On Saturday afternoon, Wigan and Man City will lock horns in the most prestigious fixture in the football calendar. But it's also the most clichéd day of the season. It's almost a cliché to even mention FA Cup clichés. But here's the FA Cup final day bankers courtesy of @FootballCliches, to tick-off, bingo style as and when:
Wembley being "magnificent"
A stadium so steeped in cliché that not even knocking it down and spending £800m rebuilding it could do anything about it. Everyone on Cup Final day that's asked about Wembley will describe it as "magnificent", almost without exception.
"The hallowed turf"
The national stadium, of course, is equipped with that unique "energy-sapping" turf and "wide open spaces" that you definitely, definitely don't get in any other football ground. One wonders where the FA manage to get "hallowed turf" from and how much it costs to lay.
Foreign players joining in the fun
On Cup Final day, there's a tangible worry that the sizeable foreign contingent just won't get it. Reassuringly, one of them will be on hand to confirm that their first memory of The Greatest Cup Competition In The World is crowding round a tiny TV in Abidjan or Montevideo. Somehow, we doubt that Didier Drogba can recall Keith Houchen's diving header for Coventry in 1987...
The neverending build-up
Like Football Focus, people still watch the FA Cup build-up but aren't sure why. ESPN are going properly old-school with a TWELVE-HOUR marathon preamble - including an interview with the Wembley head chef, for some reason. Players and managers will be interviewed from shaky camera angles about "how much it all means to them", while a couple of Z-list celebrity fans of both clubs will be collared for their ill-informed thoughts on the match.
The Magic of the FA Cup™
We'll be informed that the cup final, sponsored by Budweiser, is being enjoyed by 17 billion people in 322 countries around the world. Nail-biting fans at the end will be picked out by the cameraman, as the cynics among us are challenged to "tell them that the FA Cup has lost its allure!" One quaint FA Cup tradition that nobody misses is the teams recording their official Cup Final song. The sight of twenty footballers singing reluctantly into the mic while Suggs or Chas and Dave gurn in front of them - that's "magic", is it? Meanwhile, we all get misty-eyed about the stirring pre-game rendition of Abide With Me - a song nobody knows the words to.
The big day out
What possesses someone to make a tin-foil FA Cup? When did jester hats become the headwear of choice for the cup final ticket-holder? Unfortunate ITV and ESPN roving reporters will be forced to stalk Wembley Way to ask fans at random for their score predictions, including (and we guarantee this) a small child who will be too shy to provide any sort of worthwhile pre-match insight, apart from confirming their age.
The defenestrated form book
People still get slightly offended when cup finals aren't seven-goal thrillers, as they peer out of their windows for any sign of the "form book". The co-commentator will tell us that "the game needs a goal", as if one of the teams are supposed to indulge the occasion by just letting one in. If the game remains "cagey", the neutrals will be compensated by the possibility of penalties, popularly described as a "lottery", even though it's nothing of the sort.
101 inappropriate things to do with the trophy
The final whistle goes but, before anyone can prance around with the lid on their head, they must first face the post-match interrogation. Victorious players will be asked if they can "put it into words", which we all know will be impossible. Since Dennis Wise pioneered the practice after the 2000 final, the winners are obliged to take their entire family up the (count them) 107 steps to lift the Cup.
Images: Rex/Getty/Flickr Commons