Our view

The illusion that we understand the past fosters overconfidence in our ability to predict the future
DANIEL KAHNEMAN – Author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Changing the Conversation
21st Club presents a collection of insights for football club boardrooms

Changing the Conversation

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  • 19 May 2017

    The breadth-depth compromise

    In an ideal world we would scout every footballer on the planet and have full knowledge of each player’s suitability for our club. However, limited resources mean we have to strike a compromise between the breadth and depth of our search:Prioritise breadth: by scouting many players, we reduce the risk of missing out on talent, […]
  • 11 May 2017

    The biggest bang for your buck

    Finding the balance between what we want and what we can afford is a key part of player recruitment. Often our grandiose summer plans are left unfulfilled by the time the new season arrives, with necessary compromise having thwarted our ambitions.But there are some simple things that we can do to maximise the performance returns […]
  • 04 May 2017

    The undeserving champion

    “We need in football this type of luck,” said Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp of Emre Can’s improbable goal against Watford on Monday. A loss for Liverpool would have cut their chances of a top four finish to 62%; a little more than a coin flip. As it was, Liverpool’s win gave them a 90% chance […]
  • 27 Apr 2017

    Breaking the cycle of reactivity

    Given that the average managerial tenure in the English Football League is just 1.3 years, we should be constantly monitoring the availability and suitability of potential future managers or head coaches.Even if a club has no immediate intention of changing their manager, coaching turnover is high across football and it pays to be ready for […]
  • 20 Apr 2017

    Rating our scouts

    Player recruitment is a process that should ideally combine objectivity and subjectivity. Both aspects, however, should regularly come under suitable scrutiny and review: we should question whether we are looking at the right data, and we should question the predictions of our scouts.While the former can require detailed statistical checks, the latter needn’t be an […]
  • 13 Apr 2017

    On protecting that lead

    Pep Guardiola said that his failure to convince his Manchester City players to attack in Monaco was the reason for their recent Champions League elimination. “I tried to convince them in all the meetings we had to come here, try to attack and score,” said Guardiola. “My mistake was being not able to convince them […]
  • 06 Apr 2017

    The impact manager

    We know from our research that, in the long run, managerial changes on average make little difference to the performance of a team. That isn’t to say, however, that smart hires can’t turn a struggling team around.When we look through our database of managers who did improve performance in their first 20 matches in charge, […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]