The year is slowly but surely drawing to a close, the biggest tournaments are a rapidly fading memory, and many leagues temporarily close down for the holiday season, making it the perfect time to look back at the events of 2011 in pictures

Over the next few days, is proud to present four very special photo galleries. In part one, we focus on the people who make football the wonderful spectator sport that it is. They are sometimes described as a team’s twelfth man, and there are good reasons for that.

We are talking, of course, about the fans who flock to the stadiums round the world. They rise to acclaim their teams for courage, skill and determined performances. They cheer, applaud and praise their favourite players, getting behind them in good times and in bad. Their anthems, chants and songs are an expression of deep passion for the world’s favourite game.

So why not join us for a browse through our special photo galleries? Just click the link on the right.

You’ll be astounded by the colours and designs in the fans’ face-painting, and the hilarious and occasionally outrageous outfits. After all, football would be much more one-dimensional without creativity from the terraces.

Immerse yourself in the world captured by our top-quality photography, and revel in the uniqueness of true footballing fan culture. Click away, and enjoy!