswich up to 12th and appeared to have secured their survival. But another slump set in and this time they were unable to halt it. Any lingering hopes of survival were ended on the final day by a 5–0 defeat against Liverpool.
Despite losing their Premiership status, the Tractor Boys still had European action to look forward to. They attained UEFA Cup qualification via UEFA's fair play league.
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