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  • 12 Oct 2017

    The motivated player

    This week, Arjen Robben retired from international football. With the Netherlands having failed to qualify for the World Cup, Robben will finish on 96 caps and will therefore not become the 9th Dutchman to reach a century of national appearances.

    History tells us that this is unusual: of 52 now-retired players to have reached 90 caps […]

  • 14 Sep 2017

    Bean bags and sleeping pods

    The ultimate goal for any company – in or outside of football – is to achieve the highest possible returns for the lowest possible cost. A key factor in delivering this has been the ability to attract and retain better talent than your competitors.  This is perhaps more true of sport than any other industry […]

  • 31 Aug 2017

    The rule of thumb

    Following the 2008 financial crash, Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane looked into what factors caused the crisis. He discovered that breaching the regulations set out in Basel II – a complex 347-page document that attempted to ensure banks remained safe – proved a less effective predictor of failure than a crude rule of […]

  • 17 Aug 2017

    Everything else is just noise

    Thinking clearly under pressure was one of Sir Clive Woodward’s favourite mantras as coach of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning side. In order to ensure his players were able to make the right calls when the heat was on, Woodward sought to recreate pressurised scenarios so that his team had already practised the thought processes […]

  • 29 Jun 2017

    Definitely probably

    In 1964, the CIA’s Sherman Kent tried to bridge the gap between ‘poets’ and ‘mathematicians’ when discussing the likelihood of certain events. He proposed that a phrase like ‘probable’ should represent an event with a 75% chance of taking place, while a phrase like ‘we doubt’ should be around a 30% chance.

    His study inspired a […]

  • 29 Mar 2017

    The distant GM

    The ability to remain objective and view information dispassionately is central to any robust decision-making process. At 21st Club we frequently expound the benefits of getting an ‘outside view’ when setting strategic objectives or making other major decisions. But what if clubs went further and more fully incorporated the role of ‘the outsider’ into their […]

  • 15 Mar 2017

    Taking the long road

    Being a listed company has many benefits – easy access to capital, for example, and an ability to spread risk among a wider group of investors. But listing can also change a business’ priorities as the share price morphs from a useful barometer of market sentiment to a millstone around the neck of CEOs whose […]

  • 09 Mar 2017

    Talking the talk

    The football industry is going through a period of change in which establishing joined-up football services off the pitch is a key strategic goal and often a major logistical challenge. To be able to succeed in this respect and introduce the new ideas that are central to its advancement requires a certain bravery on the […]