In a week that saw Bayern and Dortmund brush aside Spanish giants Barcelona and Real and all but secure an all-German Champions League final, the topic of player development has inevitably resurfaced.
Last month, tributes came flooding in for Bobby Moore, as the football world paid homage to one of football’s greatest ever players on the 20th anniversary of his passing. Moore of course led England to World Cup success on home soil in 1966 and Bobby Charlton recently described Moore as “a born captain, a leader”.
I’ve only ever had the pleasure of watching (on video) Moore play one game – the ’66 Final against Germany (more on that in just a moment) – but it seems to me that Continue reading
You heard it here first – Google and Harvard are wrong; the sexiest job of the 21st century will in fact be the Data Artist – not the Data Scientist.
Bear with me… Continue reading
Earlier this month, Deportivo La Coruña became the latest club to enter administration after failing to reach an agreement with the Spanish tax authorities and with the struggling La Liga club revealing that it had debts of nearly €100 million. It was another stark reminder of the financial fragility that pervades football today and how quickly a club’s fortunes can turn sour.
Even the younger generation of fans will Continue reading
Howard Wilkinson has always been one to push the envelope when it comes to innovation in football. As we set up base at St George’s Park (The FA’s National Football Centre which Howard himself first proposed nearly 15 years ago) to discuss the future of the game, he’s at it again:
“So,” he begins his challenge “if the passing success rate in the Premier League 10 years ago was 74% and now it’s 86%… in another 10 years time, we’ll have a perfect passing game?!” Continue reading
In Part I, I outlined some of the challenges inherent to recruiting players during the January window, and promised to offer some suggestions around how the application of data can enhance the task.
So here are a few ideas, and perhaps an insight into some of the work already being undertaken by the Technical Scouts. Continue reading
I haven’t read the morning papers, but I imagine the back pages are filled with speculation around Messrs Walcott, Villa, Lampard and Ronaldo and awash with clichés of ‘possible movers and shakers’ and clubs posed to ‘break open the war chest’ of funds. Despite the media’s best efforts to whip up a transfer gossip frenzy, history tells us that the majority of deals don’t happen until the final day of the window (60% of the £225m spent in January 2011) and only 8% (21 of the 253 transfer predictions) of last year’s transfer gossip reported by the BBC actually materialised. For this reason, one cliché that does seem appropriate is Sir Alex Ferguson’s dubbing of this time of year as “silly season”.
So we can all just rest easy for a few weeks until Jim White whips up the Sky Sports ‘deadline day’ crescendo? Well, not quite. Continue reading
I recently read a quote from Stephen Francis that got me thinking. For those not familiar with Francis, he is the phenomenally successful Head Coach of the MVP Track and Field Athletics Club in Jamaica, which has produced the greatest ever crop of athletics sprinters – Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Asafa Powell to name but a few. Francis is a big believer in the ‘recruit for attitude, train for skill’ philosophy, and has been quoted as saying of his athletes:
“I want to know their stories. I want to know what these people are all about and how they became who they are”.
The potential to adapt this concept – understanding the story behind a players’ development – to football is something that really resonated me. Continue reading