A never-ending story of success and failure, a constant series of heros and villains, a ceaseless stream of discussion points and what-might-have-beens. This is the football season. Teams play football matches. They try to win leagues and cups. They strive for promotion or to avoid relegation.
When the season is over, they sit down and have a rest, and then, a few weeks later, they do it all over again.
There's joy and there's pain, and there's crosswords.
Wycombe Wanderers recently won promotion into the Championship - a great achievement for such a small club. We used to live in High Wycombe so I paid more attention than usual to coverage of the celebration.
I went as far as designing a Wycombe Wanderers promotion season crossword - it shows all the players, the manager, the team name, nickname and stadium name. It's in team colours and with a print size of A3, it's big enough that you don't have to squint to see all the names!
It's a unique reminder of a special Wycombe Wanderers season, something that will last longer than the pull-out sheets you sometimes find in newspapers or magazines. There's space for a custom message too, so season-ticket holders could add something like their Adams Park seat number to the print - this makes a really personal reminder of the season. We think it's the little, personal details like this that will spark memories in years to come.
Leeds United won promotion to the Premier League a few days later so I designed a Leeds United crossword. The colour choices were harder than those for Wycombe because Leeds play in white, and white on a white background is not at all easy to read! A smattering of grey fixed the problem...
The beauty of a football team crossword is that there's enough room to mention ALL the players who contributed to a season, not just the handful of big names that usually get all the attention.
We include the name of every player who made an appearance in the league, F.A. Cup or League Cup. So that super-sub who only came on a few times towards the end of the season but who provided a much-needed pair of fresh legs gets a mention alongside the captain or the top goalscorer. Football is a team game, and the crosswords show the whole team.
Crosswords seem particularly appropriate for teams. The very nature of a crossword is that every word is interconnected with every other word, which is just the way that good teams work - everyone works together in an interconnected way for the good of the team. If you break the connections, you haven't got a crossword any more, in the same way that if you remove some of the players, you haven't got a team any more.
There's also a beauty in the rows and columns and corners of crosswords - every team has its own unique crossword design.
We didn't think that football teams and crosswords were a very obvious combination, but a couple of days ago, out of the blue, we had an order for a traditional crossword based around the non-league St Neots Town Football Club. The crossword had clues and answers all about the club, its history and its players. A lot of work (and research?) had obviously gone into creating it.
The creator hadn't just devised the clues and answers, they'd created the crossword design too - which made our job easier! We usually do the design for traditional crosswords but we can use an existing design if you send a picture to us.
It's always good to see people using our traditional crosswords for non-traditional uses, but a football team crossword is something we've never seen before. It's a fabulous gift for someone, about something they love.
We've now added football team crosswords as a product on our website. They're really easy to order. Just tell us the team name, the season and whatever personal message you want. We find out the rest.
Your personal message could be a line or two from your favourite chant or the name of the stand from where you most often watch matches. Or it could be the result of a particularly satisfactory victory against old rivals, a victory that you want to remember for a long, long time...