Could this be the most laboured metaphor in football journalism?

The lights were still burning bright inside the Volkswagen offices surrounding Wolfsburg’s home as kick-off approached last night. In this so called “City of the Car” small armies toil long into the evening to devise bold new protoypes so it seemed somehow appropriate that Manchester United arrived configured along brave new defensive lines.

Here is my suggestion:

Many workers at Wolfsburg’s Volkswagen factory have been forced to find new jobs in street cleaning and other sectors of the service industry since the collapse of German car manufacturing in recent years, so it seemed somehow appropriate that Sir Alex Ferguson employed Michael Carrick as a sweeper in Manchester United’s defence last night.

Or perhaps:

Wolfsburg’s Kunstmusem was just closing its doors as I drove to the stadium last night to grab a Currywurst and a copy of the team sheet. Conceptual photographer and rumoured David Byrne squeeze Cindy Sherman is among the artists currently exhibiting work, so it seemed somehow appropriate that the Old Master of football himself, Sir Alex Ferguson, gave midfielder Michael Carrick a once in a lifetime opportunity in the centre of the Manchester United defence for the game.

Or even:

The German city of Wolfsburg is well known for its annual summer gardening festival, so it seemed somehow appropriate that all three of Manchester United’s goals last night should be scored by the resident garden gnome of the front bench, Michael Owen.

Between tortured opinion pieces like this and simple match reports becoming overgrown with ridiculously baroque writing, like…

It is implausible that Capello is conducting a vendetta but he is resolute in his refusal to extol Owen merely for scoring in some match or other.


It was not Cech’s sole moment of equivocation. The defects were all the more apparent when his opposite number Given was having so fulfilling an afternoon.

… I am on the verge of abandoning the Manchester Guardian as my number one go-to source of footballing news. Where to next?