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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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  • 21 Jun 2018

    The value of a World Cup goal

    As James Rodriguez’s volleyed shot flew past Fernando Muslera in the Uruguay goal four years ago, the football world instinctively knew he had earned a move to one of Europe’s superclubs. Barely three weeks later, James was unveiled as a Real Madrid player, for a cost of €76m before his first pay cheque.

    We all know […]

  • 14 Jun 2018

    How to forecast the World Cup

    Predicting the outcome of the World Cup is difficult. There aren’t that many international matches, and the squads are constantly changing anyway. At 21st Club, we have two different approaches for forecasting international competitions.

    Our League of Nations model incorporates results from national team matches, including tournaments, qualifiers and friendlies, to estimate how good every national […]

  • 07 Jun 2018

    From Russia with Löw

    While clubs from across the world will be scouting players during the World Cup – perhaps mistakenly believing that big game performance is a key mark of a player’s quality – we think the tournament a good opportunity to track head coach performance.

    National team coaching isn’t the easiest task; you have limited time with the […]

  • 31 May 2018

    From prediction to decision

    Back in August, like fans and pundits across the world our UK football department sat down and made predictions for the Premier League season. We each wrote down how many points we thought each team would get, giving an overall predicted league table.

    It would be easy to forget about these and say that we knew […]

  • 17 May 2018

    Was Arsène Wenger unlucky?

    Arsène Wenger’s postmortem had already been written years before he actually announced his departure from Arsenal. As the conventional wisdom goes, he had an excellent first 8 seasons, winning 3 league titles, but then lost his way and was never again able to make Arsenal credible contenders for the league title.

    However, here at 21st Club […]

  • 10 May 2018

    The easiest loss to take

    Spot the link between club, person and season:

    Borussia Dortmund and Shinji Kagawa (2012-13)

    Atlético Madrid and Radamel Falcao (2013-14)

    Juventus and Antonio Conte (2014-15)

    Atlético Madrid and Arda Turan (2015-16)

    Juventus and Paul Pogba (2016-17)

    Liverpool and Philippe Coutinho (2017-18)

    The answer, obviously: the player or coach left that club during or at the start of that season. Eagle-eyed readers will […]

  • 03 May 2018

    Changing the food chain

    With unprecedented levels of inequality in football, a clear hierarchy of both clubs and leagues has been established. While between 1986 and 1988 clubs from Romania, Sweden, Scotland and Belgium were represented in European finals alongside clubs from the continent’s bigger countries, between 2016 and 2018 pretty much all spots have been reserved for teams […]

  • 26 Apr 2018

    A Rooney Rule

    In England there is increasing discussion about implementing the Rooney Rule, the NFL policy that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coach roles. The rule has proved a success in the NFL, and would likely go some way to correcting the underrepresentation of ethnic minority coaches in England.

    One of the reasons the policy […]

  • 19 Apr 2018

    The best player we know

    Imagine the scene. You’ve just announced your new signing. The social media team have outdone themselves with the most creative announcement yet and there are photos of the player holding aloft their new shirt plastered all over twitter. You’re satisfied. Optimism is high for the season ahead, buoyed by your confidence that you have just […]