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 don’t have to,” comes the response “I only have to outrun you”.
In football, we are constantly striving for that silver bullet that will propel us up the league table. As a result we strive for perfection, and if we can’t achieve it we have a tendency to stick with what we have.
But football is a zero-sum game. For us to win a greater number of games, other teams have to lose. Perfection shouldn’t be the target. We should simply aim to be better than those against whom we compete. This is what will give us an edge.
Generally those that achieve an edge on the pitch are those who are prepared to do something different off it. For example, this could be through taking a different approach to recruitment, hiring a head coach, remunerating our players or allocating our scouts.
Often, an edge can even come from simply adopting new approaches slightly faster than the rest.
Either way, doing something different might just leave us with trainers, while the rest labour in walking boots.