The World Cup has drawn to a close and the pre-season programme is now in full swing. It's purgatory for English football fans though, who have only the fitness attaining fixtures and the transfer window to keep them occupied until the Premier League campaign returns in 26 days.
Buying a replica club shirt is only the beginning of a long list of expenses that go along with being seen as a loyal supporter... football inflation is rising faster than the Government's Consumer Price Index... One thing's for sure, fans are still paying out to show their allegiance, no matter what the cost of being a football supporter is.
The transition between the Championship and Premier League is a tricky one, and one that Leicester, Burnley and QPR will be looking to cope with this season following their promotion into England's top-flight... Here we look at five that impressed in England's second tier last season hoping to prove that they can make the grade at the very top.
The Premier League title race of 2013/14 provided plenty of dramatic twists and turns, resulting in one of the most exciting campaigns in years. But there is already plenty of reason to believe that the new season will be even better and here's a look at why.
Named by then-CBF president Ricardo Texeira to coach the seleçao in 2006 Dunga had no previous coaching experience. He was abruptly fired by Teixeira after Brazil got knocked out in the quarter finals of the FIFA 2010 World Cup by Holland. Now he's back and the fans don't like it.
The transfer window has only been open for a short period of time and bar the few managers who are yet to realise it is open at all, most teams have added a number of new faces to their rosters... Here are the top five and why they stand a good chance of getting better.
Last season they came in under the radar, with very few people talking them up as title contenders until relatively late in the season. When they finally bashed the door down and sat atop the Premier League table, the players seemed to see everyone looking at them, panicked and promptly fell.
The microscope will be firmly fixed on Everton in the upcoming campaign to see if they can match, or better, their exploits from the previous year. In a way, Martínez faces the prospect of enduring his own form of 'second season syndrome'.
It's damaging for United to suffer from such a lack of football people around. Who is Van Gaal supposed to ask if he wants advice on how to develop the best scouting system on the planet? Joel Glazer? Ed Woodward? ... Manchester United better return to being a football club, not step even closer to a place where only hollow brands are living.
There's no question that Arsenal's expected new recruit would carry a real threat to Wojciech Szczesny's starting spot, though it's competition that the Pole has needed and perhaps lacked since earning his first team status. Nevertheless, there's little doubt that the young stopper made significant waves last season.
There's a risk associated with playing a certain style of football or with only certain players, and it is one which West Ham fans must note. It would take several transfer windows, not one, to transform West Ham... West Ham can't afford the drama of the drop or to risk restarting their current project under new management.
Every four years when the World Cup comes along, it must feel like a brand new shop opening for Premier League managers, filled with a number of new products on shiny displays. Is it wise, however, to judge a player solely on their World Cup performances? Here are six players who, despite having a decent individual World Cup, shouldn't be at the top of the Premier League manager's wish list just yet.
What Germany have done so well in promoting and developing talent from their youth teams in recent years is conspicuously absent from the English setup... In England, the mentality when it comes to age restricted international tournaments is completely wrong.
The headlines during the build-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup were dominated by the number of absent high profile stars, those failing to recover from injury in-time to compete in what many consider to be the pinnacle of their playing career.
While Van Gaal tends to do well when he takes over at a new club, teams found a way to counter his system at the World Cup. Provided United do not lure the opposition into a false sense of security in matches next season, the Dutch tactician may have to endure a rocky start in Manchester when the campaign kicks off next month before finding his feet in England.
Though they ended the previous campaign extremely poorly, Newcastle have made significant strides in the transfer market to ensure that they are not in a similar situation again. They appear to have learned from their mistakes to a degree and their eagerness in the window this time around should reap the rewards.