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2002–03 Football League

The Football League
Season 2002–03
Champions Portsmouth
Promoted Portsmouth
Leicester City
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Relegated Shrewsbury Town
Exeter City
2001–02
2003–04

The 2002–03 Football League (known as the Nationwide Football League for sponsorship reasons) was the 104th completed season of The Football League.

Portsmouth won the First Division by some distance, passing manager Harry Redknapp’s old club, West Ham on the way down. Leicester City earned a somewhat controversial promotion, as administration and a Creditor’s Voluntary Agreement wrote off much of their debt. Partly as a result of this, the League would introduce a ten point deduction for any teams going into administration from the next season onwards. The play-offs were won by Wolves, returning to the top flight after nearly 20 years and finally allowing owner Sir Jack Hayward to see the return he wanted on his years of investment.

Grimsby Town were relegated, after struggling in the division for five years on extremely limited resources. Both Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday suffered awful starts to the season (Brighton managing only a single win from their first sixteen matches), and despite good runs of form late in the season, neither were able to survive.

Wigan won their first-ever promotion beyond the Second Division, helped by considerable investment in the team. Crewe Alexandra managed a promotion on considerably less resources, while play-off winners Cardiff City were another big-spending team that were able to earn promotion.

An ill-advised managerial change mid-season helped send Northampton down. Mansfield Town’s first season out of the bottom division in over a decade ended as their previous spell had; with immediate relegation. Huddersfield started badly, and a financial crisis later in the season helped condemn them to relegation, only three years after they looked Premiership-bound. Cheltenham came close to survival, but a defeat on the final day of the season saw them return to the Third Division.

Rushden & Diamonds continued their meteoric rise, winning the Third Division title. They were helped in no small part by runners-up Hartlepool suffering a shocking late-season collapse, which cost them the title and manager Mike Newell his job. Wrexham took the last automatic promotion spot and bounced back from the previous season’s relegation, as did play-off winners Bournemouth.

A shock FA Cup victory over Everton did little to help Shrewsbury, and they finished bottom of the League. Exeter City were bought out pre-season in a high-profile takeover spearheaded by Uri Geller; unfortunately, Geller’s associates proceeded to asset-strip the club, and despite a late-season run of form, Exeter fell victim to the first-ever dual relegation from the League.

Contents

  • Final league tables and results 1
  • First Division 2
    • First Division play-offs 2.1
    • First Division maps 2.2
  • Second Division 3
    • Second Division play-offs 3.1
    • Second Division maps 3.2
  • Third Division 4
    • Third Division play-offs 4.1
    • Third Division maps 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Final league tables and results

The tables and results below are reproduced here in the exact form that they can be found at The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation website,[1] with home and away statistics separated. Play-off results are from the same website.

First Division

Football League, First Division
Season 2002–03
Champions Portsmouth (1st second tier title)
Direct promotion to FA Premier League Portsmouth,
Leicester City
Promoted to FA Premier League through play-offs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Relegated Brighton & Hove Albion,
Grimsby Town,
Sheffield Wednesday
Matches played 552
Goals scored 1512 (2.74 per match)
Top goalscorer Svetoslav Todorov (Portsmouth), 26 [2]
2001–02
2003–04
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GD Pts Notes
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

First Division play-offs

  Semifinals
1st leg – 10 May; 2nd leg – 14/15 May 2003
Final at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
26 May 2003
                     
3rd  Sheffield United 1 4 5  
6th  Nottingham Forest 1 3 4  
    3rd  Sheffield United 0
  5th  Wolverhampton Wanderers 3
4th  Reading 1 0 1
5th  Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 1 3  

[1]

First Division maps

Locations of the Football League First Division London teams 2002–2003

Second Division

Football League, Second Division
Season 2002–03
Champions Wigan Athletic (2nd third tier title)
Direct promotion Wigan Athletic,
Crewe Alexandra
Promoted through play-offs Cardiff City
Relegated Cheltenham Town,
Huddersfield Town,
Mansfield Town,
Northampton Town
Matches played 552
Goals scored 1421 (2.57 per match)
Top goalscorer Robert Earnshaw (Cardiff City), 31 [2]
2001–02
2003–04
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GD Pts Notes
1 Wigan Athletic 46 14 7 2 37 16 15 6 2 31 9 68 25 +43 100
2 Crewe Alexandra 46 11 5 7 29 19 14 6 3 47 21 76 40 +36 86
3 Bristol City 46 15 5 3 43 15 9 6 8 36 33 79 48 +31 83
4 Queens Park Rangers 46 14 4 5 38 19 10 7 6 31 26 69 45 +24 83
5 Oldham Athletic 46 11 6 6 39 18 11 10 2 29 20 68 38 +30 82
6 Cardiff City 46 12 6 5 33 20 11 6 6 35 23 68 43 +25 81
7 Tranmere Rovers 46 14 5 4 38 23 9 6 8 28 34 66 57 +9 80
8 Plymouth Argyle 46 11 6 6 39 24 6 8 9 24 28 63 52 +11 65
9 Luton Town 46 8 8 7 32 28 9 6 8 35 34 67 62 +5 65
10 Swindon Town 46 10 5 8 34 27 6 7 10 25 36 59 63 –4 60
11 Peterborough United 46 8 7 8 25 20 6 9 8 26 34 51 54 –3 58
12 Colchester United 46 8 7 8 24 24 6 9 8 28 32 52 56 –4 58
13 Blackpool 46 10 8 5 35 25 5 5 13 21 39 56 64 –8 58
14 Stockport County 46 8 8 7 39 38 7 2 14 26 32 65 70 –5 55
15 Notts County 46 10 7 6 37 32 3 9 11 25 38 62 70 –8 55
16 Brentford 46 8 8 7 28 21 6 4 13 19 35 47 56 –9 54
17 Port Vale 46 9 5 9 34 31 5 6 12 20 39 54 70 –16 53
18 Wycombe Wanderers 46 8 7 8 39 38 5 6 12 20 28 59 66 –7 52
19 Barnsley 46 7 8 8 27 31 6 5 12 24 33 51 64 –13 52
20 Chesterfield 46 11 4 8 29 28 3 4 16 14 45 43 73 –30 50
21 Cheltenham Town 46 6 9 8 26 31 4 9 10 27 37 53 68 –15 48
22 Huddersfield Town 46 7 9 7 27 24 4 3 16 12 37 39 61 –22 45
23 Mansfield Town 46 9 2 12 38 45 3 6 14 28 52 66 97 –31 44
24 Northampton Town 46 7 4 12 23 31 3 5 15 17 48 40 79 –39 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
Division Champions, promoted
Promoted
Participated in play-offs
Promoted through play-offs
Relegated

Second Division play-offs

  Semifinals
1st leg – 10 May; 2nd leg – 13/14 May 2003
Final at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
28 May 2003
                     
3rd  Bristol City 0 0 0  
6th  Cardiff City 1 0 1  
    4th  Queens Park Rangers 0
  6th  Cardiff City (a.e.t.) 1
4th   Queens Park Rangers 1 1 2
5th  Oldham Athletic 1 0 1  

[1]

Second Division maps

Locations of the Football League Second Division London teams 2002–2003

Third Division

Football League, Third Division
Season 2002–03
Champions Rushden & Diamonds (1st fourth tier title)
Direct promotion Rushden & Diamonds,
Hartlepool United,
Wrexham
Promoted through play-offs Bournemouth
Relegated to Conference Exeter City
Shrewsbury Town
New club in the league Boston United
Matches played 552
Goals scored 1419 (2.57 per match)
Top goalscorer Andy Morrell (Wrexham), 34 [2]
2001–02
2003–04
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GD Pts Notes
1 Rushden & Diamonds 46 16 5 2 48 19 8 10 5 25 28 73 47 +26 87
2 Hartlepool United 46 16 5 2 49 21 8 8 7 22 30 71 51 +20 85
3 Wrexham 46 12 7 4 48 26 11 8 4 36 24 84 50 +34 84
4 Bournemouth 46 14 7 2 38 18 6 7 10 22 30 60 48 +12 74
5 Scunthorpe United 46 11 8 4 40 20 8 7 8 28 29 68 49 +19 72
6 Lincoln City 46 10 9 4 29 18 8 7 8 17 19 46 37 +9 70
7 Bury 46 8 8 7 25 26 10 8 5 32 30 57 56 +1 70
8 Oxford United 46 9 7 7 26 20 10 5 8 31 27 57 47 +10 69
9 Torquay United 46 9 11 3 41 31 7 7 9 30 40 71 71 ±0 66
10 York City 46 11 9 3 34 24 6 6 11 18 29 52 53 –1 66
11 Kidderminster Harriers 46 8 8 7 30 33 8 7 8 32 30 62 63 –1 63
12 Cambridge United 46 10 7 6 38 25 6 6 11 29 45 67 70 –3 61
13 Hull City 46 9 10 4 34 19 5 7 11 24 34 58 53 +5 59
14 Darlington 46 8 10 5 36 27 4 8 11 22 32 58 59 –1 54
15 Boston United [notes 1] 46 11 6 6 34 22 4 7 12 21 34 55 56 –1 54
16 Macclesfield Town 46 8 6 9 29 28 6 6 11 28 35 57 63 –6 54
17 Southend United 46 12 1 10 29 23 5 2 16 18 36 47 59 –12 54
18 Leyton Orient 46 9 6 8 28 24 5 5 13 23 37 51 61 –10 53
19 Rochdale 46 7 6 10 30 30 5 10 8 33 40 63 70 –7 52
20 Bristol Rovers 46 7 7 9 25 27 5 8 10 25 30 50 57 –7 51
21 Swansea City 46 9 6 8 28 25 3 7 13 20 40 48 65 –17 49
22 Carlisle United 46 5 5 13 26 40 8 5 10 26 38 52 78 –26 49
23 Exeter City 46 7 7 9 24 31 4 8 11 26 33 50 64 –14 48
24 Shrewsbury Town 46 5 6 12 34 39 4 8 11 28 53 62 92 –30 41
  • 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).
  1. ^ Boston United had 4 points deducted for on-field brawl.
Key
Division Champions, promoted
Promoted
Participated in play-offs
Promoted through play-offs
New club in the league
Relegated to Conference

Third Division play-offs

  Semifinals
1st leg –10 May; 2nd leg –13/14 May 2003
Final at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
24 May 2003
                     
4th  Bournemouth 0 3 3  
7th  Bury 0 1 1  
    4th  Bournemouth 5
  6th  Lincoln City 2
5th  Scunthorpe United 3 0 3
6th  Lincoln City 5 1 6  

[1]

Third Division maps

Locations of the Football League Third Division London teams 2002–2003

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ a b c
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