The time of year when printers take a battering

Listen carefully, and you can hear the sound of a chorus of printers whirring frenetically around all of England.
What has caused this mass of machinery into action, I hear you ask? Why, pray tell, it is the sound of journalists preparing their paperwork for a mass FA Cup swotting-up session.
Yes, hundreds of reporters more used to the more cosy climes of League One football grounds are being dispatched to some strange places this week – and they need to be prepared for that obligatory giant killing.
No one knows this more than me. My cheat sheets and long johns are packed for a trip to Fleetwood Town tomorrow – to cover the highly-likely Goliath-bashing twixt Walsall and the Blue Square Conference side.
I have been to many an FA Cup giant killing. For three seasons I was always dispatched to Middlesborough’s Third Round games with the certain knowledge I would be their jinx and they would be ousted by a lower-league side. Thankfully for Boro -I haven’t covered a FA Cup game of theirs for at least two seasons!
But I love FA Cup weekends. It means so much to so many. It is still the sliver of hope that leads many a cynic to believe that the romance isn’t yet dead in soccer.
Players are not the only ones that sweat on FA Cup day – journalists do too. We need to do extra work on FA Cup days, see. Afterall, we are dealing with teams which, unfortunately, we are probably unlikely to visit that often – but we need to sound like we have been watching them for 50 years.
Lazy journalists will always trade off the pattered old cliches that envelop Cup weekends. It is easy to write the archetypal ‘team full of builders’ story – much harder to understand the passion and skills that give those builders the competitive edge on that day. Especially when you are used to sitting in a half-decent press box.
My advice to all – Davids and reporters – is enjoy the moment and help each other.
An FA Cup giant killing tie can be exactly like a wedding day – it could be the best moment of your life or an absolute nightmare. But it will go really fast and you must savour every moment, because it may not come round again.
*By the way, having had a go at lazy journalists for the same old puns, I have already worked out my string of hackneyed comments just in case I do forget all I have learned about Fleetwood’s formation and football style. I apologise in advance for this!