Sachin Tendulkar has announced that he will retire from cricket, after a career in which he scored 100 international centuries. I often imagined what it would be like to be that good - but looking at the challenges he faced, I'm not sure I'd want to.
The Football Association is 150 years old this month - so, too, is the London Underground. But the similarities don't stop there.
What does it mean to call a tennis player a genius? Ed Smith reflects on his own career and asks - should Roger Federer just give up?
International football could be the purest of competitions, but the dominance of the global club brands, the bloated finals tournament and lack of surprise factor together with distaste for FIFA mean that it's increasingly becoming irrelevant.
"Many young people feel hopeless. And I don't think I ever felt that."
How often have we heard a manager say that the trouble with his star striker is that “his head is not in the right place”? Fergie frequently observed that today’s players are fragile.
Englishness finds a confident voice in sport, but has little cultural or political voice. Cameron and Miliband should not remain mute.
The real reasons for our economic, social and sporting woes is not unfettered immigration: it's bad management and dishonest politics.
Wenger is so miserable, he's beginning to make W H Auden look positively baby-faced. The manager of the German women’s team seems like she has a lot more to say.
The footballer deserves our compassion. Not cruel psychological abuse.
Sex doesn’t take up that much time, unlike football: you get 90 minutes, a chance to change ends, extra time and then often a penalty shoot-out. Football, it does put in your day.
Replace the word "yid" with any other racist hate term, and you'll see why the argument for keeping Spurs' "yid army" chant doesn't work.
It costs £400 plus VAT, but you do get your name in the programme and on the big screen.
It will take more than one weekend of footballers wearing rainbow laces to really tackle the problem.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote once: ‘There is nothing I hate more than a masculine man.’
Modest, confident and at ease with themselves - the deaths of Welsh rugby icon Cliff Morgan and the Irish poet Seamus Heaney have been a double blow, writes Jonathan Smith.
Hunter Davies' "The Fan" column
The footballer's triumph shows things are different for his generation.
Where once to be called talented or a "natural" was the highest praise, today sportsmen have to pretend success has nothing to do with innate ability - is it time to think again?
The boy from the ghetto has not merely become a great footballer - he has become a modern European fairytale.
It is obscene and absurd — but Martin Cloake can't stop watching.
Maybe fans should be standing <em>for</em> future football. Mobilising for something is more productive, if more difficult, than simply opposing.
Margaret Thatcher hated football - and sport in general - but her legacy to the game was to turn a generation of sports writers, who had previously dodged any analysis of their sports' significance, onto politics.
While we talk of "legacy", it’s starting to feel like what happened exactly a year ago this month not only hasn’t elevated disabled people, but is being used to trap.
From the archive: Football legend Danny Blanchflower on the 1963 Brazilian team after their appearance at Wembley, "prince and heirs" to the crown of world football.
Bill Shankly transformed Liverpool football club from second-flight also rans into giants. His resignation, after 15 years in charge, remains a riddle.
Ed Smith's "Left Field" column.
The prime minister responds to the suggestion that Russia's anti-gay laws mean Britain should refuse to take part in the Winter Olympics.
Forget mysterious dark matter and the inexplicable accelerating expansion of the universe; the bicycle represents a far more embarrassing hole in the accomplishments of physics.
By now his credit is all used up.