FA Cup Final: obsessing about Robert Huth's knee
There's the history, of course. The 148 years without a Cup Final, but frankly, like all history, that's bunk.
The FA Cup didn't even start till 1872, and then you can minus the five wartime finals and the one when Man Utd decided to go on holiday to South America. So in fact, Stoke have only failed to reach the final in 133 attempts, which isn't bad when you think about it.
I think about it a lot, and have done since 1969/70 when Stoke City laid its transforming hands on me and gave me the gift or disease or whatever it is that runs in the blood of football fans the world over.
I think about it every time the FA gets out their balls and velvet sacks (I'm aware of the subtext and stand by it) like conjurers at a dinner dance.
The ghost of the draw that I remember is still there, though the bags only get a cameo. But as I peer past Noel Gallagher in his jeans, I can still see those strange men of old in blazers and eye patches talking solemnly about the Football Association Challenge Cup.
To be fair to Noel, I thought he applied himself with great dignity, even adopting the great Ted Croker's haircut for the occasion.
For clubs like Stoke, for all clubs in fact, the draw is where hope is born and where it can die.
Of course, a 'good draw' is often nothing of the sort and us Stokies have seen enough defeats by the likes of Blyth Spartans, Hartlepool and Nuneaton to explain our fatalistic approach to life.
All football fans like to think they've had it worse than their peers and there's a peculiarly British competitiveness about which club and indeed fan has suffered the most.
The truth is we all suffer, and so we must, to enjoy our day in the sun. Now that the championship (Premier League, if you must) has been sequestered by rich interlopers and their puppet clubs, the Cup is where we mere mortals must look for our reward.
I am 48 years of age, and to quote my wife, 'a miserable old sod who struggles to find joy in anything'. But something miraculous has happened. I am full of excitement and life and optimism.
Stoke City Football Club means more to me and tens of thousands of Stokies than it should, but we can't help that. Football fandom, real football fandom, defies logic. It's deep and visceral and actually beyond logic. That's why we all shout so loudly when something seems to explain our lunacy. "That's why!" we cry, "That's why we go!"
This cup run is one such occasion. Sceptical wives, children, workmates and pundits say 'well done', and we bask in it.
We love the football too: the players, the goals, the tackles, the saves. We love each other: the comments, the songs and shouts and shared passion. To stand (and occasionally sit down) with the massed ranks of Stoke fans on Saturday will feel like the end of a journey (not a short, X Factor journey, but a proper slog over many years).
We'll bear witness to the beginning of something, or the end. I'm not quite sure which.
We deserve this, the players deserve this, the board deserves this, and Tony Pulis deserves this. I cannot let this go - my hours are filled with obsessive thoughts about Matty Etherington's hamstring, and Robert Huth's knee.
I have sleepless nights worrying if lads who stood with me at Millwall in the Full Members Cup, or at Southampton in the Simod, have tickets.
I pray - yes, pray - each evening for the torment that must be eating up Danny Higginbotham and Ricardo Fuller to ease. I neglect my work terribly, permanently distracted, like my teenage self staring out of the window thinking about Farrah Fawcett while Mr Ling fails to engage me in the Corn Laws.
Stoke-on-Trent deserves this. So often the butt of comedians' jokes, it deserves some dignity. I love this city and the people who live in it.
I'm proud to have been born here, and I imagine this is where I'll die, among people I understand. Funny, compassionate, blunt, to the point, and always up for a good time - oh what a party that would be!
I have nothing against Manchester City, but I have no room in my heart or thoughts for anyone but my family, my team and my city.
Supporting a team is like playing a game, only over a much longer period. There's a lot of hard slog, tons of blind alleys and plenty of pain, but every now and again there's something sublime and gorgeous to celebrate. Let's hope it happens Saturday.
Nick Hancock presents The Back End of Next Week, every Sunday at 11am, on 5 live