There's nothing like that feeling as a football supporter of rolling up at Wembley Stadium to see your team play in a cup final.

But for those involved in organising a major event such as this weekend's Carling Cup Final, it really is nothing like just rolling up on the day!

Ever wondered how it is decided which end of the stadium the participating teams' supporters will be allocated, who sorts out the food for the players and managers on the day, and even how the Carling Cup trophy is retrieved from the previous year's winners ready to be handed over in the Royal Box?

That is where Keirina Rowland, The Football League's Events Officer, and her team come in. Although we are now just days away from this year's final, which sees Liverpool taking on Cardiff City on Sunday, planning for the 2012 showpiece occasion really kicked off back in October of last year.

Keirina and her colleagues began internal discussions regarding the stadium configuration and pricing strategies before meeting with officials from Wembley Stadium to discuss matters such as ticket allocations. Then in December things stepped up with an initial planning meeting involving The League, Wembley and the Metropolitan Police - all before even the semi-finalists were known.

"That took place in the first week in December," she explained. "And then following the completion of the quarter-finals we held a meeting for the semi-finalist clubs, in the second week in December.

"It's an opportunity for us to inform the clubs about how the day will run operationally, what we expect of them in the build-up, how many tickets they've got, how they are allocated and how they should sell them. It also gives them a chance - if they've not been to Wembley before - to have a look around behind the scenes.

"It tends to be the club secretaries, a member of the ticketing department, you might get a chief executive coming along, maybe a sales and marketing person because of the hospitality and merchandise element, and you would normally get a member of the safety or stadium management team attending."

The sheer depth of planning required to stage an event like the Carling Cup Final necessitates that everything has to start early and once the tournament is at the semi-final stage, the final itself is less than three months away.

That's why representatives of all four semi-finalist clubs are required for the meetings, though ultimately of course only two clubs will make it through to Wembley. And once the identity of those clubs is known, following the completion of the second legs of the semi-finals, the wheels are in motion even more so.

Keirina continued: "As soon as we know who the teams are we start sending them more detailed information regarding ticketing, we want to know where to send the tickets to, how they will be selling their allocation of tickets and when they intend to have them on sale, strategies such as that.

"Following the semi-finals we will finalise our early discussions on club colours which will have taken place at the semi-finalists meeting, we ask them about catering for the team, and we'll confirm they're clear as to arrangements for the hospitality lounges and access for family and club guests.

"We enforce what we have mentioned at the meetings and make sure we extract the information from them. Then it's a case of chasing and checking it, and continuing that process if we need to, for everything from how they're seating their guests in the main hospitality lounge, The Wembley Suite, to making sure that they've put their order in for the team's post-match meal."

And even though the new Wembley Stadium has been open since 2007, some clubs are still finding out about what's required for the big occasions having never been there before.

Liverpool, for example, are yet to visit the venue, whereas their opponents Cardiff are making their fourth visit across from South Wales after featuring in the semi-final and then final of the FA Cup in 2008, and the 2010 npower Championship Play-Off Final.

That, says Keirina, helps with planning as the Bluebirds are more familiar with some of the operations and requirements of a team reaching a cup final.

But it doesn't stop there, as thought then has to go into further matters like each club's allocation of tickets for the final, and where their supporters will be housed on the day.

Plenty of planning has to go into that too and it's not just a case of tossing a coin to see which club has which end of the stadium.

"That's all decided at the semi-finalists meeting stage," said Keirina. "In terms of ends that's more a decision between Wembley and the Metropolitan Police based on transport links and available parking.

"For example, it makes sense with Cardiff coming in from the west and all of the incoming transport links that their supporters may use, that they would be assigned the west end of the stadium.

"Whereas with Liverpool, looking at the stations their fans will be travelling in to it makes sense for them to be positioned in the east.

"You would also consider the number of coaches a club might bring, and the parking, and Wembley put together a travel plan for us.

"The east end of the stadium has a slightly larger allocation of tickets, only very slight, so you might look at who is going to bring the biggest support if the teams are coming in from the same direction.

"The only time we toss a coin is to decide who gets to wear a home kit in the final (if there's a clash). We don't toss a coin for anything else.

"The dressing rooms are literally sorted on the ends the clubs have been allocated ticket-wise. There are no home or away dressing rooms, and when collecting the medals and trophy at the end of the match, the teams will go up the appropriate set of stairs so that they come across to face their own supporters."

Even in the days leading up to the final, Keirina and her colleagues are still working hard to make sure that everything is in place and ready to run smoothly on the day.

Whether it's liaising with clubs on matchday operations, talking to Wembley Stadium officials about catering and charity collections, and even making sure the medals are ordered and the trophy has been retrieved from the previous winner, nothing is left to chance by The League's events team.

And when the day itself comes around, Keirina's reward for all of her efforts is to not even see a ball being kicked!

"Dave Cookson [Competitions Manager] and myself are downstairs in the event office for the whole day because there are so many things going on, that if anything comes in on the day we are there to act as troubleshooters.

"A successful event means having all of the plans in place to deal with any situation that may arise, put together in a timely manner and executing them as smoothly as possible, so that if anything unexpected arises on match day you have the ability and resources to deal with it.

"Even if something catches you out on the day, providing you've made those plans and the provisions are in place everything can go off without a hitch."

And once it's all over, the whole process is reviewed from start to finish to see what can be improved upon and taken forward for future events.

"We have an initial debrief an hour after the final whistle with key people from each area within

the team, and we will also have a representative of Wembley Stadium there," said Keirina.

"They will feed to us information from their perspective and we do the same from ours, and we will liaise to make sure that if there are any problems they are rectified in time for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final, or we'll take it through and I will put them in my debrief document for next year. In planning the following year's event I'll constantly review this debrief document to make sure we've got all the plans in place to ensure any previous problems do not become an issue again."