Manchester United is not just a football club. It's bigger than that. It's a global brand that inspires emotion and commands respect. That's the result of its great footballing legacy. But behind that legacy is years of hard work and professionalism from a committed team of backroom staff.
In every popular sport in the world, there are heroes and villains. Those the crowd love and those they hate. Typically, the athletes or teams the spectator takes a disliking to share one trait; success...
In the not so distant past, when football was a contact sport, the art of diving was almost non-existent. I am not saying it didn't happen, but that nowadays a player is protected by the referees so much that any touch by an opponent will allow the player to dive to the floor knowing that the referee will more than likely award a free kick.
There can be little argument that Alex Ferguson's tenure at Manchester united will be remembered as one in which he took a club that was still trading on past glories ("all fur coat and no knickers") and fashioned it a brand that was dominant on and off the pitch.
We have had just four games of Paolo Di Canio's continental-looking Sunderland side, and already questions are being asked. We have had just four games of Paolo Di Canio's continental-looking Sunderland side, and already questions are being asked.
Over the past couple of seasons, I've felt that the Premier League has become a little bit stale... However, this season I can't help but feel there is an added buzz from various different aspects of the league and it's rekindling the special vibe that usually surrounds English football.
I might as well be honest with you right from the start: this article will contradict itself. It will set off by being one thing but in the end will turn out to be something else, in many ways similar to a Premier League season.
Interestingly, it's not just the top clubs who have whipped out the cheque book this summer. Norwich, Swansea, West Ham, Southampton, Cardiff and Liverpool (yes Liverpool fans, you're not a big club anymore) have all spent more than £15 million each over the summer.
It wouldn't be the first time that a youngish football manager, with illustrious predecessors inconveniently prominent in fans' memories, has appeared as a sheep trying to don the clothing of a wolf. Allan Clarke, after an apprenticeship at Barnsley, returned to Elland Road as manager, and immediately started trying to come over all Brian Clough.
The three most talented players in the Premier League could all be about to jump ship. Showered with awards and internationally recognised, Wayne Rooney, Gareth Bale and Luis Suárez have lit up the Premier League but their possible transfers could take the shine off English football.
On August 17, football fans will witness what they've never seen before - Manchester United walking out for a Premier League match without Sir Alex Ferguson as their manager. The eyes of the footballing world will be focussed on David Moyes, the man hand-picked by Sir Alex, as he attempts to fill the biggest shoes in the business.
There are worrying signs already for the inheritor of the poisoned chalice that is the Old Trafford hot-seat. David Moyes has been gathering his own people about him as he sets forth to put his own stamp on the Man U machine - but Moyes will be grimly aware that The Ghost of Alex Ferguson Past is the least of his worries.
With the dust only just settling on the most illustrious managerial career in football, it's been hard to find a bad word written about Sir Alex Ferguson. However, now he's officially retired, the time has come to examine some of his lesser moments.
"It just doesn't happen. Unless you're Aberdeen." Willie Miller, the youngest captain in Aberdeen's history, talks about the moment provincial Scotti...
Spurs have two major problems: the first is that they haven't been Champions since 1961 - a major flaw for a club with any pretensions to size and a place in the forefront of the game. The second problem may be succinctly summed-up as 'Arsenal FC'.
Outgoing interim manager Rafael Benitez may have led Chelsea to Europa League glory and a top-three finish in the Premier League this season - but suggestions the Spaniard has had a successful reign at Stamford Bridge are wide of the mark.