Writing stories comes naturally to Scunthorpe United keeper Steve Mildenhall – both on and off pitch
Steve Mildenhall knows the value of a good story better than most in his profession.
And Scunthorpe United's new shot-stopper almost scripted the perfect one for himself on his Iron debut.
Will Grigg's late consolation was the only blot on the Millwall loanee and Sports Journalism and Broadcasting student's copy book in a morale-boosting 4-1 win at Walsall on Tuesday night.
Given his degree, and his way with words, the vocal and chatty 34-year-old is well versed in writing headlines.
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Though having previously not played since February, it is with a ball at his feet rather than pen in hand that he prefers to do the honours.
The past few months at The Den have, Mildenhall explains, been difficult to cope with.
It is difficult to imagine given his bubbly personality, but he has been in need of some encouragement from former Scunthorpe and current Millwall goalkeeping coach Kevin Pressman.
"To be honest, it's been a difficult couple of years since I moved to Millwall," said the ex-Grimsby Town custodian, who signed a month's loan deal at Glanford Park this week.
"I got in last year, played about 20 games then unfortunately got an injury.
"Up until moving to Millwall, my whole career from the age of 21 or 22, I've been first choice and been playing.
"So to go that length of time and then be stop-start over the last 18 months or two seasons, it's been very difficult.
"I've never been someone who's happy just to sit on the bench or sit on the sidelines, I don't see the point in that.
"Kev's been brilliant with me these last three months when I've not been getting a look-in to play.
"He's been brilliant with the training and keeping me motivated, keeping me from falling into depression, I suppose.
"As many players will tell you, there's nothing worse than not playing.
"That's why I'm very thankful for the opportunity to come here and play some football."
So, does he feel a little for Sam Slocombe in that respect, the man who he has replaced in the Iron goal?
"Without a shadow of a doubt," said Mildenhall.
"I've been a young lad, I started playing regularly when I was 22, so I know exactly the sort of situation and it is hard."
After showing great promise last season, Slocombe found himself the first victim of the Brian Laws era following Saturday's 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Gillingham.
Only a few days later, his replacement was completing the paperwork, with Laws explaining he felt the one-time Bottesford Town keeper was in need of a rest.
"All keepers are in the union, we all know what it's like," Mildenhall continued.
"People always think it's very cut-throat between goalkeepers because there's only one of you. We all want to play, but the fact is we've all been in that position, we've all made the same mistakes, so we understand each other's plight.
"And I do for him.
"But he's a young lad, he's only 24, he's got absolutely donkeys years left in him.
"Hopefully he just uses it as a learning curve and experience for him.
"They do say you've got to be bonkers to be a keeper and you definitely do.
"You can be a centre forward, miss six and score one and they love you; you can be a keeper, save seven and miss one and all they'll remember is that one.
"You've just got to be thick skinned."
Sounds like good practice then, for being a journalist.
Mildenhall has already had a taste of life on the other side of the dictaphone as he looks to broaden his horizons.
"At the moment, I'm into my second year of a Sports Journalism and Broadcasting degree through the PFA at Staffordshire University," he said.
"It's been very interesting and I'm enjoying it.
"It can give you a different perspective of games as well, when you're looking at it with that hat on.
"It's my final year now so it gets down to the nitty gritty.
"There's one small law exam I have to do but other than that it's just big projects.
"I've got a 10,000 word paper that's got to be in by April on any chosen subject within sport, so I'm doing a piece on football in debt. Then there's a couple of other ones.
"I've got to have a law paper in in January of 3,000 words.
"I think it's about 20,000 words I've got to get done for this year and about 300 hours work experience.
"I've been working at Millwall's press department doing stuff there in my time off and last year I worked at the South London Press, the local paper down there, getting experience.
"It's hectic but it's nice because at times, especially as you get older, you realise we do live, breathe, eat, drink football.
"Sometimes it's nice to be able to go home and not sit there and completely dwell on football."
And that's not the end of it. There is likely to be still one more degree to come as the man who doesn't like to plan too far ahead tries to add a few more strings to his bow.
"I'm going to do my coaching badges, I'd love to be a goalkeeping coach but I'm just trying to give myself as many options as I can," Mildenhall added.
"They also do a Sports Science degree, so once I've got this one done I'll maybe take a year's break and then look at doing another one.
"It's lucky that doing this degree, when you're dealing with written word and English, it can open up other doors for you, like in PR, agency work and all things like that.
"I wouldn't like to pigeonhole myself with what road I would like to go down with it. It can give me options afterwards for different avenues."
Not that Mildenhall is thinking of retiring any time soon you understand.
"That's the lucky thing for keepers," he continued as the words keep flowing.
"At 34, people will say you're still a spring chicken nowadays.
"Hopefully I might have another eight or 10 years left in me," he added with a chuckle.
Whether that will be the case in south London remains to be seen.
The Swindon-born stopper refuses to be drawn on his Millwall future, preferring instead to focus on the here and now.
He has been inundated with welcoming messages from Scunthorpe fans on Twitter, and hopes he can repay their kindness on the pitch.
"It was very, very nice on Sunday night. Many people were sending me a warm welcome," he added.
"I thanked them then and I thank them again for that.
"Hopefully I can do them proud and come in and help. And hopefully they won't give me too much stick!"