Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Soccernomics, Part 1

Great book. Highly recommend it.

The book opens up with a breakdown of the English National Team. Based on their criteria, England actually over-performs. Nevertheless they explain the fans expectations:

Why England Loses and Other Win:

Phase 1: Pretournament:
Certainty that England will win the World Cup

Phase 2: During the tournament
England meets a former wartime enemy

Phase 3: The English conclude that the game turned on one freakish piece of bad luck that could happen only to them

1950 US goal
1986 hand of god
2002 Ronaldinho’s free kick
2006 Rooney getting sent off

Phase 4: Moreover, Everyone Cheated

Phase 5: England is knocked out without getting anywhere near lifting the cup

Phase 6: The day after elimination, normal life resumes

Phase 7: A scapegoat is found

1998 Beckham
2006 C. Ronaldo

Phase 8: England enters the next World Cup thinking it will win it

They discuss in some detail the 12 Main Secrets of the Transfer Market

• A New Manager Wastes Money; don’t let him

• Use the wisdom of Crowds

• Stars of recent World Cups or European Championships are overvalued; ignore them

• Certain Nationalities are overvalued

• Older players are overvalues

• Center forwards are overvalued; goalkeepers are undervalued

• Gentlemen prefer Blondes; identify and abandon “sight based prejudices”

• The best time to buy a player is when he is in his early 20’s.

• Sell any player when another club offers more than he is worth.

• Replace your best players even before you sell them.

• Buy players with personal problems, and then help them deal with their problems.

• Help your players relocate.

The authors cite the Nottingham Forest team of Brian Clough and the current cycle of Lyon as great examples of how to build and maintain a team.

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