Saturday, September 12, 2009

Keep going Socceroos 2 English guys are backing you...

Preview: Why England Lose by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

Did you know Arsene Wenger has a master's degree in economics? And what has he learnt from it? Don't buy old players, buy in them their early 20s and sell them as soon as someone offers more than you think they are worth.

Another insightfull take from the Australian Financial Review:

'... the average proportion of English fans who are sure to watch their club next season: about half.' "Number's Up' AFR Review page 9

I read about this book in Friday's AFR Review in an extract from The Economist. Its full title is Why England Lose: and Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained.

English economists love writing about and trying to explain football. My view is that the gap in knowledge is from marketing strategists, but that is another story.

This book has different titles in different countries. I like the one to be published in the US in October that reads: 'Soccernomics: Why England Lose, Why German and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey and Even India are Destined to Become the New Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport. Gotta love that. Almost no need to spoil it by reading it.

Simon Kuper is a writer for the highly regarded (by me at least) Financial Times. His works include 'Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictors in Power.' And Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe in the Second World War'. And the 'Perfect Pitch' series of books on football.

Stefan Szymanski has written a stack economics books on football. The one I like the look of is called 'National Pastime: How Americans Play Baseball and the Rest of the World Plays Soccer'. Without having read it I feel it may explain 'how Australians play AFL and the rest of the world plays soccer'.

Publisher's HarperCollins take:
'"Why do England lose?" "Why do Newcastle United always buy the wrong players?" "How could Nottingham Forest go from winning the European Cup to the depths of League One?" "Penalties - what are they good for?" ... Written with an economist's brain and a football writer's skill, it applies high-powered analytical tools to everyday football topics. ... It's about looking at data in new ways. It's about revealing counterintuitive truths about football. It explains all manner of things about the game which newspapers just can't see. It all adds up to a new way of looking at football, beyond cliches about "The Magic of the FA Cup", "England's Shock Defeat" and "Newcastle's New South American Star".' As quoted at ABEBooks online.

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