Since its advent, social media, and in particular Twitter, has changed the way in which the world watches, talks and thinks about football.
For supporters across the globe, Twitter has brought football news, opinions and views, not to mention analysis and humour, all under one roof.
Journalists, bloggers, statisticians, broadcasters and other experts are now more accessible than ever, whether it be before, during or after games and they've changed the way that we watch matches.
Now, whether watching the action at home, down the pub or on the road—not literally of course—Twitter on computers, mobiles and tablets is ensuring that football fans discuss events in more ways, and far quicker, than they have ever done before.
There's a broad spectrum of people to follow out there—all in, the platform encompasses over 550 million active users (according to statisticbrain.com)—and needless to say, there's more than a few who tweet passionately about the Beautiful Game.
But how do you separate the sublime from the ridiculous? I mean, you don't want a timeline that's just got you reading Piers Morgan's thoughts on Arsenal and has a load of "banterific lads" all tweeting the same rubbish.
With that being said, the following is a list of some of Twitter's best footballing authorities, offering informative writing, tactical and statistical analysis and more than a little bit of flair from across the globe.
Certainly some of the great and good will have been missed off—feel free to add those to the comments below—but the following represents a list of 30 Tweeters who are must follows as far as the footballing landscape is concerned:
Gabriele Marcotti @Marcotti
One of the lead authorities on European football for more than a decade, but perhaps most sought after for his views on all things calcio, Gabriele Marcotti can be found tweeting his views on just about anything football related. Extremely knowledgeable and never shy of offering an opinion.
Mother of God!!! Are some folks REALLY STILL ASKING official behind goal does? They talk to ref via radio. They're not allowed to signal.— Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) September 17, 2013
James Horncastle @JamesHorncastle
European football writer with a particular focus on Serie A who can be found in a number of publications. Offers interesting thoughts and excellent information making him a must follow for those interested in the Scudetto.
How did you celebrate your derby goal? Balzaretti: "I wanted to go out with the lads but the kids were tired so I stayed at home." #Roma— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) September 23, 2013
Guillem Balague @GuillemBalague
Keeping Sky Sports Spanish football watchers smiling for a number of years now, Guillem Balague is the go-to guy for the major happenings in La Liga. Never short of an opinion and always happy to tell what he knows. Nearly 500,000 followers can't be wrong.
Quique Sánchez Flores has been approached by Valencia in case Djukic gets sacked soon— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) September 22, 2013
Raphael Honigstein @Honigstein
Studious and astute on the Bundesliga and beyond, the Bavaria native's weekly German column on the Guardian website is a must read for Bundesliga supporters. Mixing great insight and information with no shortage of humour, he's regularly seen now in the UK on BT Sport.
Bayern again with full-backs who are both high and narrow. Can't think of any top team who play like that. Not sure it helps Robben & Ribery— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) September 21, 2013
Philippe Auclair @PhilippeAuclair
A football writer, biographer and broadcaster of some repute, Philippe Auclair has been the England correspondent of France Football for over a decade. A bestselling author, he tweets reams of intelligent thoughts both in English and French.
What exactly is PSGASM? A football game or a typo?— Philippe Auclair (@PhilippeAuclair) September 22, 2013
Jonathan Wilson @jonawils
The brains behind the brilliance that is the football quarterly, The Blizzard, author of a number excellent historical analogues such as Inverting the Pyramid, oracle on all things Eastern European and long-suffering Sunderland supporter. Seemingly always on the move but very much an interesting follow.
Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please Bielsa— Jonathan Wilson (@jonawils) September 23, 2013
Michael Cox @ZonalMarking
Tweeting and writing about the intricacies of football tactics, Michael Cox is the strategy guy, picking apart the on-field mechanisms that decide matches and explaining them in a clear, concise fashion. Educational, interesting and always interactive with followers, though not a fan of Owen Coyle.
Kompany winning the battles with Rooney, but coming so far up the pitch to do it...United should be getting runners in behind him— Michael Cox (@Zonal_Marking) September 22, 2013
Rory Smith @RorySmithTimes
Football writer for The Times meaning much of his work is up behind a pay wall, but his intelligent tweets on all things Premier League and European are all available for free. Intermingling concise thoughts with great wit, he's well worth your time.
Di Canio will be disappointed, but in a way I bet he admires the swift, decisive action taken by an unaccountable totalitarian regime.— Rory Smith (@RorySmithTimes) September 22, 2013
Mohamed Moallim @jouracule
Football writer for FourFourTwo and WhoScored, Mohamed Moallim is an outstanding follow for those interested in the Eredivisie and Dutch football.
Brilliant. GTA V inspired tifo unfurled before PSV-Ajax pic.twitter.com/D62rC1018J— Mohamed Moallim (@jouracule) September 22, 2013
Andy Brassell @andybrassell
A freelance European football writer with knowledge stretching from Iberia to Istanbul. A great interactive offering of opinion and information regarding much of what goes on in mainland Europe.
Frustrating night for PSG, but great work by Monaco. Biggest compliment you can pay them is that Parc atmos just ebbed away in the end.— Andy Brassell (@andybrassell) September 22, 2013
Henry Winter @henrywinter
The Daily Telegraph football correspondent and columnist for the Sunday Telegraph with over 600,000 followers, tweets both fast and accurate facts revolving around the Premier League as well as carefully considered opinion. Bridges the gap between journalists and supporters rather well also.
Lot of #afc love for Ozil, rightly so, with assists etc but Flamini also worthy of praise. Does the ugly, ball-winning stuff, vocal too— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) September 23, 2013
Sid Lowe @sidlowe
All things Spanish football are the business of Sid Lowe and his mixture of knowledge, humorous anecdotes and opinions—mostly regarding La Liga—make for interesting reading.
So, Barça win 4-0... And yet, oddly, for much of game Barça not that good and Rayo not bad at all.— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) September 21, 2013
Iain Macintosh @iainmacintosh
Come for the information, stay for the humour: Iain Macintosh mixes insight and reasoning with some of the funniest comments those debating football will read. Co-Author of "Football Manager Stole My Life" if you aren't following him already, then why not?
Bit surprised by the Sunderland players' assertion that they would run through brick walls for Martin O'Neill. I must have missed that day.— Iain Macintosh (@iainmacintosh) September 23, 2013
Soccer Guy @usasoccerguy
According to his bio, Soccer Guy is an "expert soccer journalist, especially on the English EPL League." It's not informative in the slightest, but it's downright funny and makes a wonderful change to the more intellectual follows on your timeline.
Grant Wahl @GrantWahl
Senior writer with Sports Illustrated and New York Times best-selling author, Grant Wahl offers both a Stateside perspective on world football in addition to his thoughts on all things MLS and regarding the US national side.
Heading to the PSG-Monaco Nouveaux-Riches Derby. Hoping the French call it the New-Money Derby in English just to be different.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) September 22, 2013
Sam Kelly @Hegs_com
Based in Buenos Aires, Sam Kelly is the guy to go to if you've a question or any interest in Argentine football. He mixes in-depth knowledge with a brilliant writing style and a pleasant demeanour. Also live tweets and offers his thoughts on most games concerning the Argentine championship.
Racist chants = match halted until they stop. Homophobic chants = play on, nothing to see here.— Sam Kelly (@HEGS_com) September 22, 2013
Ben Shave @benshave
For all things Portuguese football, Ben Shave is a must follow for anyone with an interest in the Liga Sagres. Concise and thoughtful, while discussions about Porto and Benfica may well take up most of his time, has fantastic knowledge across the board.
Porto still top, but have misplaced the dynamism & cohesion we're used to seeing. Moving away from 4-3-3 may have something to do with it…— Ben Shave (@benshave) September 22, 2013
A site revolving around World football away from the mainstream, their tagline is more than apt: "We do things differently here." Utterly magnificent website full of sublime writing, you'll go for one article and end up reading for hours.
We thought about putting Bale or Özil on our front page, but instead we went for the catering hut at Brandon United - http://t.co/rhYZKt9CSf— IBWM (@Inbedwimaradona) September 5, 2013
Home to Nick Harris and his "perpetually sceptical attempt to make sense of sport's relationship with money," @sportingintel is informed thinking which asks the questions of football's money men that you wish you'd thought of.
101 Great Goals @101greatgoals
The place to go to for all the very best goals and skills from across the globe showcasing all the best goals they can get their hands on, no matter the league. Posts the occasional blooper just for kicks also.
Sensational team goal with backheels in the build up: Wilder Medina (Barcelona SC) vs Deportivo Quito http://t.co/Pbvyr4852Q— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) September 23, 2013
Swiss Ramble @SwissRamble
A British ex-patriarch blogging from Zurich with regards the footballing business, each blog post explores its topic with a CSI-esque level of detail. Always thorough and always willing to answer tweets regarding his incredibly detailed offerings.
Highest English wage bills: MCFC £202m (2012), MUFC £181m (2013), CFC £176m (2012), #AFC £155m (2013), LFC £131m (2012), THFC £90m (2012).— Swiss Ramble (@SwissRamble) September 23, 2013
Don Garber @thesoccerdon
The Commissioner of Major League Soccer, a good follow for all things MLS in the present climate, particularly as the season reaches its climax and with the planned league expansion.
. @pan_janet Not a dream, but our vision...To be one of the top Leagues in the world by 2022— Don Garber (@thesoccerdon) July 29, 2013
Sky Sports News @SkySportsNews
The official twitter of the television channel, it tweets the news as soon as it comes in, without the need to witness a suited man standing in front of a giant iPad whenever the transfer window rolls round.
Paolo Di Canio sacked by Sunderland #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 22, 2013
The Opta family @OptaJoe & Others
Quick, focused analysis and illuminating statistical insights from a variety of leagues across the globe, the Opta family have proven themselves a great resource, no matter whether it's Joe, Franz, Jean or Jose.
20% - League leaders Arsenal have the best rate of converting shots into goals in the Premier League this season. Clinical.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 23, 2013
"The largest detailed football statistics website, covering Europe's top leagues and more" @WhoScored does exactly what it says on the tin; facts, facts and more facts.
Luis Suárez: Since joining, Liverpool have won just 37.8% of their Premier League games with Suárez starting, compared to 61.9% without him— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 23, 2013
Squawka Football @Squawka
Another wonderful site devoted to football statistics and analysis, covering a number of leagues across Europe, as well as Mexico and the United States. Offering player comparisons and making use of some wonderful graphical features, it makes for both interesting reading and colourful viewing.
Most key passes executed in Europe's top 5 leagues: Valbuena (28), Reus (20), Diego (17), Hunt (17), Trashorras, Totti & Ribery (all 16).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 24, 2013
Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney
London-based football writer whose own site, The Football Pantheon, attempts to properly rank football's greatest teams/players/moments and more. Offers plenty of intelligent thoughts and is always prepared to back them up.
*If* FAI are set on O'Neill, think they should just get it done for the Germany match. It's a 'free' game and time to work with squad [1/2]— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) September 23, 2013
Daniel Taylor @DTGuardian
Chief football writer for the Guardian and Observer. Highly informed—particularly with regards Manchester City and United—highly informative and mixes serious journalistic prose with intelligent personal insights well.
Hard not to feel sorry for Mata. First rumblings Mourinho had issue with him even before he arrived. Strange, to say the least.— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) September 21, 2013
Museum of Football @MueFootballHist
An aggregate of some of the best football matches since the 1950's, Museum of Football hosts a wonderful catalogue of full games and extended highlights, with plenty to sink your teeth into. A fantastic resource.
Paulo Freitas @Cyngeticus
A major authority on Brazilian football, Paulo Freitas is also the country's Head Researcher for the Football Manager series, as well writing for various publications. Tremendous depth of knowledge and always on hand to answer questions regarding all things Brasileiro.
For humour—much of it 18-plus—notBigSam is a hilarious parody account of the present West Ham United manager. Guaranteed to make you laugh in a way that you'd never tell your mother.
I'm delighted to confirm that Big Daddy Cool, Andy Carroll has passed his medical. I devised it myself.— notBigSam (@TheBig_Sam) June 18, 2013
Let us know your thoughts and additions in the comments below.