Rory Ngah takes a look at the backdrop behind our last competitive encounter with Cardiff CityExeter City and Cardiff City are well acquainted, with their first contest in October 1931 seeing the Grecians run out 3-1 victors in a Division 3 South fixture. Although they have met on a further forty-nine occasions, hostilities have been on hold since November 2002, when a visiting Cardiff side saw off City 3-0 in the LDV Vans Trophy. Seeing as much has changed in the intervening years, this piece is for the nostalgic amongst you, first offering an outline of the two clubs’ fortunes in 2002, before providing a run-down of the year’s major headlines.
A troublesome campaign for City both on and off the pitch culminated in May 2003, as the Grecians dropped out of the Football League for the first time in eighty years.
The Bluebirds’ year stood in stark contrast. Following a fine run of form they finished 4th in Division 2, narrowly losing out to Stoke City in the play-off semi-finals. But this did not herald a downturn in fortunes. The Welshmen, fired by thirty-one league goals from Robert Earnshaw, gained promotion at the next attempt, defeating QPR 1-0 in the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium.
In terms of global football, Japan and South Korea hosted the first World Cup on Asian soil. England, under the management of Sven-Göran Eriksson, made a promising start to their campaign, defeating Argentina 1-0 courtesy of a David Beckham penalty. They were, however, ultimately outclassed by the eventual winners Brazil who, powered by the prolific Ronaldo, vanquished Rudi Völler’s Germany 2-0 in the final.
1st: The Euro became the legal currency in twelve of the European Union’s member states.
2nd-6th: England avoid an Ashes whitewash with a 225-run win in the 5th Test against Australia.
27th: Thomas Johansson became the men’s Australian Open champion, defeating Marat Safin 3-6 6-4 6-4 7-6 in the Final. Whilst in the Women’s tournament Jennifer Capriati came from behind to beat Martina Hingis 4-6 7-6 6-2 in a close fought encounter.
6th: Queen Elizabeth II began her Golden Jubilee celebrations to mark her 50th year on the throne.
8th: The 19th Winter Olympic games opened, held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
16th: Walter Winterbottom, England manager between 1946 and 1962 passed away after a battle with cancer. He left an indelible imprint on the national team set-up, including the establishment of the England B, U23, youth and schoolboy teams.
24th: The first film in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the Fellowship of the Ring, was given the award for Best Film at the 55th BAFTAs.
24th: The 74th Academy Awards Ceremony was held in Hollywood, LA. A Beautiful Mind won the Oscar for Best Film, whilst Denzel Washington and Halle Berry won the awards for best leading actor and actress. Berry was the first African American woman to receive the accolade.
6-7th: Following the final round of fixtures in the 2002 Six Nations’ Championship, France sealed the grand slam with a domineering 44-5 victory against Ireland at the Stade De France.
9th: Having passed away on 30th March, the Queen Mother was laid to rest at Windsor Castle, with her funeral procession drawing over 1 million mourners onto the streets of London.
12th: The entire English nation received a lesson in Podiatry as David Beckham fractured his left metatarsal in a Champions League match, thus putting his World Cup participation in doubt.
A momentous month for film saw the release of Spiderman, starring Toby MacGuire, on 3rd May closely followed by Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones on the 16th.
11th: Having won the FA Cup just a week before, Arsenal lifted the Premier League Trophy after a 4-3 win at home to Everton, thus completing their second double in 4 years.
15th: Real Madrid, inspired by a wonderful volley from Zinedine Zidane, saw off a determined Bayer Leverkusen side 2-1, clinching their 9th Champions League title.
25th: Marie N of Latvia stormed to victory in the 47th Eurovision Song Contest with her single ‘I Wanna’. Surprisingly, Brit Jessie Garlick put in a remarkable performance to finish in joint-3rd position.
9th: Albert Costa clinched the French Open Men’s Singles Title with a victory over Juan Carlos Ferrero. Whilst, Serena Williams defeated her sister Venus in straight sets to claim her 2nd Grand Slam title.
7th: Serena Williams once again put her sister Venus to the sword, defeating her in the Wimbledon Women’s Singles final. Leyton Hewitt defeated David Nalbandian to claim his first Wimbledon title in the Men’s final.
18th-21st: Ernie Els shot a 6-under par 278 to win the 131st Open at Muirfield.
22nd: Centre back Rio Ferdinand became the most expensive player in English football history, transferring from Leeds United to Manchester United for the princely sum of £29.1million.
25th: The Opening of the Commonwealth games in Manchester, England. The Australians pushed their hosts into second place, topping the table with 207 medals, including 82 golds.
8th: Pete Sampras defeated his compatriot Andre Agassi 6-3 6-3 5-7 6-4 to claim the US Open Grand Slam. Serena Williams rounded off an incredibly successful year with her 4th Grand Slam title, once again overcoming her sister Venus in the final.
10th: Switzerland ended its centuries old policy of neutrality, joining the UN.
21st: Surrey CCC claimed their 18th County Championship title, with their Devonshire born lad Ian Ward topping the runscoring charts with 1,708.
29th: European captain Sam Torrence lifted the Ryder Cup at the Belfry, defeating Curtis Strange’s USA by 15.5-12.5.
12th: A terrorist cell launched a devastating attack on the Indonesian Island of Bali, setting off 2 bombs and killing 26 British citizens.
13th: Michael Schumacher claimed his 5th Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship victory, winning the title with 6 races left.
27th: ITV aired their regional services for the last time, with UTV, Channel, Scottish TV and Grampian TV merging into a national ITV1 service.
14th: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released, based upon the second book in the series written by Exeter University graduate J.K. Rowling.
Another stellar month for film, saw Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers released on the 5th December, taking $62million on its US opening weekend alone. This was followed by Gangs of New York on the 20th and Chicago on 27th, which would go on to win the Best Picture Award at the 75th Annual Academy Awards the following year.