News that the sale of Liverpool football club - one of the world's most successful and famous teams - had been agreed, in principle at least, was greeted with a sense of optimism by many of the legions of Reds' fans around the world.
As one supporter from India stated on the team's official Facebook page: "It is excellent news after a lot of problems ... this new buyer can help us get back the glory after two decades!"
Such reaction was no surprise. Any sniff of change from the doom-and-gloom which currently surrounds the once mighty team was always going to provide hope to followers of the Anfield outfit, as the tenure of current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett has been an unmitigated disaster in the eyes of supporters.
It's that time of year again when the wheeling-and-dealing of football coaches and clubs reaches a climax, as each bid to capture their desired player before the European transfer window - gateway to the most lucrative leagues in global soccer - slams shut.
As the clock ticks down to midnight of 31 August (or the slightly earlier time of 1700 GMT in Britain), contracts are feverishly written up and signed, medicals completed and agents assuaged in order for the teams' top transfer targets to be captured.
Many moves have happened in the last few weeks - striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has switched from Barcelona to AC Milan (albeit on loan), Argentine midfielder Javier Mascherano has moved from Liverpool to Barcelona while James Milner completed his transfer from Aston Villa to Manchester City - but question marks remain over the movements of some other big names.
Brazil's Robinho - who famously signed with Manchester City in a last-minute deal from Real Madrid back in 2008 - is again subject to rumor. Will he join Ibrahimovic at AC Milan to complete an all-new strikeforce for the Rossonerri?
London, England (CNN) - What has happened to soccer coach Fabio Capello? How could a man with the Italian's experience end the international career of an football icon such as David Beckham first, with an off-the-cuff remark to the world's press, and second, without having informed the player beforehand?
Beckham, love him or loathe him, surely has a record that deserved better treatment. The most capped outfield player in England's history (115 appearances), the midfielder, who was made captain in 2000, had played in three World Cups for his country.
In shirt sales alone, the 34-year-old must have contributed more to the Football Association's coffers than any other player, as Beckham's global fan base rivals the biggest superstars.
Durban, South Africa (CNN) - Everything was shaping up so nicely. Two heavyweights of the world game, led by coaches capable of masterminding flamboyant play, a stadium crafted by the Gods and a location on the warm, sunny shores of Durban, South Africa. Even Paul the Octopus had predicted a winner (correctly as it turns out).
So why did the World Cup semifinal between three-time winners Germany and current European champions Spain produce such a damp-squib of an atmosphere at the Moses Mabhida Stadium?
Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) - The World Cup has never been a tournament that respects form or status. In 2006, an unfancied Italy came from nowhere to triumph over all opposition, their feat an echo of the Azzurri’s win in 1982 as dark horses. West Germany overturned an awesome Hungary side in the "Miracle of Bern" to win in 1954, and a star-studded Netherlands side lost in two successive finals in 1974 and 1978 despite their revolutionary "total football" tactics.
And so the 2010 tournament has in many ways conformed to type, with some of the so-called giants of world football being downed by plucky Davids.
Let's be honest, did any England fan living anywhere around the world really expect anything else?
Even the casual observer, a dispassionate sports spectator, would be hard-pressed not to notice a trend that accompanies the so-called inventors of the game when they qualify for the showpiece of international soccer.
Bar one glorious exception in 1966, when as hosts the team wearing the three lions on their chest won a controversial final to be crowned world champions, the World Cup has only ever resulted in the same thing for Anglophiles: heartbreak and disappointment.
Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) - The vuvuzela – the plastic South African trumpet whose loud rasp has become synonymous with the 2010 World Cup – has proved a phenomenal success with soccer fans attending the tournament.
For many, this development has not been a good thing. While the troublesome trumpet does bring a new, authentically African vibe to the spectator experience , many complain it is at the expense of other enjoyable facets of the match-day atmosphere.
Rustenburg, South Africa - The Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg provided a fitting venue for the hotly-anticipated clash between the so-called inventors of the game, England, and a USA side boasting a growing global reputation.
The two pre-tournament favorites to progress from Group C vied in a setting that was as atmospheric and all-together African as the organizers could have wished for.
With a faint fragrance of campfire smoke filling the cool night air, fans mingled and made merry in what was a party atmosphere in rural South Africa.
Fans of the USA soccer team are often derided by supporters of nations that boast a richer history of competition; but though their team have yet to win a major trophy, the passion shown by their followers is up there with the best of them.
Johannesburg, South Africa - It is said that Nelson Mandela, inmate number 46664 at the notorious Robben Island prison, helped to while away 18 years of his time in the jail (the bulk of his 27-year incarceration) by watching games of football played among inmates.
Sport often has a way of providing escape and joy to those who participate, to unify disparate people even in the most unlikely of circumstances, and it seems this applied to the men who had been made captive for their opposition to the ruling racist apartheid regime of the time.
Jacob Zuma, the current president of South Africa, was a referee for the prisoners' team matches while former defense minister Mosiuoa Lekota and Tokyo Sexwale, who helped to draft South Africa’s new constitution in 1994, also played leading roles in the games.
South Africa entered a new era of its history when the one they call “Madiba” was released from his cell confines in 1990, before the then 71-year-old went onto become president of the new “Rainbow Nation” four years later.
The task facing the newly-appointed leader was great: to forge a new future of unity and fairness for a nation previously defined by division and inequality.
London, England - As the clock ticks down and anticipation grows for the kick-off of the World Cup in South Africa, there is a burning question that bothers many soccer fans the world over.
It is not whether the African hosts will be up to the task of holding the sporting showpiece, or if the Vuvuzela will prove the most annoying accessory in the history of football spectating. No, the poser that is pressing on the minds of passionate devotees across the planet is who will be the World Cup's best player?
From armchair aficionados to brand executives who have paid millions of dollars to be associated with big-name footballers, each is keen to know which man will etch his legend into the history books by turning on the magic on the biggest stage of them all. You may have your own ideas on who it will be.