2000–01 in English football


2000–01 in English football

The 2000-01 season was the 121st season of competitive football in England.

Overview

Manchester United secured their 3rd Premiership title in succession and their 7th title in just nine seasons. Liverpool became only the second English side to win the League Cup and FA Cup in the same season and added the UEFA Cup to make it a unique 'treble'.

Fulham reached the Premiership as Division One champions to secure their five-season rise from Division Three. They also became the first club to have played in all four divisions of the English league since the creation of the Premiership.

Arguably two of the most famous clubs outside the Premiership fell into Division Three. They were Luton Town - who had been League Cup winners 13 years earlier and top division members until 9 years ago - and Oxford United - who had been League Cup winners 15 years earlier and top division members until 13 years ago.

Mid-table Division Two side Wycombe Wanderers beat all odds by reaching the FA Cup Semi-Final versus Liverpool, having beaten Division One sides Millwall, Wolves, Wimbledon and a very strong Premiership Leicester City en route. Wycombe were beaten 2-1 at Villa Park, Keith Ryan scoring the Chairboys' goal.

uccessful managers

George Burley guided newly promoted Ipswich Town to fifth place in the Premiership and achieved qualification for the UEFA Cup.

Gerard Houllier won a treble of trophies with Liverpool after they triumphed in the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup.

Sir Alex Ferguson became the first manager in English football to win three successive league titles after Manchester United (only the fourth team in history to win three straight titles) topped the Premiership's final table for the third year in a row.

Alan Curbishley consolidated newly-promoted Charlton Athletic in the Premiership with a ninth-place finish - their highest standing for nearly 50 years.

Jean Tigana won the Division One title with Fulham to gain promotion to the Premiership and end their 33-year exile from the top flight of English football.

Mark McGhee enjoyed success in his first season as Millwall manager by guiding them to the Division Two title.

Ronnie Moore surprised all the observers by winning a second successive promotion with Rotherham United, who were this time elevated into Division One.

Ray Graydon won his second promotion in three years with Walsall, who triumphed in the Division Two playoffs.

Micky Adams gave Brighton their most successful season for years as they ended the campaign as Division Three champions.

Brian Talbot took Rushden & Diamonds (founded just 9 years ago) into the Football League as Conference champions.

uccessful players

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Chelsea's record signing at £15million, topped the Premiership goalscoring charts with 23 goals.

Marcus Stewart was the Premiership's second-highest goalscorer with 19 goals for newly promoted Ipswich Town, who qualified for the UEFA Cup.

Teddy Sheringham, 35, was voted Player of the Year by both the PFA and FWA after helping Manchester United win their third successive Premiership title.

Michael Owen helped Liverpool end their six-year trophy drought after his prolific goalscoring helped them win a treble of the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup.

Steven Gerrard was voted PFA Young Player of the Year as well as winning three major trophies in a single season with Liverpool.

Young French striker Louis Saha was arguably the hottest prospect outside the Premiership after his goals helped Fulham win the Division One title to end their 33-year exile from the top flight.

Veteran striker Mark Hughes, 37, helped Blackburn Rovers return to the Premiership two years after they went down.

Jamie Cureton was Division Two's top goalscorer with 27 strikes for Reading.

Bobby Zamora established himself as one of the Football League's top marksmen after helping Brighton & Hove Albion win the Division Three title.

Jermain Defoe, aged 19 and on loan to Bournemouth from West Ham United, scored in 10 successive Division Two games while on loan at the Dean Court side.

Events

wede Eriksson is England's first foreign coach

With pressure building up on him following England's dismal Euro 2000 campaign, Kevin Keegan resigned as manager of England's national team minutes after a 1-0 defeat to Germany in the opening World Cup qualifying game. The match, played October 7, 2000, was also the last played at Wembley Stadium. Howard Wilkinson and Peter Taylor each had one-match stints as caretaker manager before Sven-Göran Eriksson accepted the F.A's offer to become the new national coach. Former Lazio coach Eriksson, 52, was the first foreigner to be appointed coach of the England national team. His first match in charge was a 3-0 win over Spain on February 28. England would go on to win their first five matches with Eriksson in charge and all the critics who were opposed to Eriksson being appointed looked to have made a major misjudgement.

Houllier delivers three for Liverpool

Liverpool captured the 2001 UEFA Cup on 16th May with a 5-4 win over Alavés. The game was won in the 116th minute by golden goal, and it completed a triplet of trophies for Liverpool which ended their six-year trophy drought as well as delivering their first trophies under Houllier's management. The League Cup had already been won with a penalty shoot-out triumph over Birmingham City in the first English final at the Millennium Stadium, and the FA Cup was secured after a dramatic 2-1 win over Arsenal in which Michael Owen scored two late goals after Freddie Ljungberg had put Arsenal ahead.

ir Alex makes history with United

Sir Alex Ferguson became the first manager in English football to win three successive league titles after Manchester United were crowned Premiership champions for the third season running. Their title was secured with 80 points and a 10-point gap between themselves and runners-up Arsenal. Most bookmakers had closed their books before the turn of the New Year and admitted that United were certain of their seventh Premiership title in nine seasons. A 6-1 demolition of Arsenal in late February crushed any lingering doubts over the title's destiny.

United were not the first team to win three straight league titles. Huddersfield Town, Arsenal and Liverpool had all done it before, but with managerial changes in between.

Fulham back in the big time

Fulham won the Division One title to end their 33-year absence from the top flight. The key men in this success were money-spinning chairman Mohamed al Fayed, enthusiastic manager Jean Tigana and free scoring striker Louis Saha.

Fulham's return to the top flight of English football came four years after they had won promotion from Division Three and been taken over by al Fayed in a £30million deal. With his target of Premiership football finally achieved, al Fayed was now determined to turn Fulham into the 'Manchester United of the South'.

Burley clinches Manager of the Year award

Despite Sir Alex Ferguson won a third successive Premiership title with Manchester United and Gerard Houllier's success in cup competitions, Ipswich Town's George Burley received the Manager of the Year award.

Burley, 45, had been at Portman Road since December 1994, when he took over from John Lyall at an Ipswich side rooted to the foot of the Premiership. He was unable to save them from the drop but quickly put together a new team in hope of getting Ipswich back in the elite of English football. They endured three successive playoff failures before winning the Division One playoff final in 2000 and ending a five-year exile from the Premiership.

Most people had tipped Ipswich to go straight back down in 2000-01, but they spent most of the season in the top five and finished fifth to claim a UEFA Cup place - their first foray in Europe for 20 years.

United's record breaking summer

After the end of the 2000-01 season, Sir Alex Ferguson began a summer of heavy spending. Before the season was over he had agreed an English record fee of £19million with PSV Eindhoven for Ruud van Nistelrooy, the 25-year-old Dutch striker who had agreed to sign for United a year earlier, but his original move was scrapped after he suffered a serious knee injury. Then, on 12th July, Sir Alex broke the English transfer fee record again. This time he brought in Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastián Verón, 26, from Lazio in a £28.1million deal.

Basement battle for survival

At the bottom of The Football League, the battle for survival went to the very last day of the season, with the bottom two sides Torquay United and Barnet playing each other at Barnet's Underhill Ground. Both teams knew that if they lost they would be relegated to the Conference. Torquay were 3-0 up at half-time, but Barnet, playing 5 up front for periods of the second half scored twice to keep the tension levels high until the end of the game. It finished 3-2 to Torquay and Barnet lost their league place.

Honours

Leading goalscorer: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Chelsea), 23

Football League First Division

Under the management of Jean Tigana, and with several big-money signings, Fulham won the division easily. Blackburn managed to edge close rivals Bolton to the automatic promotion spot; their rivalry would continue the following season though, as Bolton beat Preston (another set of close rivals) in the playoffs.

Tranmere's recent cup successes failed to translate into league form, and they finished bottom, just behind Queens Park Rangers, who fell into the third tier for the first time in nearly four decades. An unlikely series of results in the final few weeks sent Huddersfield down to Division Two, when they had looked safe at the start of April.

Leading goalscorer: Louis Saha (Fulham), 27

"See also: Play-off results"

Football League Second Division

Millwall, who had failed to impress since relegation from the First Division in 1996, finally secured promotion as divisional champions. Making perhaps bigger headlines were unfashionable Rotherham, who instead of struggling as the pundits predicted, took the second automatic promotion spot, pushing Millwall perilously close for the title. Walsall recovered from the previous year's last-day relegation and won the playoffs.

Oxford finished bottom of the table by some distance, never looking as if they would survive and setting a number of unwanted records for the division. Swansea - who had beaten Rotherham to the Division Three title the previous season - proved almost as bad as Oxford, with their survival hopes being little better. Much was expected of Luton following massive pre-season overhauls both and off the pitch; unfortunately their season ended in crushing disappointment, and relegation. Bristol Rovers occupied the final relegation spot, entering the League's bottom tier for the first time in their history.

P W D L F A GD Pts 1 Millwall 46 28 9 9 89 38 +51 93 2 Rotherham United 46 27 10 9 79 55 +24 91 3 Reading 46 25 11 10 86 52 +34 86 4 Walsall 46 23 12 11 79 50 +29 81 5 Stoke City 46 21 14 11 74 49 +25 77 6 Wigan Athletic 46 19 18 9 53 42 +11 75 7 AFC Bournemouth 46 20 13 13 79 55 +22 73 8 Notts County 46 19 12 15 62 66 -4 69 9 Bristol City 46 18 14 14 70 56 +14 68 10 Wrexham 46 17 12 17 65 71 -6 63 11 Port Vale 46 16 14 16 55 49 +6 62 12 Peterborough United 46 15 14 17 61 66 -5 59 13 Wycombe Wanderers 46 15 14 17 46 53 -7 59 14 Brentford 46 14 17 15 56 70 -14 59 15 Oldham Athletic 46 15 13 18 53 65 -12 58 16 Bury 46 16 10 20 45 59 -14 58 17 Colchester United 46 15 12 19 55 59 -4 57 18 Northampton Town 46 15 12 19 46 59 -13 57 19 Cambridge United 46 14 11 21 61 77 -16 53 20 Swindon Town 46 13 13 20 47 65 -18 52 21 Bristol Rovers 46 12 15 19 53 57 -4 51 22 Luton Town 46 9 13 24 52 80 -28 40 23 Swansea City 46 8 13 25 47 73 -26 37 24 Oxford United 46 7 6 33 53 100 -47 27

Leading goalscorer: Jamie Cureton (Reading), 27

Football League Third Division

After their financial nightmares and near-relegations of the previous years, Brighton finally started making serious progress, as they won the title. Chesterfield would have taken the runners-up spot; however, financial irregularities resulted in a 9 point deduction, handing their spot to Cardiff instead, though Chesterfield still took the final automatic promotion spot. Blackpool sneaked into the playoffs near the end of the season, then proceeded to win them, ensuring that their spell in Division Three was a short one.

A number of teams were threatened with relegation during the course of the season. In the end though, Barnet - who moved long-serving manager John Still upstairs to make way for the higher-profile appointment of Tony Cottee early in the season - suffered a stunning collapse after a bright start, leading to a "winner takes all" match with Torquay on the final day of the season. Torquay won the match and ensured League survival, while Barnet returned to the Conference after a decade.

P W D L F A GD Pts 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 46 28 8 10 73 35 +38 92 2 Cardiff City 46 23 13 10 95 58 +37 82 3 Chesterfield* 46 25 14 7 79 42 +37 80 4 Hartlepool United 46 21 14 11 71 54 +17 77 5 Leyton Orient 46 20 15 11 59 51 +8 75 6 Hull City 46 19 17 10 47 39 +8 74 7 Blackpool 46 22 6 18 74 58 +16 72 8 Rochdale 46 18 17 11 59 48 +11 71 9 Cheltenham Town 46 18 14 14 59 52 +7 68 10 Scunthorpe United 46 18 11 17 62 52 +10 65 11 Southend United 46 15 18 13 55 53 +2 63 12 Plymouth Argyle 46 15 13 18 54 61 -7 58 13 Mansfield Town 46 15 13 18 64 72 -8 58 14 Macclesfield Town 46 14 14 18 51 62 -11 56 15 Shrewsbury Town 46 15 10 21 49 65 -16 55 16 Kidderminster Harriers 46 13 14 19 47 61 -14 53 17 York City 46 13 13 20 42 63 -21 52 18 Lincoln City 46 12 15 19 58 66 -8 51 19 Exeter City 46 12 14 20 40 58 -18 50 20 Darlington 46 12 13 21 44 56 -12 49 21 Torquay United 46 12 13 21 52 77 -25 49 22 Carlisle United 46 11 15 20 42 65 -23 48 23 Hereford United 46 12 11 23 54 68 -14 47 24 Barnet 46 12 9 25 67 81 -14 45

Leading goalscorer: Bobby Zamora (Brighton & Hove Albion), 28

" * = Chesterfield deducted 9 points for financial irregularites.

Diary of the season

* 3 July 2000: The News of the World reports that Kevin Keegan has resigned as England national coach, but the reports are swiftly denied. Meanwhile, Terry Venables (who was in charge from 1994 to 1996) insists that he is not interesting in becoming national coach if Keegan departs.

* 17 July 2000: Former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne, 32, signs for Everton on a free transfer from Middlesbrough.

* 24 July 2000: Leicester City pay £5million for Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Ade Akinbiyi.

* 13 August 2000: Chelsea defeat Manchester United to win the Charity Shield in the last-ever club game at Wembley Stadium before it is closed for reconstruction.

* 10 September 2000 : Luc Nilis, Aston Villa's 33-year-old Dutch striker, suffers a badly broken leg in his third fixture for the club and the injury is reported as likely to end his career.

* 12 September 2000: Gianluca Vialli is sacked after two-and-a-half years in charge of Chelsea, during which time he won the FA Cup, League Cup, European Cup Winners Cup, Charity Shield and European Super Cup.

* 15 September 2000: Chelsea name Italian Claudio Ranieri as their new manager.

* 30 September 2000: Rumours are circulating that Aston Villa are about to buy back Dwight Yorke from Manchester United, two years after he left them in a £12.6million deal.

* 1 October 2000 - Leicester City go top of the Premier League at the expense of Manchester United. It is the first time since the 1963-64 season that Leicester have been top of the English league.

* 7 October 2000: After 77 years, Wembley Stadium closes its doors for the last time in order to allow a complete reconstruction which should be finished in 2003. The final game at the old stadium is England's first qualifying game for the 2002 World Cup. They lost 1-0 to Germany and manager Kevin Keegan resigns after 18 months at the helm.

* 14 October 2000: Leicester City surrender their lead of the Premier League with a defeat at Manchester United, who take over at the top.

* 30 October 2000: Lazio's Swedish coach Sven-Göran Eriksson accepts the Football Association's offer to take charge of the England team from next summer.

* 23 November 2000: Leeds United break the English transfer fee record by paying £18million for West Ham United centre-back Rio Ferdinand, while Chelsea's £12million sale of Tore Andre Flo to Glasgow Rangers breaks the Scottish record.

* 1 December 2000: Middlesbrough withdraw an offer to Terry Venables for him to become the club's first-team coach.

* 6 December 2000: Five days after withdrawing their offer for him to become first-team coach, Middlesbrough unveil Terry Venables as first-team coach to work alongside manager Bryan Robson, who had been his assistant with the England team from 1994 to 1996.

* 14 December 2000: West Ham United fail in a £10million bid for Coventry City striker Robbie Keane. Had the deal been completed, Keane would have been West Ham's most expensive signing ever.

* 22 December 2000: Recent calls for standing accommodation to be relegalised at Premier League grounds are blasted by relatives of some the 96 people killed in the Hillsborough disaster, the 1989 tragedy which led to standing accommodation being banned from all top division grounds by 1994.

* 24 January 2001: Luc Nilis announces his retirement from playing, four months after suffering a badly broken leg in a Premier League fixture for Aston Villa.

* 18 December 2000: Dave Bassett resigns as manager of Barnsley, who are battling relegation in Division One just seven months after narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier League.

* 21 December 2000 - Alan Sugar, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur since 1991, announces his decision to sell the club. Meanwhile, Division One leaders Fulham are rumoured to be making an £8million bid to Barcelona for the former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit.

* 9 January 2001: Sven-Göran Eriksson resigns as Lazio manager and frees himself to take charge of the England team six months earlier than planned.

* 25 February 2001: After a 1-1 draw in open play at the Millennium Stadium, Liverpool become the first English team to win a major trophy on penalties after they achieved a shoot-out victory over Birmingham City in the League Cup final - their sixth success in the competition.

* 27 February 2001: Stan Cullis, who took charge of the great postwar Wolverhampton Wanderers side that won three league titles and two FA Cups, dies in Worcestershire at the age of 85.

* 29 March 2001: Glenn Hoddle resigns as Southampton manager to take over at Tottenham Hotspur after the dismissal of George Graham, who had breached the terms of his contract.

* 31 March 2001: Former Arsenal and England midfielder David Rocastle dies of cancer aged 33.

* 14 April 2001: Manchester United clinch their seventh Premiership title in nine seasons with a 4-2 win over relegation-threatened Coventry City.

* 5 May 2001: Coventry City lost 3-2 at Aston Villa and are relegated from the Premiership after 34 years in the top flight.

* 12 May 2001: Liverpool clinch the FA Cup by defeating Arsenal 2-1 thanks to a late double from Michael Owen. It is their sixth FA Cup triumph to date, but their first since 1992.

* 16 May 2001: Liverpool yield their third trophy of the season by defeating Spanish side Alaves 5-4 in the UEFA Cup final. It is the third time they have won the trophy, and the second time they have won three major trophies in one season (the first was in 1984).

* 19 May 2001: The Premiership season ends with champions Manchester United, runners-up Arsenal and third-placed Liverpool qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, with the UEFA Cup places going to Leeds United, Ipswich Town and Chelsea. The relegated teams are Manchester City, Coventry City and Bradford City.

* 24 May 2001: Seven months after quitting as England manager, Kevin Keegan makes a return to football when he is named as Joe Royle's successor at Manchester City on a three-year contract.

* 28 May 2001: Bolton Wanderers beat Preston North End 3-0 in the Division One playoff final to join champions Fulham and runners-up Blackburn Rovers in the Premiership.

* 5 June 2001: Bryan Robson resigns after seven years as manager of Middlesbrough.

* 12 June 2001: One week after the resignation of Bryan Robson as manager, Terry Venables steps down as Middlesbrough's first-team coach. The new Middlesbrough manager is Steve McClaren, formerly assistant manager of Manchester United.

* 18 June 2001: Youth team coach Glenn Roeder is named as West Ham United's new manager.

European qualifiers

UEFA Champions League

Group phase

*Manchester United
*Arsenal

Qualifying round

*Liverpool

UEFA Cup

*Leeds United
*Ipswich Town
*Chelsea

Promoted teams

"From Division One to the Premier League:":Fulham:Blackburn Rovers:Bolton Wanderers

"From Division Two to Division One:":Millwall:Rotherham United:Walsall

"From Division Three to Division Two:":Brighton & Hove Albion:Cardiff City:Chesterfield:Blackpool

"From The Football Conference to Division Three:":Rushden & Diamonds

Relegated teams

"From the Premier League to Division One:":Manchester City:Coventry City:Bradford City

"From Division One to Division Two:":Huddersfield Town:Queens Park Rangers:Tranmere Rovers

"From Division Two to Division Three:":Bristol Rovers:Luton Town:Swansea City:Oxford United

"From Division Three to The Football Conference:":Barnet

Major Transfer deals

2000

*July 3 - Robert Pirès from Marseille to Arsenal, £6m
*July 3 - Carlo Cudicini from Castel di Sangro to Chelsea
*July 17 - Paul Gascoigne from Middlesbrough to Everton, free
*July 18 - Nick Barmby from Everton to Liverpool, £6m
*July 21 - Mark Viduka from Celtic to Leeds United, £6m
*July 25 - Julio Arca from Argentinos Juniors to Sunderland, £3.5m
*July 28 - Alpay from Fenerbahçe to Aston Villa, £5.6m
*August 17 - Craig Bellamy from Norwich City to Coventry City, £6.5m
*August 25 - Christian Ziege from Middlesbrough to Liverpool, £5.5m
*August 26 - Sylvain Wiltord from Bordeaux to Arsenal, £13m
*September 20 - Ugo Ehiogu from Aston Villa to Middlesbrough, £8m
*October 26 - Rio Ferdinand from West Ham United to Leeds United, £18m
*December 7 - Igor Bišćan from Dinamo Zagreb to Liverpool, £5.5m
*December 29 - Jesper Grønkjær from Ajax to Chelsea, £7.8m

2001

*January 13 - Juan Pablo Ángel from River Plate to Aston Villa, £9.5m
*January 16 - Edu from Corinthians to Arsenal, £6m
*May 21 - Robbie Keane from Inter to Leeds United, £12m
*June 14 - Frank Lampard from West Ham United to Chelsea, £11m
*June 17 - Corrado Grabbi from Ternana to Blackburn, £6.75m

Famous Debutants

* After failing to break into the Tottenham Hotspur side, Peter Crouch, 19, makes his league debut for new club Queen's Park Rangers in a goalless draw with Birmingham City on the opening day of the season.
* The same weekend sees future England team-mate Joleon Lescott, play for Wolverhampton Wanderers in their draw with Sheffield Wednesday shortly before his 18th birthday.
* 17-year old Jermain Defoe scores the only goal of the game as West Ham United win 1-0 at Walsall in the Football League Cup in August 2000.

Deaths

*Stan Cullis, 85, manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers from 1947 to 1964, having previously been on the club's playing staff. Won three league championships and two FA Cups. Was Birmingham City manager from 1965 until 1970. During the early 1990s redevelopment of the Molineux, a new stand was named in honour of Stan Cullis.
*David Rocastle, 33, who won two league championships and one League Cup with Arsenal (where he played from 1983 until 1992), died of cancer. He played 14 times for England without scoring, but was never on the losing side. He later played for Leeds United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Norwich City, Hull City and Malaysian side Selangor before retiring in 1999. His nine-year-old son Ryan was Arsenal's mascot at the FA Cup final just six weeks after Rocastle senior's death.
*George Armstrong, 56, died of a stroke at Arsenal's training ground where he had been coaching the club's reserve side. He had been a key player in their 1971 double triumph.
*Maurice Evans, 63, died of a heart attack. He had managed Reading to the Fourth Division championship in 1979 and most famously took charge of Oxford United during their three-year spell in the top flight (1985-88). Guided them to League Cup glory in 1986. Was sacked in March 1988 as they were heading for relegation to the Second Division, but was later employed at the club as caretaker manager (during the autumn of 1993) and then as Director of Football.
*Joe Fagan, 80, was a long-serving coach at Liverpool when he succeeded Bob Paisley as manager in 1983. In his first season they won a unique treble of the league championship, League Cup and European Cup, but his last season ended trophyless after they lost 1-0 to Juventus in the European Cup final at Heysel - the infamous game at which the Heysel Stadium disaster claimed the lives of 39 spectators.
*Cliff Sear, 63, took much of the credit for helping develop the career of Ian Rush from his work with the Chester youth set-up in the late 1970s. His 19-year association with Chester (1968-87) also included a spells as manager and player. The former Welsh international had earlier played for Manchester City and later worked for Wrexham.


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