The 2002-2003 season


Unabridged version of the Observer end of season review

  1. Did the season live up to your expectations?
    On the last day of July, 2002 we came back from a friendly at Hull 99% sure that the club would fold in the morning, our best case scenarios were around rebuilding the club in the lower reaches of Beazer Homes Division Eight, or whatever. With that background the fact that we were safe from releation with a month to spare was beyond what most of us could have hoped for. We exceeded expectations, however, with the squad of bright young things that emerged during the last nine months.
  2. Are you happy with the gaffer?
    Nicky Law has done a great job bringing in some talented young players and has had the where with all to get the best out of long forgotton players like free transfer turned Player of the Season Andy Gray and our own Mark Bower but he finds it hard to shake off the notion that he would make a Premiership club a very good youth team manager. With the squad being trimmed to allow him to bring in his own players next season is the big one for Nicky.
  3. Who was your official player of the season?
    Andy Gray, formerly of Nottingham Forest and of Leeds United and now of Bradford City and Scotland picked up the player of the season award in what has been a tough season on the field for the Bantams. Gray, a winger who lacks the turn of pace to play out wide, retooled his game to replace Ashley Ward as line leading forward and ended the season well into double figures for goals scored. Gray's real success this season has been his response to the Bantam's many hours of need. He arrived in the Summer when it looked as if there would be no club and in the spirit that got us through rolled up his sleeves and played wherever he was asked with all his ability.
  4. Who was your biggest flop?
    Harpal Singh arrived from Leeds United on loan as the first Premiership quality Asian player and obviously their was much excitement and anticipation that he might be able to rally the local Asian communities behind the side. However after one and a half game of him marrooning himself on the wing, failing to get involved in play and generally looking like he would struggle to hold down a place in the Shrewsbury Town side, he was sent back to Elland Road.
  5. Your favourite hate figure at another club?
    Rotherham manager Ronnie Moore moaned all season about how we should have been thrown out of the league for escaping our debts through a CVA. Bitter Ron's comments were factually incorrect, Leicester City walked away - we will end up paying 80% of what was owed. Still Ronnie is a manager going places in the game, ot going to Ipswich through.
  6. Which manager in your division deserved the manager-of-the-year title?
    It's tempting to say someone who has done well at the bottom like Steve Coppell, Tony Pulis or even our guy Nicky Law but the truth is that in 15 months Harry Redknapp has turned stodgy Portsmouth into Premeirship quality. Handsome Harry for me.
  7. And who were the best ? and worst ? away fans?
    The best away fans were probably noisy Sheffield United, the worst were Norwich City.