The Importance of home grown players

August 6, 2013

“Over the past few years, spending on transfers and wages by football clubs has increased dramatically. 7 of the 10 most expensive transfers have taken place in or after 2009, 3 of them occurring in this (incomplete) transfer window. Higher fees, and the greater brand value of every star footballer has also led to an inflation in the wage rate for footballers. While this is all good news for the players, it gives the boardroom staff a right old head-ache. The higher costs lead to lower profits (if any), leaving a number of clubs closer to insolvency. In order to stem the rot, UEFA introduced Financial Fair Play, a scheme that prods clubs to live within their means. So, with a sort of cap enforced on their transfer spending, clubs are forced to look inwards for their supply of players, as a result of which, greater emphasis is suddenly being placed on youth academies, and academy products.” Outside of the Boot

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When The Beautiful Game Turns Ugly

June 6, 2013

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“VERONA, Italy — Right up until he started quoting Hitler and dropping N-bombs, my new friend was a great dude. I’ll call him The Hooligan. A more generous host would be hard to find. Soon after we met, he made sure we stopped at the one place in town that served Campari correctly. He speaks eight languages, and seemed nothing like the Hellas Verona fans I’d read about, the neo-fascist, neo-Nazi, racist thugs. The Hooligan insisted the Veronese just have a dark sense of humor and refuse to wear the yoke of modern political correctness. Now we are headed toward the terraces of the stadium. Soon I’ll be packed in with the hard-core fans, three people for every seat, chest to back, eyes burning from smoke bombs. Near the entrance to the stands, I ask The Hooligan to translate any chants hurled down at the players.” ESPN

Why are so many black ex-pros unable to land managerial jobs?
“What’s worse than being an unemployed black coach? Being an unemployed black coach who employers believe has a chip on his shoulder when it comes to race. The above became pretty obvious to me when I reached out to black ex-pros who have since gone — or tried to go — into coaching. If I wanted honesty, I couldn’t get on-the-record quotes. If you seek the answer to an age-old question — Why are black coaches so underrepresented in the English game? — and want straightforward views from certain people, you need to go on background.” ESPN (Video)

ESPN – Press Pass Extra: Italy hands out racism punishment (Video)


England’s World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore: 20 years gone, but never forgotten

February 24, 2013

“Across town at Wembley, setting for Moore’s finest hours, the flag of St George will fly at half-mast. A skilled surgeon operated on Moore’s colon in 1991 but the cancer would not yield. It spread to the liver. Moore never complained. He simply set about delaying its pitiless impact. Eventually, on Feb 15, 1993, England’s World Cup-winning captain released a statement, revealing his illness was terminal. Two days later he was at Wembley, commentating on England’s game against San Marino for Capital Radio, his collar turned up to hide his paleness. A week later, on Feb 24, 1993, Moore passed away. He was only 51.” Telegraph – Henry Winter


The Bundesliga in 2012 – A Statistical Overview

December 26, 2012

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“The end of the Hinrunde and this past week’s German Cup matches rounded off an action packed and interesting calendar year in German football. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund were the Bundesliga’s most talked about and dominant teams while Germany made all the headlines in the summer (some good, some bad) with their record breaking run of games and the contentious loss to Italy at the EUROs. Bild.de collected some of the most interesting stats of 2012 in the Bundesliga, ranging from the fastest goal scored, the quickest sending off, the most fouled players and much much more.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Everton 2-2 Liverpool: surprising levels of pressing, while Rodgers switches to a back three

October 30, 2012

“A frantic first half, followed by a more subdued second half. David Moyes was without Steven Pienaar so used Kevin Mirallas on the left, where he was the first half’s brightest player. Steven Naismith started on the right, while Marouane Fellaini returned behind the main striker. If looking for betting tips click here. In the absence of Glen Johnson, Brendan Rodgers fielded Andre Wisdom at right-back and Jose Enrique at left-back. Brad Jones was in for Pepe Reina. Liverpool stormed into a 2-0 lead, before Everton pulled it back to 2-2 shortly before half-time.” Zonal Marking


Total Football Comes To Loftus Road – The 1975/76 Season

August 28, 2012

“QPR fans disillusioned with their recent state of affairs (Four Year Plans, F1 moguls, narcissistic midfielders and the rest of it) will always hark back to the 1970s as the most glorious period in the club’s history. The pinnacle of this was the 1975-6 season, their ‘annus mirabilis’, in which Rangers finished runners-up in the First Division, to this day their highest ever finish.” In Bed With Maradona


The State of Analytics: Crosses “are not an efficient way to score goals”—Kuper

July 18, 2012

“Won’t be a full column this week, but I wanted to point readers to Opta Pro’s interview with Soccernomics co-author Simon Kuper. I’ve written in the past that the perception of Soccernomics as ‘a book on soccer analytics’ has had unfortunate consequences for the popular understanding of statistics in football, reducing it to a set of curious ‘freakonomics’ style tidbits that have little to do with how teams play but instead how many fans kill themselves during tournaments, or why England doesn’t win World Cups.” The Score