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  • 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 […]

  • 22 Jun 2017

    The challenge of scouting Ajax

    Ajax’s impressive run to the Europa League final alerted clubs across Europe to the potential of the young players in their squad, and suggested to many that they had the temperament as well as the skill to compete in bigger leagues.

    While clubs have access to video as well as the ability to watch Ajax’s players […]

  • 14 Jun 2017

    Lessons from the NBA

    The recently completed 2016/17 NBA season was the first to pass without a single head coach being fired since 1970/71. Given that the league saw 18 in-season sackings between 2012 and 2016, the current stability of NBA coaching jobs is unprecedented in the modern era. It remains to be seen whether 2016/17 will stand as […]

  • 08 Jun 2017

    How to spend it

    When deciding how to improve our squad over the summer, we often have to choose between prioritising defence and attack. In the last four years, clubs have spent just over 75% of transfer fees on midfielders and attackers, which suggests that at the very least clubs are prepared to pay more for attacking talent (perhaps […]

  • 31 May 2017

    The importance of self-awareness

    In a recent article for The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman reported on some of the work being done by Tasha Eurich, an organisational psychologist, author and expert on the subject of self-awareness.
    According to Eurich, 95% of people think they’re self-aware but only 10-15% of us really are. If we’re not self-aware then we only have a […]

  • 24 May 2017

    Because thinking is hard

    Back in January we wrote about some of the cognitive biases that can hinder our better judgement when recruiting new players. For example, we might overvalue experience – because know-how feels safe and so we assume it’s important – or be overly optimistic about a new player because we desperately want the signing to work out.
    Since […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]