Season 2002/03
original illustrations of the kits worn during the season

The Season in brief

This was very much a season of two halves. United struggled before the turn of the year, prompting many in the media to speculate that United's dominance of English football was ending. Defeats at Blackburn and Middlesbrough over Christmas had left United third and trailing Arsenal by seven points. Remarkably United won fifteen of their final eighteen games, drawing the other three.

They hit top spot on April 12th after an emphatic 6-2 win at St James' Park and collected their eighth Premier League title on the final day of the season, winning 2-1 at Goodison Park. United's only two domestic defeats came in the League Cup Final, beaten 2-0 by Liverpool, and 2-0 by Arsenal in the F.A. Cup fifth round.

In Europe United moved effortlessly into the quarter finals, topping both group tables. Beaten 3-1 in the Bernabéu, a van Nistelrooy goal at least gave United some hope. In the return at Old Trafford however, Real Madrid's Ronaldo was unstoppable and scored a marvellous hat trick. Two goals from substitute David Beckham helped United to a 4-3. Earlier in the season a dressing room argument after the Cup defeat by Arsenal left Beckham with a cut eye, and preceded his transfer to Madrid in July.

The agreement with Nike, agreed in late 2000 for thirteen years, began at the start of the 2002/03 season. Nike produced new designs for all three of United's kits, all of which were in the club's traditional colours (red for the home kit, white for the change and blue for the third kit). The design cue was also traditional. Premier League sleeve patches were worn on shirts for all domestic games. Short numbers were also introduced by the Premier League.

Although the goalkeeper's change kit officially had grey socks, it was more often as not worn with the black home socks. Roy Carroll and Ricardo wore long-sleeved shirts in both domestic and European games. In the game against Juventus at home, Barthez wore the long sleeved change shirt with track suit bottoms.