The 1992–93 FA Premier League was the inaugural season of the Premier League, the top division of Englishfootball. The season began on 15 August 1992 and ended on 11 May 1993. The league was made up of the 22 clubs that broke away from The Football League at the end of the 1991–92 season. The new league was backed up by a five-year, £305 million deal with BSkyB to televise Premier League matches. In concept, the Premier League was identical to the old First Division of the Football League, which was now reduced to three divisions.
In May 1992, the breakaway league signed a broadcasting rights contract with British Sky Broadcasting and the BBC valued at £304 million, the largest such agreement in the history of British sport. The league's executive committee was unable, however, to secure title sponsorship for the new competition after eight clubs blocked a proposed £13 million deal with brewers Bass. Nonetheless, clubs began to utilise their dramatically increased wealth to fund a series of high-profile transfers.
Although the idea of a super league had been mentioned by football's governing bodies and evaluated by the media since the mid 1980s, plans for a new Premier League of 22 clubs were first unveiled by the Football Association in October 1990, and included in the Football Association'sBlueprint for the Future of Football, published in June 1991. The majority of First Division clubs, particularly long-established top clubs including Arsenal and Manchester United, were in favour of a breakaway from the Football League, although Football League president Bill Fox criticised the planned Premier League as an attempt by the Football Association to "hijack" the First Division.
The first Premier League title went to Manchester United, the club's first title for 26 years. Manchester United's Premier League title success was achieved with a 10-point lead over runners-up Aston Villa. Villa led the table for much of the season, but their challenge faded in the final weeks of the season and were out of contention three games before the season was over after they lost 1–0 at home to Oldham Athletic. Norwich City led the Premier League at Christmas in the unusual position of having a negative goal difference, their defensive frailties having been highlighted by a 7–1 defeat at Blackburn early in the season. Norwich eventually finished in third place, achieving European qualification in Mike Walker's debut season as manager. Blackburn, in the top division for the first time in almost 30 years, finished in fourth place, also taking the lead of the league early in the season but suffering a shortage of goals after 16-goal Alan Shearer was injured just after Christmas. The title race after Christmas was largely between the clubs who finished in the top four after early challenges from likes of Arsenal, Coventry City and QPR were not sustained.
Nottingham Forest's league form had suffered through the sale of key players like Des Walker and Teddy Sheringham, and they were bottom of the Premier League for much of the 1992–93 season. Their relegation was confirmed in early May when they lost to Sheffield United, and manager Brian Clough announced his retirement after 18 years as manager, which had yielded one league title, two European Cups and four League Cups. Next to go were newly promoted Middlesbrough, who fell from mid-table at Christmas to go down in second from bottom place. Last to go down were Crystal Palace, who failed to win their final game of the season which would have instead consigned Oldham Athletic to the final relegation place.
The only manager to be dismissed from his job during the season was Chelsea's Ian Porterfield, who was sacked in February after a string of poor results. Club chairman Ken Bates replaced him on a temporary basis with David Webb, a former Chelsea player who scored the winning goal for the club in the 1970 FA Cup Final. At the end of the season, Bates opted not to offer a longer contract to Webb and instead appointed former Swindon Town manager Glenn Hoddle.
Updated to games played on 11 May 1993.
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored 1Arsenal qualified by winning the FA Cup. (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.
The PFA also selected eleven players to form its Team of the Year. The team included four Manchester United players (Giggs, Ince, Peter Schmeichel and Gary Pallister) and two from Leeds United (Tony Dorigo and Gary Speed). The other members of the team were McGrath, Keane, Shearer, David Bardsley (Queens Park Rangers) and Ian Wright (Arsenal). The Manager of the Year award, chosen by a panel representing football's governing body, the media, and fans, was given to Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson. The newly formed League Managers Association also presented its own Manager of the Year award for the first time, specifically designed to recognise "the manager who made best use of the resources available to him". This award went to Dave Bassett of Sheffield United.
The top goalscorer in the Premier League's inaugural season was Teddy Sheringham, who scored one goal for Nottingham Forest before his early-season transfer followed by 21 for Tottenham Hotspur for a total of 22. Alan Shearer had scored 16 goals by Christmas before suffering a season-ending injury.