Birmingham City F.C. season 2002-03


Birmingham City F.C. season 2002-03

Infobox Football club season
club = Birmingham City
season = 2002-03
manager = flagicon|ENG Steve Bruce
chairman = flagicon|ENG David Gold
league = Premiership
league result = 13th
cup1 = FA Cup
cup1 result = 3rd round
cup2 = League Cup
cup2 result = 3rd round
league topscorer =
flagicon|IRE Clinton Morrison (6)
season topscorer =
flagicon|TRI Stern John (9)
highest attendance = 29,505 vs Aston Villa
(16 September 2002)
lowest attendance = 12,241 vs Preston North End
(5 November 2002)

The 2002-03 season was Birmingham City's 110th in the Football League, their 1st in the Premiership, and their 51st in the top teir of English football.

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Birmingham's first season in the Premiership was a roller coaster of a ride that resulted in the team finishing in 13th, although they were favourites to be relegated at the start of the season.

Once Birmingham had secured their states in the Premiership after beating Norwich City in the Division One Playoff Final the year before, manager Steve Bruce started to strengthen the side. Internationals Robbie Savage (Wales), Kenny Cunningham, Clinton Morrison (both Irish), and Aliou Cisse (Senegalese) all joined the side.

As it was Birmingham's first season in the premiership, and it is important to mention that Stern John scored Birmingham first ever goal in the premiership (and first in the top flight since Robert Hopkins scored against Newcastle United back in the 1985-86 season) when the striker scored a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Everton on August 28, 2002.

The match after the Everton game secured Birmingham their first three points in the league, as the beat once great Leeds United 2-1 thanks to goals from Paul Devlin and Damien Johnson.

One of the many highlights of the season was the superb performance that gave Birmingham a 3-0 victory over local rivals Aston Villa. A first half goal from Clinton Morrison saw Birmingham in control at half time, before a comedy of errors saw a through in by Olof Mellberg roll under the foot of Villa keeper Peter Enckelman and into the net to gift the side a 2-0 lead. Geoff Horsfield added a third later in the game thanks to bad defending from Turkish defender Alpay.

By the new years, Birmingham were in 15th position in the table, and 7 points clear of Sunderland who were in 18th position in the table. This did not stop Bruce spending in the winter transfer window however, as Stephen Clemence, Jamie Clapham, and Matthew Upson all joined the club. These transfers fall into insignificance however, when compared to the impact that French world cup winning striker Christophe Dugarry would have on the side in April.

A bad start to 2003 saw Birmingham fall to 16th in the table, with only 5 points separating themselves and 18th place West Bromwich Albion. This was before Liverpool's visit to St Andrews, where Birmingham went into a two goal lead thanks to Clemence and Morrison, before Michael Owen added a late consolation goal for the Merseyside team. The Liverpool game was followed by the away tie against Aston Villa. The game kicked into life when Villa striker Dion Dublin head butted Savage in the 51st minute, and was rightly sent off for the incident. This did not help his side as on the 74th minute Australian Stan Lazaridis scored his first of the season, and only three minutes later, a poor header back by Jlloyd Samuel allowed Horsfield to run onto the ball, beat Enckelman and slot the ball home from close range. The game ended with another sending of, as Icelandic Joey Gudjonsson lunged at Upson with a two footed tackle.

Birmingham may have been safe by the time they played Sunderland on April 12. But after Bryan Hughes had give the side the lead, Dugarry finally got on the score sheet to give Birmingham the 2-0 win. The Frenchman would go on to score another four goals in Birmingham's next three games, including a stunning effort against Middlesbrough where he beat the offside trap before calmly taking the ball out of the air with his knee before volleying it into the net.

The last game of the season saw the side entertain West Ham United, who were in real danger of relegation. Birmingham managed a 2-2 draw thanks to goals from Horsfield and John, but it was enough to send the Hammers down.

Playing stats

:"Last updated on February 9, 2008."
-
colspan="12"|"Players not playing for Birmingham City at the end of the season:"

Player transfers

In

Loaned Out

Carling Cup

Birmingham reached the Third round of the Football League Cup 2002-03 before losing to Preston North End of Division One.

*Birmingham City scores given first


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