Back in the days before the ravages of TV schedules dominated our beloved game the times of FA Cup draws were enshrined on the brows of the country's football supporters.
I certainly used to have my ear glued to Radio 2 (long before the enlightened days of Radio 5 Live) to catch the draw for the later rounds of the cup, religiously and piously drawn at 12:30 on the Monday lunchtime after the last round had been played on the Saturday before.
One round, however, had its own special and sacred slot. The FA Cup Third Round draw was always at 5:30pm on the Saturday afternoon following the Second Round games. On those occasions when you were travelling home triumphantly from a Second Round victory (or away draw) the resulting cup draw itself could prove to be one of the highlights of the season. Remember December 1984?
'Plymouth Argyle or Hereford United...will play...Number 1...Arsenal'; resultant mass hysteria amongst all the United fans on their way back from Home Park.
Mind you, I recall the other side of the coin - with all the big guns in the hat being sent to Scunthorpe is more than a little disappointing. I also remember thinking 'serves you right' when Enfield were drawn at Port Vale as we crawled away from an abject defeat in 1980.
When the Third Round draw was first moved due to the dictats of TV, its mystique disappeared. There would be no more huddling around the radio on a Saturday night or Monday lunchtime; the gravitas of Sir Bert Millichip's voice gave the draw extra weight, being able to see the old crumbles of the FA had the opposite effect. How can these men run our beautiful game?
Now its a see-through plastic tumbler with Jim Rosenthal & Co.
As in so many things imagination proved better than reality.
The Carrot Cruncher