Get the latest news and insights from 21st Club

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

Now Available

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

Changing the Conversation

Order Now

Createspace Amazon
  • 23 Nov 2017

    Kasparov’s Law

    In 1997, IBM’s chess-playing computer Deep Blue became the first machine to beat a world champion, in Garry Kasparov. Since then, computers have become part of the fabric of the game, competing in tournaments as well as providing training assistance for players.

    ‘Freestyle’ tournaments have also grown in popularity, where humans compete both with and against […]

  • 16 Nov 2017

    A temperature check

    If you wanted to go somewhere warm on holiday, which city would you choose: New York or Sydney?

    While Sydney is 6 degrees hotter on average over a year, no one would buy flights to Australia on this information alone. New York City is warmer from May to September, and Sydney warmer for the rest of […]

  • 09 Nov 2017

    The rise and fall of Chile

    Between 2013 and 2016, Chile were one of the most watchable and successful teams in world football. From qualifying for the 2014 World Cup with 5 wins in their last 6 matches, to being the width of the crossbar away from knocking out Brazil in the tournament proper, to consecutive Copa América triumphs, Chile were […]

  • 02 Nov 2017

    A zero-sum game

    There is an old (and frankly pretty weak) joke about two campers who are confronted by a bear. On assessing their predicament, one of the campers quietly starts to put on his trainers, removing his heavy walking boots in the process. The other asks, with incredulity, “surely you don’t think you can outrun that bear?”

    “I […]

  • 26 Oct 2017

    The right head coach

    Barely two months into the season, and ten men have already lost their jobs as head coach or manager of clubs in England, Spain, Germany and Italy’s top divisions. This level of turnover is now an accepted part of the game, despite it being a clear inefficiency.

    Recruiting a head coach is a tougher task than […]

  • 19 Oct 2017

    What’s the worst that can happen?

    Risk is one of the many excuses for failing to grant opportunities to young players in the first team. With ever increasing stakes, coaches often prefer the perceived reliability of experience at the expense of blocking the talent pathway. With average tenure hovering a little over 12 months, coaches are naturally inclined to focus on […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 21 Sep 2017

    The football exchange rate

    Football’s global reach means the sport is uniquely positioned as having many high-quality leagues dotted around the world. Therefore unlike in the NBA or NFL – which are effectively closed leagues – understanding how performance translates across leagues is one of the single biggest challenges a club can face.

    This is particularly true when looking […]