Sir Alex Ferguson and Football's Most Famous Racehorse Owners and Trainers
With Cheltenham Festival ready to explode in a shower of Guinness and betting-fueled glory, we take a look at some of the more famous footballing faces to involve themselves with the show.
There's long been a connection between footballing presence and racehorses, so who are the most notable figures to partake in the event?
Enjoy the rundown!
Sir Alex Ferguson
We start with Sir Alex Ferguson, legendary manager of Manchester United and winner of cups and leagues galore.
The Scot took up horse ownership whilst still in charge of the Red Devils and has carried it into his retirement, with his most famous stallion being The Rock of Gibraltar, of course.
John Magnier and JP McManus
John Magnier and JP McManus are both footballing and horse racing men.
The two entered a bitter dispute with Sir Alex Ferguson, as detailed by Sam Wallace of The Independent, over the ownership rights of The Rock of Gibraltar. At the same time, they collectively owned 30 percent of Manchester United shares pre-Glazer.
Michael Owen has stables in the North of England which many other names on this list utilise for their own horses.
The former Liverpool and Manchester United man's most famous horse is probably Brown Panther, who won the 2011 King George V Stakes at Ascot in style.
Wayne Rooney was a disastrous racehorse owner and duly called time on the role in December 2013 after winning just a single race.
The Manchester United forward bought Pippy and Switcharooney for a total of £126,600, per BBC Sport, but the former managed to win just one (low-level) race, while the latter failed entirely.
Joey Barton has a number of horses and appears to have a serious passion for the activity.
He purchased the daughter of the 2007 Epsom Derby winner Sir Percy, as per Nigel Atkins of The Mirror, co-owns Crying Lightning with Claudio Pizarro and has My Propeller and Little Garcon too.
Joe Cole's name has slipped into the mire with regard to football but he holds a passion for another sport and owns a stake in it too.
He was pictured by The Daily Mail at Aintree races in 2011 enjoying a victory as his pride and joy galloped in first, but that hasn't happened too often since.
Harry Redknapp might be busy managing Queens Park Rangers' promotion push to the Premier League, but he's always got time for a horse race.
The former Spurs man has suffered equine tragedy in the form of two horses dying over the last two years, with Arry's Orse succumbing to a heart attack and Bygones in Brid sustaining a fatal injury on a hurdle at Taunton.
Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman
Former Liverpool duo Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman formed a joint venture called The Macca and Growler Partnership after they retired.
Seebald, the company's most successful horse, won the 2003 Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Celebration Chase under elite jockey Tony McCoy, who has also ridden some of their other horses.
Alan Shearer part-owns a number of horses, including Justonefortheroad and Akilak, as part of the Pontoon Partnership.
None are known to be top-tier horses, but Shearer has seen a few shock wins during his time in the sport.
Niall Quinn couldn't be further entrenched in the horse racing game if he tried.
His father would take him to events as a boy, and he's married to the niece of 10-time Irish champion flat jockey Johnny Roe.
His horses are named after Irish sporting legends such as Alex Higgins (Hopping Higgins) and Michelle Smith de Bruin (Goldengirl Michelle).
Willie McKay is a prominent footballing agent, holding clients such as Joey Barton and El-Hadji Diouf, but dabbles with horse racing too.
Names of the horses McKay owns include Catalyze, Befortyfour, Alpha Tauri and Majuro.
Mick Channon enjoyed a successful career with Southampton and England as a striker and has gone on to become one of the most revered trainers in the horse racing profession.
He runs stables in West Ilsley, has over 200 horses to train and saw over 100 win in a single year in 2002.
Alan Ball was one of many former footballers to train a horse with the aforementioned Mick Channon, and it is believed he was preparing to go to the West Ilsley stables before tragically dying of a heart attack in his garden in 2007.
Ball was the youngest member of the 1966 FIFA World Cup-winning England squad.
Kevin Keegan grew up in Doncaster, home of the prestigious St. Ledger Stakes, and became initiated into horse racing philosophy from an early age.
At first he would wash the cars of the rich men attending the races as a boy, but he kept the passion close to his heart and became an owner himself later on.
Francis Lee holds the record for most penalties won and scored in a season and enjoyed a largely successful playing career with Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City.
He moved into the paper business, became a millionaire and was the Citizens' chairman for four years until he stepped down to pursue other interests.
All the while he was renowned as a very successful horse trainer.
Paul Scholes has circumvented the horse racing game for some time, either partaking in a little gambling or a little business either way.
He joint-owns Market Avenue Racing Club with Mike Wood and won £240,000 over two days betting on Howard Johnson horses in 2009.
Micky Quinn, a former Newcastle United and Portsmouth striker, is now both a horse trainer and a national radio host for talkSPORT.
He's done well to overcome an RSPCA ban for neglecting three horses and has relaunched himself in the field.