Corinthian released ProStars Stars of the Season 2002/03 on the 9th of June at the 2003 convention, with the figures only available to collector club members at Gold and Platinum level only. The series was only released in blister pack format; no sachets were produced, except those of the 2 redemption figures.
This series was the first time Corinthian had done a retrospective look at the season, with the figures included those who had excelled during the season. Corinthian produced an all new backing card for this special release. This series was not included as part of the standard ProStars series, however subsequent series would be.
A 16 figure strong line up with 10 Premiership teams represented, however only 3 new sculpts amongst them, the rest were repaints of previously released figures. This however, did not deter collectors in the slightest, with the series selling out very quickly and many collectors choosing to purchase the entire collection.
At the end of the 2002/03 season, there was only one players name on everybody’s lips, Wayne Rooney. Rooney had a sensational breakthrough season for The Toffee’s, scoring 6 goals in 33 league appearances. We can all recall the wonder goal that young Rooney scored against Arsenal in a 2-1 win, beating legendary goal keeper David Seaman with a thunderous volley, a goal which at the time made Rooney the youngest goal scorer in Premier League history and the youngest goal scorer in Everton’s history. All of these events meant that Rooney was a must for inclusion in this series and Corinthian did not disappoint with the sculpt, a tremendous likeness was achieved and the figure became an instant hit will all collectors. Corinthian knew demand for this first time release would be huge, so produced Rooney in the highest volume of any figure in this series, a total of 8,157 blister packs were produced.
Manchester United would end up winning the 2002/03 Premier League trophy, helped by terrific seasons from Ruud Van Nistelrooy and seasoned veteran Paul Sholes, both were obvious inclusions for this series. Van Nistelrooy finished as the leagues top scorer, piping Thierry Henry to the honour by a single goal, with a total of 25 goals in 34 league games, scoring 3 hat tricks and also going on an 8 game scoring streak too! Scholes was an ever present in the united midfield and had his most prolific scoring season ever, netting 14 times in 33 league games. The Van Nistelrooy figure is the same as released in ProStars series 14, while the Scholes is a repaint of the ProStars series 15 figure. The Ruud Van Nistelooy figure was the best seller in this series.
Arsenal failed to retain the Premier League trophy, however did manage to win the FA Cup, with Frenchmen Thierry Henry and Robert Pires inspirational players throughout the season. Despite losing out to Van Nistelrooy to be the leagues top scorer, Henry netted 24 times in 37 games and also found the time to make 23 assists. Robert Pires spent the first half of the season injured, however made up for lost time by scoring 14 goals in the 26 games he appeared in. The Henry figure is the same as used in ProStars series 17, while the Pires was first seen in the Arsenal 4 pack released at the 2002 convention.
Chelsea had a total of 3 players released in the series, those 3 being Gianfranco Zola, Carlo Cudicini and the first ever release of William Gallas. This would prove to be Zola’s last season in a Chelsea shirt and he signed of with a fantastic season, scoring 14 times and appeared in all of Chelsea’s league games that season. Gallas too appeared in all league games, scoring 4 goals along the way. Cudicini had a sensational season between the sticks and was named as the best keeper for the 202/03 season. The Gallas was a first time sculpt, while the Zola was a repaint of the figure used in the Prostars 1999 Club Edition 12 packs, and the Cudicini was first seen in ProStars series 18.
Liverpool started the season very brightly and was serious title contenders; however a run of bad results towards the end of the season once again ended their title aspirations. Michael Owen had a rare injury season, making 35 league appearances and scored 19 goals, proving what he could do if fit. Sami Hyypia was a rock at the back and found the net 3 times; however his season was marred by the Fin receiving the only Red card of his career. The Owen figure was a repaint of the ProStars series 17 release, while Hyypia was first seen in ProStars series 12.
Leeds United struggled both on and off the field throughout the 2002/03 season, however consistent performances from Harry Kewell and Paul Robinson helped Leeds to maintain their Premier League status for another season. Kewell had his best scoring season, netting 14 times in 31 league games. The Kewell figure was a repaint of the ProStars series 5 figures with the Robinson being a brand new first time release.
Newcastle United had one of their best seasons in the Premier League, finishing in 3rd place, thanks in large to the goals of inspirational captain Alan Shearer. Shearer scored 17 goals in 35 league appearances, with the figure being a repaint of the ProStars series 7 release.
Tottenham Hotspur had a respectable season by their standards at this time, finishing in 10th place. Summer signing Robbie Keane finished as the clubs top scorer with 13 goals in 20 league appearances, Keane had signed for £7,000,000 from Leeds United. The Keane figure was initially released in ProStars series 10.
West Ham United sadly lost their long battle against relegation, despite the best efforts of erratic and controversial Italian Paolo Di Canio. Who amongst us can forget the goal Di Canio scored against Chelsea in the penultimate game of the season, a goal which at the time looked to have saved the Hammers from relegation. Di Canio scored 9 goals in 18 league appearances that season, with the figure being the same as seen in ProStars series 9.
Middlesbrough has a rather uneventful season, culminating in an 11th place finish. They had a very solid defence, with Ugo Ehiogu partnering Gareth Southgate at the heart of their defence. The Ehiogu was the same figure as used in the Collectors Club package. Ehiogu was the figure released in the lowest number, with only 1,890 blister packs produced.
Corinthian produced 2 special edition figures for this series, with William Gallas and Paul Scholes painted in their respective clubs away kits. You could claim one of these special redemption figures free, by collecting just 6 redemption tokens, with 1 redemption token issued with each figure. Alternatively collectors could purchase these figures from Corinthian directly, at a price of £5 per figure.
The series was released in between series 21 and 22 with Corinthian producing 72,921 blisters for this series, which was considerably less than both those series; however this was done by design, as Corinthian wanted to keep this a much more collectable series.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Manchester United 3rd Kit
Paolo Di Canio
West Ham United
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, click the link button opposite.
Stars Of The Season 2002/03