It is not often that my two main interests in life collide. Now they have, but for all the wrong reasons. I'm an employment and discrimination lawyer, but I am also a lover of the beautiful game.
What has been evident from the transfer window this summer is that the Premier League's so-called 'smaller clubs' can now afford to splash the cash, benefitting from the lucrative TV rights deal. Here, we take a look at six of the most impressive summer signings for clubs outside last season's top six...
It may be a little negative to discuss the relegation zone before the season has even started, but with all the talk about which sides will be challenging for the title next season, it only seems fair to have a look at the other end of the potential table.
Excitement has rarely been higher ahead of the big August kick-off and people are already trying to identify who will fly and who flop in 2015/16. But what about those individuals who may surprise you?
Many Toon fans are understandably skeptical of the man who has previously rebranded their historic stadium as the 'Sports Direct Arena' and slapped Wonga on the revered black and white stripes but so far, the signs seem to be positive.
Sunderland have been bumping along the bottom of the league for years now, just about staying afloat. This season might be a step too far. In a couple of season's time, at this rate, we may even see a Tyne-Wear derby in the Championship.
If the makers had done a bit more research they would have discovered that as a company Sports Direct actually look after their long-serving workers, rewarding loyalty with shares and bonus schemes which can then be converted to hard cash.
It is hard to escape the feeling that Newcastle fans, embittered or not, would welcome him back with open arms after the torment since his departure. He may not have always endeared himself to the media or fans, but the fact is, Pardew is flying at Selhurst Park and would deserve a nod for manager of the season.
Although both clubs have gone through a change in management personnel, it is Sunderland, however, who enter this Easter Sunday game wilting under the immense pressure of a relegation battle.
Everything is in place for Newcastle to be a successful club, but with Mike Ashley as owner, business sense will always win-out over football. Risk is what wins silverware and creates memories, but can easily destroy a club too and therein lies the dilemma for Newcastle United.
Chelsea and City are currently out in front by a large distance and are understandably favourites to take the crown, though contrary to popular belief, this year's Premier League is not yet just a duel between the two teams in blue.
Newcastle have flown up the table from 18th to 5th in the space of five matches and Pardew and co are being held up as an example of the good that can come from giving a manager some leeway - and having some patience. It's just a shame that it's all a bit nonsense.
While he will enjoy that much more than those previously seen at the ground, it speaks volumes that even positive signs have negative connotations and are displayed almost in jest. His Newcastle team have what it takes to extend their run of form, though it is unlikely to mean much more in the way of support and backing for Pardew.
Latching on to Ryan Taylor's through ball, the teenager strode forward some 20 yards, leaving £25 million worth of centre-half in his wake, before co...
Despite his well documented frustration at Manchester United, the Scot is a highly respected manager with unquestioned ability. He may just be the man that Newcastle need to turn them into a consistent top-half side.
Players tipped for success have struggled and others have surprised, settling into life in the world's top league. Some teams have bought well and improved on last season's outing, but others have inexplicably struggled. Here is the ultimate collection of the Premier League's biggest over and under-achievers so far.