I’ve been giving a little thought to what I like and dislike about football match reports.

The best ones translate like an impressionist painting; expressing the feel of a game without becoming bogged down in the minutiae of corner counts and possession. Chronological reporting or (more crass) obvious bias are the worst and I generally find that last gasp equalisers or late winners skewer the report as (I guess) it’s mostly written by the final whistle and balanced towards the result after 85 minutes or so.

The stretched analogy is another process which irritates me. At its best, say Stuart Hall fixing on Imperial Rome or a Russian Circus and wrapping his report around it, you’re carried along in the slipstream. Delivery plays a part of course, but others stretch the theme until it snaps under tenuous pressure. I recall a Bradford City report from the Sunday Times incorporating Peter Mandelson, the US election and Angus Deayton. The game itself barely got a mention and Bradford were relegated that day.