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Premier League
Season 2001–02
Champions Arsenal
2nd Premier League title
12th English title
Matches played 380
Goals scored 1000 (2.63 per match)
Top goalscorer France Thierry Henry (24 goals)
Highest scoring Tottenham Hotspur 3–5 Manchester United (8 goals)

The 2001–02 FA Premier League season was the tenth season of the competition. It began with a new sponsor, Barclaycard, and was titled the FA Barclaycard Premiership, replacing the previous sponsor, Carling. The title race turned into a battle between four different sides - Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle United.

Arsenal clinched the title on 8 May 2002 after a convincing win against Manchester United at Old Trafford, in the penultimate game of the season. This new attacking Arsenal side had won the FA Cup five days before and made history by accomplishing their third double; second under the reign of Arsène Wenger. He showed his commitment by signing a new four-year deal with the Gunners.

The season started from 18 August 2001 and ended on 11 May 2002.

Contents

Race for the Title

At the start of 2002 the title was wide open as teams such as Newcastle Utd and Leeds Utd were flying at the top of the table along with the big boys. Newcastle, after two back to back Christmas away wins 3–1 at Arsenal and 4–3 at Leeds stamped themselves as genuine title challengers and led the league at the turn of the year. Leeds were also top at Christmas before losing that dramatic 4–3 thriller at Elland Road to the Magpies.

Come March time, the Premiership was mainly contested between Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, due to Chelsea, Newcastle and Leeds failure to stay in touch with those specific clubs.

Liverpool appeared to crash out of the title race. Despite being top of the table at the start of December and eleven points clear of Manchester United, they suffered a slump into fifth place and five points behind United.

January saw Liverpool head to Arsenal and Manchester United, all in a fortnight. Danny Murphy scored a late winner to give Liverpool the three points at Old Trafford, while John Arne Riise salvaged a point against Arsenal. Manchester United were top of the table for the first time in the season after Liverpool and Arsenal's stalemate draw.

Liverpool's defeat to Tottenham in March installed Arsenal as favourites for the title. The Gunners win against Bolton Wanderers, in April saw them close the gap to just three points for an Arsenal Championship victory.

All eyes were on the match at Old Trafford between Arsenal and Manchester United. Arsenal needed a draw to guarantee the title for the second time in five seasons, while United needed a win to have any say in the outcome of the league. Sylvain Wiltord was the only scorer in the fiercely battled rival, which had meant that Arsenal secured their third double in ironic fashion. United's loss allowed Liverpool to leapfrog into second place, after their win against Blackburn Rovers, on the same night.

Liverpool confirmed second place and another season of European football on the last day of the season. They trashed and relegated Ipswich Town, 5–0 at home. Arsenal displayed their trophy in style after beating Everton 4–3 at Highbury, while Manchester United could only manage a draw against Charlton.


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Double Trouble: Arsenal

Arsenal yet again entered themselves in the record books by becoming the only side during the whole season not to lose a match away from home and score in all 38 matches. Instrumental to the success was striker, Thierry Henry who netted in 24 goals during the season and defender Sol Campbell who joined the club from arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur on a free deal.

The Gunners suffered only three defeats, - Charlton, Leeds and Newcastle, all coming from home. It also started a thirty match unbeaten run, which eventually ended in October 2002 against Everton. Arsenal also won the FA Cup, after defeating Chelsea by two goals to nil. Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg were both on the scoresheet which ended Arsenal's four year double drought.

Captain Tony Adams and fellow defender Lee Dixon announced their retirement at the end of the season. Wenger placed Patrick Vieira as captain.

End Position: Champions

Liverpool

Gérard Houllier saw his Liverpool side finish second in the table, one better than he predicted. It was their highest position since 1991, when they finished inside the top two. Champions League football would be back at Anfield for a second season, and there was more of a buzz that the Frenchman would deliver the title back to Anfield. John Arne Riise was the only major signing that Liverpool brought in at the start of the season. It prompted questions from the press and the desire from Houllier to spend big.

The season started fairly well for the side; defeating Manchester United in the Charity Shield and beating West Ham United at the start of the season. However, dramatic news unfolded at Anfield in October.

Gérard Houllier underwent emergency heart surgery after complaining about 'uncomfortable chest pains' in his body, during the match against Leeds United. He was advised to take rest and assistant manager, Phil Thompson had taken in-charge for a temporary basis.

Thompson's first major decision was whether or not to sell striker, Robbie Fowler. Great interest was brewing from rival teams such as Chelsea, Aston Villa and Arsenal, whom Wenger had stated that he admired his 'style of play'. Fowler was eventually sold to Leeds United, on a five year, £11 million deal with the club.

After a whole-list of greetings and get well messages, most notably from David Beckham, David O'Leary, Arsène Wenger and Elton John,[1] Houllier eventually arrived back at Liverpool in March, and took charge against Roma in their final must win Champions League group game. The Reds won the match 2-0 and qualified for the knock-out stages where they were eventually beaten in the Quarter Finals by German side Bayer Leverkusen.

End Position: Runners-up

Manchester United

Manchester United endured a trophyless season for the first time since 1998. Having spent nearly £45 million on players such as Juan Sebastián Verón and Ruud van Nistelrooy, United failed to retain their trophy and win a fourth title in four consecutive seasons.

Sir Alex Ferguson was on course to retire following the season and had his sights set on the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final in Hampden Park, Scotland. United went out in the semi-finals on the away goal ruling to Bayer Leverkusen, the same team that had defeated Liverpool in the previous round.

The Red Devils ended up finishing third in the table - the lowest in Ferguson's reign since the formation of the Premiership, and were second best to Liverpool and Arsenal, who both beat Manchester United - home and away. Ferguson eventually decided to stay with Manchester United.

End Position: Third

Promotion and Relegation

For the first time in the history of the Premier League, all three promoted teams avoided relegation - Fulham, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers.

Fulham had splashed out £34 million on new players during the close season, and their owner Mohamed Al-Fayed was one of the wealthiest benefactors in English football. He even boasted that they would win the Premiership title in 2001–02, and most pundits tipped Fulham to push for a place in Europe. However, Fulham finished thirteenth, 47 points away from Arsenal.

Bolton Wanderers went top of the Premiership after winning their first three fixtures of the season, and causing an upset by beating Gerard Houllier's Liverpool in the latter stage of the game. Manager Sam Allardyce was boasting that his side were good enough to win their first ever league title. But Bolton's league form slumped after the first two months of the season and they finished 16th place - their survival was confirmed in the penultimate game of the season.

Blackburn Rovers were the most successful of the promoted sides. They beat Tottenham Hotspur 2–1 in the League Cup final to lift the trophy for the first time, and then climbed from 18th place in the Premiership in late February to finish in a secure 10th place - higher than any other newly promoted team that season. Blackburn secured a UEFA Cup place for 2002–03.

Leicester City was the first team officially relegated from the Premiership. They finished bottom of table with just five Premiership wins in their last season at 111-year-old Filbert Street before relocation to the new 32,000-seat Walkers Stadium. The club went through the regime of two different managers during the season - Peter Taylor was replaced by David Bassett in early October and six months later Bassett joined the club's board to be replaced by assistant manager Micky Adams.

Just after the start of the 2002–03 season, Leicester's relegation (which cost them extensive television revenue) and the cost of their new stadium had created debts in excess of £30 million, and the club went into administration before being taken over by a new owner. Despite this setback, Leicester had gained promotion back to the Premiership at the first time of asking, although they slipped back down again after just one season and Adams had since resigned to make way for new manager, Craig Levein.

Next to go down were Derby County, who had been promoted alongside Leicester six years earlier. Their manager Jim Smith resigned in early October to be replaced by assistant manager Colin Todd, who was sacked three months later after Derby were knocked out of the FA Cup by Division Three strugglers Bristol Rovers.

The last team to be relegated were Ipswich Town, who the previous season had qualified for the UEFA Cup and earned manager George Burley the Manager of the Year award. Ipswich made a terrible start to the season, winning just one of their first 18 Premiership games. They then went on a strong run of form, winning seven out of eight games, which looked to have secured their Premiership survival. But they then suffered another setback which George Burley's men were unable to reverse. Their relegation was confirmed on the final day of the season by a 5–0 thrashing at Liverpool.

European qualification

Team League Position Competition Reason
Arsenal 1 UEFA Champions League Champions
Liverpool 2 UEFA Champions League Runners up
Manchester United 3 UEFA Champions League Position
Newcastle 4 UEFA Champions League Position
Leeds United 5 UEFA Cup Position
Chelsea 6 UEFA Cup Runners up of the FA Cup/position
Blackburn Rovers 10 UEFA Cup Winners of the Worthington Cup
Fulham 13 UEFA Cup Winners of the UEFA Intertoto Cup
Ipswich Town 18 UEFA Cup Despite being relegated, they won the UEFA Fair Play Draw.

Managerial Changes

  • Aston Villa manager John Gregory resigned in January and was replaced by Graham Taylor.
  • Derby County sacked manager Jim Smith in October and replaced him with former Bolton boss Colin Todd. Todd lasted 18 games before being replaced by John Gregory.
  • Everton had sacked manager Walter Smith and replaced him with Preston's David Moyes.
  • Leeds United sacked David O'Leary after a four-year spell as manager had failed to land a trophy despite a £100million outlay on new players. He was replaced by Terry Venables
  • Leicester City sacked Peter Taylor in early October and replaced him with David Bassett. Following the confirmation of their relegation, Micky Adams became manager for the last three games of the season.
  • Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier was forced to take most of the season off due to a major heart problem. Assistant Phil Thompson took charge in his absence.
  • Middlesbrough Parted company with joint Coaches Bryan Robson and Terry Venables. Manchester United assistant boss Steve McClaren took over at the Riverside.
  • Southampton sacked manager Stuart Gray in October and was replaced by Gordon Strachan.
  • West Ham appointed former first team coach, Glenn Roeder as permanent manager following a spell as caretaker the previous season, after parting company with Harry Redknapp.

2001-02 Barclaycard Premiership Statistics

Scoresheet

  ARS AST BLA BOL CHA CHE DER EVE FUL IPS LEE LEI LIV MAN MID NEW SOU SUN TOT WHU
Arsenal XXX 3–2 3–3 1–1 2–4 2–1 1–0 4–3 4–1 2–0 1–2 4–0 1–1 3–1 2–1 1–3 1–1 3–0 2–1 2–0
Aston Villa 1–2 XXX 2–0 3–2 1–0 1–1 2–1 0–0 2–0 2–1 0–1 0–2 1–2 1–1 0–0 1–1 2–1 0–0 1–1 2–1
Blackburn Rovers 2–3 3–0 XXX 1–1 4–1 0–0 0–1 1–0 3–0 2–1 1–2 0–0 1–1 2–2 0–1 2–2 2–0 0–3 2–1 7–1
Bolton Wanderers 0–2 3–2 1–1 XXX 0–0 2–2 1–3 2–2 0–0 4–1 0–3 2–2 2–1 0–4 1–1 0–4 0–1 0–2 1–1 1–0
Charlton Athletic 0–3 1–2 0–2 1–2 XXX 2–1 1–0 1–2 1–1 3–2 0–2 2–0 0–2 0–2 0–0 1–1 1–1 2–2 3–1 4–4
Chelsea 1–1 1–3 0–0 5–1 0–1 XXX 2–1 1–1 3–2 2–1 2–0 2–0 4–0 0–3 2–2 1–1 2–4 4–0 4–0 5–1
Derby County 0–2 3–1 2–0 1–0 1–1 1–1 XXX 3–4 0–1 1–3 0–1 2–3 0–1 2–2 0–1 2–3 1–0 0–1 1–0 0–0
Everton 0–1 3–2 1–2 3–1 0–3 0–0 1–0 XXX 2–1 1–2 0–0 2–2 1–3 0–2 2–0 1–3 2–0 1–0 1–1 5–0
Fulham 1–3 0–0 2–0 3–0 0–0 1–1 0–0 2–0 XXX 1–1 0–0 0–0 0–2 2–3 2–1 3–1 2–1 2–0 0–2 0–1
Ipswich Town 0–2 0–0 0–1 1–2 0–1 0–0 3–1 0–0 1–0 XXX 1–2 2–0 0–6 0–1 1–0 0–1 1–3 5–0 2–1 3–0
Leeds United 1–1 1–1 3–1 0–0 0–0 0–0 3–0 3–2 0–1 2–0 XXX 2–2 0–4 3–4 1–0 3–4 2–0 2–0 2–1 3–0
Leicester City 1–3 2–2 2–1 0–5 1–1 2–3 0–3 0–0 0–0 0–1 0–2 XXX 1–4 0–1 1–2 0–0 0–4 1–0 2–1 1–1
Liverpool 1–2 1–3 4–3 1–1 2–0 1–0 2–0 1–1 0–0 5–0 1–1 1–0 XXX 3–1 2–0 3–0 1–1 1–0 1–0 2–1
Manchester United 0–1 1–0 2–1 1–2 0–0 0–3 5–0 4–1 3–2 4–0 1–1 2–0 0–1 XXX 0–1 3–1 6–1 4–1 4–0 0–1
Middlesbrough 0–4 2–1 1–3 1–1 0–0 0–2 5–1 1–0 2–1 0–0 2–2 1–0 1–2 0–1 XXX 1–4 1–3 2–0 1–1 2–0
Newcastle United 0–2 3–0 2–1 3–2 3–0 1–2 1–0 6–2 1–1 2–2 3–1 1–0 0–2 4–3 3–0 XXX 3–1 1–1 0–2 3–1
Southampton 0–2 1–3 1–2 0–0 1–0 0–2 2–0 0–1 1–1 3–3 0–1 2–2 2–0 1–3 1–1 3–1 XXX 2–0 1–0 2–0
Sunderland 1–1 1–1 1–0 1–0 2–2 0–0 1–1 1–0 1–1 1–0 2–0 2–1 0–1 1–3 0–1 0–1 1–1 XXX 1–1 1–0
Tottenham Hotspur 1–1 0–0 1–0 3–2 0–1 2–3 3–1 1–1 4–0 1–2 2–1 2–1 1–0 3–5 2–1 1–3 2–0 2–1 XXX 1–1
West Ham United 1–1 1–1 2–0 2–1 2–0 2–1 4–0 1–0 0–2 3–1 0–0 1–0 1–1 3–5 1–0 3–0 2–0 3–0 0–1 XXX

Final league table

Last updated 13 May 2007

Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Comments
1 Arsenal 38 26 9 3 79 36 43 87 UEFA Champions League 2002-03 First group stage
2 Liverpool 38 24 8 6 67 30 37 80
3 Manchester United 38 24 5 9 87 45 42 77 UEFA Champions League 2002–03 Third qualifying round
4 Newcastle United 38 21 8 9 74 52 22 71
5 Leeds United 38 18 12 8 53 37 16 66 UEFA Cup 2002–03 First round1
6 Chelsea 38 17 13 8 66 38 28 64
7 West Ham United 38 15 8 15 48 57 −9 53
8 Aston Villa 38 12 14 12 46 47 −1 50 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup Third round
9 Tottenham Hotspur 38 14 8 16 49 53 −4 50
10 Blackburn Rovers 38 12 10 16 55 51 4 46 UEFA Cup 2002–03 First round2
11 Southampton 38 12 9 17 46 54 −8 45
12 Middlesbrough 38 12 9 17 35 47 −12 45
13 Fulham 38 10 14 14 36 44 −8 44 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup Second round
14 Charlton Athletic 38 10 14 14 38 49 −11 44
15 Everton 38 11 10 17 45 57 −12 43
16 Bolton Wanderers 38 9 13 16 44 62 −18 40
17 Sunderland 38 10 10 18 29 51 −22 40
18 Ipswich Town3 38 9 9 20 41 64 −23 36 Relegation to Football League First Division 2002-03
19 Derby County 38 8 6 24 33 63 −30 30
20 Leicester City 38 5 13 20 30 64 −34 28

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 place in the UEFA Cup as FA Cup winners went to Chelsea, who were the FA Cup runners-up

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

Club-by-club reviews

Arsenal

Arsenal were in the title race for much of the season, but in the end they won it by a comfortable margin thanks to winning their final 13 games of the campaign and securing the title in the penultimate game of the season thanks to a 1–0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on 8 May. Four days earlier, they had triumphed in the FA Cup final with a 2–0 win over Chelsea, and the win at Old Trafford made them only the second team in English football to have won the "double" on three occasions (the other being Manchester United). Unusually, this double was secured in reverse, with the Premiership title won four days after winning the FA Cup against Chelsea.

The end of the season saw Arsenal's two longest-serving players call time on their playing careers. Club captain and centre-half Tony Adams, approaching 36, announced his retirement after 22 years at the club, including 19 in the senior squad, 14 of which were spent as captain. During that time, he inspired them to no less than ten major trophies. Full-back Lee Dixon, in his 38th year, decided to hang up his boots after spending 14 years of his 21-year career at Highbury.

As the season drew to a close, Arsenal's new 60,000-seat stadium was going through the final stages of planning permission and chairman Peter Hill-Wood hoped to have it ready for the start of the 2004–05 season, although during the summer of 2002 some businesses were still occupying the facilities on the industrial estate that occupied part of the planned stadium site.

Aston Villa

John Gregory announced his resignation after four years as Villa manager on 24 January. A host of names were linked with the vacancy, including Alan Curbishley and even Ray Graydon. But in the end it was Graham Taylor, who took them to promotion in 1988 and second place in the league in 1990, who was appointed manager. Villa were some way behind the leading pack when Gregory left, and Taylor was unable to bring anything better than an eighth place - which was hardly amazing but it at least meant that Villa would be finishing in the top 10 for the seventh year in succession.

Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn had little time to savour their Worthington Cup glory that resulted from a 2–1 win over Tottenham on 24 February - they were deep in the relegation mire and occupying third place from bottom. But Graeme Souness inspired his side, bolstered by the arrival of striker Andy Cole, to a considerable turnaround in form which saw them climb to 10th place in the final table. UEFA Cup qualification had already been achieved thanks to the Worthington Cup triumph, but the club's fans were left wondering whether it could have been achieved automatically had it not been for the club's dismal first half of the season.

The end of Blackburn's season also marked the end of one of the most illustrious playing careers in British football. Striker Mark Hughes, 39 later this year, hung up his boots after a playing career spanning 22 years that had yielded two league titles, four FA Cups, a Cup Winners' Cup and three League Cups.

Bolton Wanderers

Three wins from their first three Premiership games put newly-promoted Bolton on top of the table, and manager Sam Allardyce was boasting (tongue-in-cheek) that his side were capable of winning their first-ever league title. But the strong start to the season was not followed up, and in the end they finished 16th - just enough to avoid relegation.

Charlton Athletic

Despite being without several key players for long periods of time due to injury, Charlton did well in their 11th season under the management of Alan Curbishley. They were in with a real chance of UEFA Cup qualification as late as March, but a failure to win any of their final 10 league games dragged them down to 14th.

Chelsea

Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri was contreversial in his summer spending, in an attempt to reduce the average age of the squad, he showed the door to many abiet ageing Chelsea favorites, including 33 year old midfielder Gus Poyet who joined Tottenham, and was replaced by West Ham Uniteds promising young England midfielder Frank Lampard for £11 million, many fans and pundits thought this was a dangerous price for a player that was just 22 years of age, but Ranieri`s decision would become well justified in the future. French World Cup winner Frank Leboeuf was sold to Olympique de Marseille in a swap deal that saw 23 year old French Defender William Gallas come to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea Fans were deeply upset when their beloved captain Dennis Wise was sold to Leicester City, many other senior players were dropped to the bench in favor of younger fringe players, 27 year old Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini had proved himself to be a solid keeper, and forced Ed de Goey onto the bench, and eventually the reserves. Chelsea were a more than competent force in the Premiership during the 2001–02 season, but few people ever rated them as serious title challengers. Their best hope of success came in the FA Cup, where they reached the final but had their chances of silverware finished by a 2–0 win for Arsenal.

Derby County

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 Third Round 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 savour. But seven defeats from their final eight games condemned Derby to relegation.

Everton

The Everton directors finally lost patience with Walter Smith when they sacked him on 13 March. Preston boss David Moyes was named as his successor, and did a good job of steering Everton clear of the drop zone - though they finished 15th in the table. Fallen icon Paul Gascoigne was one of the first players to head for the exit door at Goodison Park following the transition, signing for Burnley on transfer deadline day.

Fulham

Fulham's return to the top flight after a 33-year exile saw chairman Mohammed Al Fayed boasting that his team could win the Premiership title. But a hefty outlay on foreign stars including Steve Marlet and Edwin Van Der Sar failed to bring anything more than a 13th place finish in the final table, and an FA Cup exit in the semi-finals put paid to any chances they may have had of qualifying for the UEFA Cup. Speculation that Al Fayed would be signing England captain David Beckham quickly fizzled out, as Fulham failed to achieve anywhere near as much as most people had expected them to, though they had guaranteed European football through application of the Intertoto Cup, which they went on to win in the summer.

Ipswich Town

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. 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 had attained UEFA Cup qualification via UEFA's fair play league.

Leeds United

Leeds topped the Premiership for much of the first half of the season, but they gradually fell out of touch during the final weeks and ended up finishing fifth - having to settle for another UEFA Cup campaign. This was despite the wealth of options available to manager David O'Leary who at several points in the season had several international class players on the bench or in the stands - for example Robbie Keane who despite his talent in front of goal was used sparingly. Some contribute their downfall to their FA Cup Third Round exit at Ninian Park. Table topping Leeds played Cardiff City who were mid table in Division 2 but suffered a 2–1 defeat with goals from Graham Kavanagh and Scott Young. Leeds did not look like the same team after this. After the end of the season, chairman Peter Ridsdale decided that enough was enough and sacked manager David O'Leary after four years and tens of millions of pounds in new signings had failed to translate into silverware. Many also link the infamous book - "Leeds United: On Trial", written by O'Leary himself - as destroying morale in the dressing-room and accelerating his departure from the club. In came former England manager Terry Venables as his successor. Harry Kewell scored and assisted in some crucial games of the season.

Plans were unveiled on 5 September for a new 50,000-seat stadium at Skelton to replace Elland Road, with chairman Peter Ridsdale hoping to have it ready by the summer of 2004. In fact, Ridsdale was aware that millions of pounds had been staked on CL qualification - by not qualifying in successive years, the club was heading for financial meltdown.

Leicester City

A terrible start to the season saw Peter Taylor sacked at the end of September and Dave Bassett named as his replacement, with Micky Adams joining as assistant manager. For a while, it looked as though Bassett was capable of keeping the Foxes in the Premiership, but a four-month winless run beginning in December killed their survival hopes and they were relegated on 6 April after losing 1–0 at home to Manchester United.

Just before relegation was confirmed, Bassett became Director of Football and Adams was promoted to the manager's seat, with former Cardiff boss Alan Cork being named as his assistant.

On 12 May 2002, Leicester playing their final game at Filbert Street before moving into their new 32,000-seat home. They ended up beating Tottenham 2–1 to attain some satisfaction from winning the final game at their 111-year-old home. It was only their fifth league win of the season, and the cost of relocation combined with the money lost from relegation has plunged Leicester into a serious financial crisis. The priority for next season will be to secure the club's future financially, before thinking about a promotion challenge.

Middlesbrough

A slow start to the season - and Steve McClaren's management career - suggested that Boro were in for another season of relegation struggle. But they progressed well during the second half of the campaign, and a top-10 finish looked within their reach. They also challenged in the FA Cup, reaching the semi-final before their dream was ended by Arsenal. This was followed by a succession of four Premiership defeats that put paid to their hopes of a top-10 finish and dragged them down to 12th - but it was an improvement on last season's 14th place finish.

Newcastle United

Sir Bobby Robson felt that his side could aim for eighth place in the final table as the season began, but they were soon looking like unlikely contenders for the Premiership title. This brought renewed hope for the club after four seasons of struggle, though in the end they couldn't quite win the title that they have coveted since 1927. But a fourth place finish was their highest since 1997, and brought them Champions League football for only the second time in their history.

Southampton

The move to St Mary's Stadium was seen as the way forward for Southampton Football Club after 103 years at the dilapidated Dell. But a terrible start to the season saw relegation looking certain, and cost manager Stuart Gray his job after barely six months in charge. His successor was Gordon Strachan, who had just left Coventry a short time after their relegation. Strachan quickly turned Southampton's fortunes round, and they gradually climbed to a secure 11th place in the final table.

The end of 2001-02 also marked the end of Matthew Le Tissier's playing career. "Le God" decided to hang up his boots after 16 years firing in goals for the Saints, but he will remain at the club as a coach.

Sunderland

A shortage of goals hindered Sunderland's progress after two successive seventh-placed finishes, and a season that many people had envisaged as a chase for Europe ended up being a battle against relegation. Luckily, they put their survival beyond all doubt on the final day of the season with a draw against already-doomed Derby. There were continued chants of "Reid out" on the Stadium of Light terraces for the final weeks of the campaign, and Reid responded by delving into the transfer market and signing Marcus Stewart and Tore Andre Flo to bolster his attack for next season.

Tottenham Hotspur

Glenn Hoddle's return to White Hart Lane as manager was seen by many as the revival of Tottenham after many seasons of mediocrity. An early lead in Worthington Cup Final saw Spurs fans filled with hope that Hoddle's comeback would result in instant success, but Blackburn then turned the tables to win 2–1 and Tottenham's silverware bid was ended. Unremarkable Premiership form ended their UEFA Cup hopes and they had to settle for ninth place in the final table.

West Ham United

The knives were out for Glenn Roeder after a dismal start to the season left the inexperienced manager's West Ham side in danger of relegation. But an impressive run of form during the second half of the season saw them climb to seventh and head the teams who had failed to qualify for Europe - though they were still 12 points behind the sixth-placed side, and were left wondering what they might have achieved had they performed well all season.

Season statistics

Top scorers

Rank Scorer Club Goals
1 France Thierry Henry Arsenal 24
2 Netherlands Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea 23
Netherlands Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United 23
England Alan Shearer Newcastle United 23
5 England Michael Owen Liverpool 19
6 Norway Ole Gunnar Solskjær Manchester United 17
7 Iceland Eiður Guðjohnsen Chelsea 14
Latvia Marian Pahars Southampton 14
9 England Andrew Cole Manchester United 13
10 Sweden Fredrik Ljungberg Arsenal 12
England Darius Vassell Aston Villa 12

See also

References

  1. ^ Houllier back in training BBC Sport. URL accessed on 17 November 2001

External links

Biggest Home Win: Blackburn Rovers 7–1 West Ham United
Biggest Away Win: Ipswich Town 0–6 Liverpool
Most Goals: Tottenham 3–5 Manchester United – 8
Total Goals: 1,000
Average Goals per game: 2.6
Longest Winning Run Arsenal – 14
Longest Unbeaten Run: Arsenal – '
Longest Losing Run: Derby County – 7
Highest Attendance: Manchester United v Middlesbrough (67,683)
Lowest Attendance: Leicester City v Middlesbrough (15,412)
Average Attendance: 34,249

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