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Succession Planning

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  • 28 Sep 2017

    The security-opportunity fallacy

    It’s often suggested that a consequence of lack of managerial job security is a lack of opportunities for young players. After all, if a head coach is fearful of losing his job, why would he take on a perceived risk?

    However, the evidence suggests that this isn’t the case. In the big 5 European leagues, managers […]

  • 23 Mar 2017

    The opportunistic debut

    As we approach the final stretch of the European season, an increasing number of teams have fewer major placings for which to compete. With that comes an opportunity for young players to make their league debut, and hopefully with it a positive impression for the following season.

    It’s not unfair to suggest that these opportunities can […]

  • 02 Mar 2017

    The Leicester City problem

    Last week’s sacking of Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri evoked an understandably fervent response. Many felt that having won the league, the Italian deserved the opportunity to continue his tenureship, while others simply felt that in a results business he had failed to assure the club that he was still the right man for the […]

  • 23 Feb 2017

    A balancing act

    Squad-building is never a straightforward task; while accounting for size, you also have to consider cost, value and potential future performance.

    It’s also useful to consider the distribution of performance across the team; how good does our best player have to be relative to our tenth-best player, is there a cost to inequality in talent in […]

  • 15 Dec 2016

    Where should we loan him?

    Loaning out a young player comes with risk. There is no guarantee it will continue his development any better than staying at ‘home’, not to mention the uncertainties around putting him at the mercy of often unknown coaches, players and physios.

    However, without some risk there is often no reward, so the question turns to finding […]

  • 01 Dec 2016

    The overvalued asset

    Imagine that this winter your squad had a player who you believed to be overvalued. Perhaps he’s a “Match of the Day player” who you suspect doesn’t contribute as much as his highlights suggest. He might be a defender who makes last-ditch tackles that only give away corners, or an ageing player who is enjoying […]

  • 10 Nov 2016

    How many players do we need?

    Implicit in all the decisions around player trading and youth promotion is a prediction about the depth of squad needed to compete during the season. Some clubs hope to go deep in all competitions, others are content at prioritising the league.

    Given the average footballer’s annual pay is a deeply material cost to the club, it […]

  • 08 Sep 2016

    The evolution of Barcelona

    In May 2008, the forecast looked bleak for FC Barcelona. The Catalans had just finished the season 18 points off champions Real Madrid, who had sealed back-to-back titles for the first time in nearly two decades.

    We all know what happened next: Pep Guardiola was promoted from B team duties, led the club to two Champions […]

  • 05 Nov 2015

    The 20th player

    In 1984, Liverpool famously used just 15 outfield players in a 66-match season. 12 of those individuals played in over half of those matches, with just 3 fringe players coming in for cover.Football has unmistakably changed; large squads are now the norm and rotation is an accepted part of the game. However, teams still rely on a ‘core’ group of 10 outfield players competing in over 50% of possible league playing time, while the 15th most-appearing player on average plays about 25% of possible minutes.