Soccernomics by Kuper & Szymanski

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This is the sort of book that the traditional English manager would gladly use as a doorstop at the training ground, such are the challenges that it makes to the status quo. This is an analytical book which takes an economists perspective on various football topics.

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One such chapter shows that England arguably overachieve with our tendency to get knocked out in the quarter finals of most major tournaments. Another shows what many people have understood for a long time, that football clubs are unlike any other businesses, more like financial black holes, with top people influenced by customers who spend relatively little money, on an infrequent basis. Perhaps the most interesting chapter looks at the notion that penalties are a lottery, a tired cliche that is trooped out endlessly. Thankfully anyone that reads this book will realise that luck plays a limited role.

This is not an easy read, and some of the chapters can get a little bogged down by stats, but it is interesting to see some of the absurd ‘truths’ that have been adopted as gospel by football fans, players and administrators, through a purely economic eye.

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