It might not be a vintage season in the league, where many of the capital's football clubs are looking nervously over their shoulders at relegation, but London seems determined to have at least one finalist in the first FA Cup showpiece at the new Wembley as yesterday's draw offered the possibility that as many as 44% of the fourth round matches (seven out of sixteen) could be played on our collective doorstep on the same weekend at the end of January.
As the Metropolitan police put locks on all the filing cabinets containing leave request forms and draw up plans for staggered kickoffs to facilitate a round London matchday marathon we know that four of those games are set in stone. Paddington should be full of Watford fans changing to the Hammersmith & City to visit West Ham while Lancashire coach firms will relish the prospect of Bolton and Preston fans fighting over their services to Arsenal and Crystal Palace respectively. Blackburn fans might be well advised to gamble on Queens Park Rangers beating Luton in their replay to stand any chance of getting a seat down to Shepherd's Bush.
If there are any spare places those coaches could do worse than stop off in Stoke should Fulham, as expected, beat Leicester in their replay a week tomorrow, though Nottinghamshire's operators will have to fight over the trade of wary Forest fans anticipating the kind of drubbing Chelsea dealt out to Macclesfield on Saturday. The least clear cut situation involves Barnet, who need to get past Colchester at Underhill tonight following Saturday's postponement before extending warm hospitality to either Peterborough or Plymouth.
Whatever happens, the afternoon of Saturday 27th in particular might present an excellent opportunity to stay in watching all those DVDs you got for Christmas. The boys in blue might be a bit busy.
Picture of a pair of Bow Street Runners via Commonorgarden's Flickr stream.