- This article describes the FA Premier League 2000-2001 season.
The FA Premier League 2000-01
season was the third season running which ended with Manchester United
as champions and Arsenal
as runners-up. Sir Alex Ferguson
(who had been knighted
in June 1999) became the first manager to win three successive English league titles, although three teams (Arsenal
) had achieved that feat in the past - but with managerial changes in between. Liverpool, meanwhile, managed a unique cup treble - winning the FA Cup
, League Cup
and UEFA Cup
. They also finished third in the Premiership and qualified for the Champions League
; they had not played in the European Cup since the 1985 final at Heysel
in which 39 spectators were killed and were given a six-year ban from European competition.
UEFA Cup places went to Leeds United, Chelsea, Ipswich Town, and Aston Villa, who qualified via the Intertoto Cup. None of the top six clubs in the Premiership had an English manager. The most successful English manager in the 2001-02 Premiership campaign was Peter Reid, whose Sunderland side finished seventh, having spent most of the season challenging for a place in Europe, and briefly occupied second place in the Premiership table.
Despite the success achieved by Sir Alex Ferguson and Gérard Houllier, the Manager of the Year Award went to George Burley. The Ipswich Town manager was in charge of a newly promoted side who began the season as relegation favourites and on a limited budget, guided his team to fifth place in the Premiership final table and a place in the UEFA Cup for the first time in almost 20 years. 2000-01 was perhaps the best season yet for newly promoted teams in the Premiership. Charlton Athletic finished ninth, their highest finish since the 1950s. The only newly promoted team to suffer relegation were Manchester City, who in the space of seven seasons had now been relegated four times and promoted twice. Relegated in bottom place were Bradford City, whose return to the top division after almost 80 years was over after just two seasons. The next relegation place went to Coventry City, who were finally relegated after 34 successive seasons of top division football, which had brought numerous relegation battles and league finishes no higher than sixth place.
During 2000-01, more than half of the English league's 92 clubs underwent at least one managerial change and Premiership clubs also had their fair share of changes.
During the close season, Leicester manager Martin O'Neill had left for Celtic, much to the dismay of the Leicester fans, to be replaced by former Gillingham manager Peter Taylor. As had Bradford City manager Paul Jewell, and his successor Chris Hutchings was dismissed in November to make way for Jim Jeffries. But the change of management was not enough to prevent Bradford from being relegated in bottom place. Joe Royle was sacked as Manchester City manager shortly after they were relegated (in four seasons as manager he had seen the club get relegated to Division Two and then win two successive promotions before finally being relegated from the Premiership again).
George Graham was sacked as Tottenham manager in March despite guiding the club to the FA Cup semi finals, the reason for his dismissal was that he had allegedly breached his contract. He was replaced by Southampton manager Glenn Hoddle, who in turn was replaced by Stuart Gray.
In September, Gianluca Vialli had been sacked as manager of FA Cup winners Chelsea and replaced by another Italian, Claudio Ranieri.
At the end of the season, Bryan Robson resigned after seven years as Middlesbrough manager. He had spent most of the 2000-01 as joint manager in partnership with Terry Venables, who also left the club. Middlesbrough replaced Robson and Venables with Manchester United assistant manager Steve McClaren.
Just before the end of the season, Harry Redknapp left West Ham United under mysterious circumstances after seven years as manager - it was uncertain as to whether he had resigned or been sacked. Redknapp was replaced by first team coach Glenn Roeder, whose two previous brief and unsuccessful spells in management had been in the lower divisions with Gillingham and then Watford.
In November 2000, the English transfer record was broken for the first time in more than four years. The £15million record set when Alan Shearer moved from Blackburn to Newcastle in July 1996 had been equalled in May 2000 when Chelsea paid Atlético Madrid £15million for Dutch striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, but now it was broken when Leeds United paid West Ham £18million for 22-year-old central defender Rio Ferdinand.
Final league table
Final league table for the FA Premier League 2000-01 Season
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points
| Total Goals: || 992 |
| Average Goals per game: || 2.61 |
, for the third year running, came close to success in two major competitions but yet again finished the season without any silverware. By Christmas
, most of the bookmakers had closed the books on them and anyone else catching Manchester United
in the Premiership
title race. When the Gunners were crushed 6-1 at Old Trafford
in late February, just about all of the lingering doubts about the title's destination were crushed, and Arsenal's bid for the title was over by mid April.
But there was still some chance of success. They had just beaten local rivals Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final to book their place in the first final at the Millennium Stadium while Wembley is redeveloped.
Arsenal were also in a race with three or four other teams to secure second place, and in the end they won the race for runners-up spot to complete three successive seasons of finishing second to Manchester United in the league.
On 12 May, Arsenal took an early lead over Liverpool in the FA Cup final thanks to a Freddie Ljungberg goal, and with 5 minutes remaining the trophy was within touching distance. But two late goals from Liverpool's Michael Owen condemned Highbury to a third successive trophyless season.
Another season of decent (but rarely exciting) form saw Villa
secure another top-10 finish, though this time they dipped slightly into eighth place after occupying sixth place a year earlier
. Villa proved themselves as one of the hardest Premiership teams to beat, with only the top three sides suffering fewer defeats than Villa's 10. But a mere 13 wins and a staggering 15 draws ended any hopes of a title bid or even a top-six finish. The arrival of Yugoslav
striker Bosko Balaban
at the end of the season gave fans renewed hope that next season
might deliver more success.
A terrible start to the season saw inexperienced young manager Chris Hutchings
dismissed after 12 games at the helm. In came Scotsman Jim Jefferies
as his successor, but Jefferies could do little to alter Bradford's dismal fortunes and they went down in bottom place with just five Premiership wins all season - equalling Swindon's
record low of Premiership wins which had been set seven years earlier
and his Charlton side
won many admirers after their Division One
title glory gained them promotion back to the Premiership at the first time of asking. This time he kept them there with an excellent ninth place finish and 57 points. They would have finished higher still - and possibly qualified for Europe - had their defence not been the leakiest of any in the top 15 and the sixth leakiest in the division. Still, it was a superb achievement for a side who had been among the favourites of many punters to suffer an immediate return to the Nationwide League
. The arrival of striker Jason Euell
in a club record deal gave fans hope of more success in 2001-02.
A slow start to the season cost manager Gianluca Vialli
his job, despite having won five trophies since his appointment in February 1998. The last of these trophies came at the start of the season, when they defeated Manchester United 2-0 in the Charity Shield
to win the last-ever club game at the pre-redevelopment Wembley.
Vialli's successor was Claudio Ranieri, who guided the club to sixth place in the final table and attained automatic qualification for the UEFA Cup.
The biggest success of the season was the effectiveness of club record signing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who found the net 23 times in 35 Premiership games.
After 34 years and 10 close shaves with relegation, Coventry City's
luck finally ran out and they were relegated from the top flight.
Much optimism followed Coventry's relegation with everyone at the club working hard to attain promotion at the first attempt. These hopes were boosted with the signing of prolific striker Lee Hughes from local rivals West Bromwich Albion.
Another season of struggle plagued Pride Park
, but Jim Smith's
men were saved with one week of the season left after Manchester City
lost their penultimate game of the season. The attention was then quickly focused on improving the squad for 2001-02 in a bid to prevent another relegation battle.
When Walter Smith
was appointed as Everton
manager three years ago
, he was intent on reversing the decline which had turned Everton from title winners to relegation battlers in barely a decade. Three years on
, they are still in the Premiership, but have played some of the most unremarkable football ever seen at this level and have frustrated fans who have spent the last five seasons living in fear of relegation. This season saw them finish 16th - their lowest finish under Smith's management. Even the arrival of Paul Gascoigne
made little difference to the side, with the iconic Geordie
performing like a thin shadow of his former self.
As the 2001-02 season approached, Smith was the favourite of many bookies to be the first managerial casualty of the new season.
Tipped by many to go straight back down to Division One
after winning promotion, Ipswich
quickly wowed the Premiership
with an unlikely challenge among the top six. For much of the season, it looked like they would finish in the top three and qualify for the European Cup
for the first time in nearly 40 years. In the end, they finished fifth and qualified for the UEFA Cup
for the first time since 1982. Manager George Burley
was then voted "Manager of the Year" by his colleagues
to their first European Cup
semi-final since 1975, where defeat at the hands of Valencia
ended their chances of a repeat of the ill-tempered 1975 European Cup clash with Bayern Munich
who beat Real Madrid
in the other semi-final. Still, this disappointment was less of a dampener on a season where Leeds had fielded a predominantly young squad. They finished fourth in the final table, which meant that their place in Europe for 2001-02 would be in the UEFA Cup
rather than the European Cup.
A superb start to the season saw Leicester
begin October on top of the league just four months after the appointment of Peter Taylor
as Martin O'Neill's successor
- they had not occupied top place since 1963. Two weeks later, they surrendered their lead to Manchester United but were still in the top four by Christmas.
A shock defeat at the hands of Division Two underdogs Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup quarter-final midway through March had a negative effect on the Foxes, who endured 9 defeats and attained one win from their final 10 games. This slump dragged them down to 13th place - their lowest finish since winning promotion to the Premiership back in 1996. Several high profile end-of-season signings - including that of Chelsea legend Dennis Wise - gave fans hope that Leicester could regain their form and rejoin the challenge for honours in 2001-02.
November saw the announcement of plans to relocate to a new 32,000-seat stadium at a site adjacent to Filbert Street, with a targeted completion for the start of the 2003-04 season. Later in the season, it was announced that Leicester wound only have to be spend one more season at their ancient Filbert Street ground before they could move into their new home.
enjoyed their best season for years when they completed a unique treble
of cup competitions and ended Gerard Houllier's
three-year wait to bring silverware to Anfield
The first trophy was secured on 25 February when a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory followed a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City in the Worthington Cup final. The game was also the first club fixture to be played at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium while Wembley was being rebuilt.
Part two of the treble was completed on 12 May when two late Michael Owen goals overturned Arsenal's lead in the FA Cup Final to give the Reds a 2-1 win.
The final part of the treble was perhaps the most dramatic. The UEFA Cup final featured an amazing 9 goals as Alaves gave them a run for their money fighting back to equalize from 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3, before Liverpool finally ran out 5-4 winners after extra-time.
Promising young midfielder Steven Gerrard was voted PFA Young Player of the Year for his key part in one of the most successful season's in Liverpool's 109-year history.
Sad news reached the club just after the end of the season, when former manager Joe Fagan (manager of the 1984 side that also managed to win three trophies in a season) died at the age of 80 after a long illness.
return to the Premiership after a four-year exile was the consequence of back-to-back promotions. But it became clear after just a few games that Joe Royle's
men would struggle to retain their top flight status.
Their relegation was confirmed by a defeat in the penultimate game of the season, and Royle was dismissed within days. Former England coach Kevin Keegan was appointed on a three-year contract and fans were given renewed hope of an immediate return to the elite.
made an outstanding start to the season and it was quickly clear that they were in pole position for a third successive Premiership title. By Christmas, most of the bookmakers had closed their books on anyone catching them, and most of those who believed otherwise were silenced on 25 February
when they crushed their nearest rivals Arsenal 6-1 at Old Trafford. The title was confirmed six weeks later.
But there were downsides during the season. A shock 1-0 home defeat to West Ham in the Fourth Round ended their FA Cup hopes, and their European Cup challenge was ended in the quarter-finals by Bayern Munich - their opponents from the victorious 1999 final.
After the end of the season, United broke their club record twice. The first signing was Dutch striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy, the second was Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron. Both of these players were rated as world-class, and gave United fans extra hope of more glory being achieved in what was thought to be Sir Alex Ferguson's final season as United manager.
Some early season relegation worries saw Middlesbrough
chairman Steve Gibson
respond by installing former England boss Terry Venables
as joint manager alongside Bryan Robson
in December. This experiment with joint management paid off as Middlesbrough finished 14th to avoid the drop by a comfortable margin.
Robson and Venables both departed after the season was over, and in came Manchester United assistant Steve McClaren to succeed him.
first full season as Newcastle
manager saw them finish 11th once again - more than high enough to avoid relegation, but not quite high enough to get into Europe. Alan Shearer
had another effective season after quitting international football to concentrate on the final few seasons of his club career, but few other players made much of an impact on the pitch.
enjoyed their best form in several years after it was announced that Glenn Hoddle
was replacing Dave Jones
as manager on a permanent basis.
But Hoddle caused outrage by walking out on the Saints in late March and taking the managerial vacancy at Tottenham the next day. Coach Stuart Gray took over on a temporary basis, and with Southampton's good form continuing he was rewarded with the job on a permanent basis.
2000-01 was Southampton's final season at the Dell. After 103 years, they move on to the St Mary's Stadium on Brittania Road, which with 32,000 seats is more than twice the size of their old ground and is seen by many as the way forward for a club.
enjoyed another strong season, and briefly occupied second place in February. But Peter Reid's
men were unable to keep up their excellent form, and they had to settle for seventh place - just as they did last season, and not quite enough for UEFA Cup
were thrown into turmoil on 16 March
when it was announced that manager George Graham
had been sacked for breach of his contract. Countless names were linked with the vacancy, and a popular decision was made two weeks later when it was announced that former player Glenn Hoddle
would be returning to the club as manager. A few weeks later, he re-signed Teddy Sheringham
from Manchester United as the first of many promised new signings in a new-look side which many fans feel will be just the right set of players to bring the glory days back to White Hart Lane
West Ham United
The sale of Rio Ferdinand
contributed towards a slight dip in West Ham's Premiership
form, and mystery surrounded the departure of manager Harry Redknapp
on 9 May
after seven years as manager - was he resigned or was he sacked?
, Steve McClaren
and George Graham
were just some of the many names linked with the vacancy before it was announced that caretaker manager and former youth coach Glenn Roeder
would be taking over on a permanent basis.
Roeder's appointment has been met with endless disapproval by fans who feel that he isn't experienced enough to take charge of a side which has spent the last three seasons in the frame for European football. Many outsiders have shared their views, and for the first time in years the punters are starting to take bets on West Ham being relegated.
Top goal scorers