Get the latest news and insights from 21st Club

Please read our Privacy Policy carefully to understand how we use your data. You can opt-out of our marketing communication at any time.

MailChimp Pop-Up


Currently browsing: Philosophy
  • 01 Jul 2020

    Evaluating the Mental Model

    We all want to be able to predict the future. The better you can predict the future, the more control you have once it arrives.
    Every allocation of resources is a bet on what’s to come. Liverpool invested in sophisticated analytics and it paid off – other clubs are now following suit.
    Amidst the rush to innovate […]

  • 16 May 2019

    Klopp: The love doctor every team needs

    A month after Klopp was appointed as Liverpool manager Google published the results of a two year study into over 180 of their teams to find out “What makes a Google team effective”. They hypothesised, as we probably all would have done, that the best performing teams are comprised of the best individual talent and the […]

  • 18 Oct 2018

    Liberal football

    We all know that culture matters. It’s not as easy to quantify – either objectively or subjectively – as talent, but we know that at the margins it can make a difference between winning and losing.

    It feels right that culture can also influence the way in which we play too. Directors at clubs have often […]

  • 30 Aug 2018

    The pressure to attack

    All clubs recognise that football is a results industry, but many would also say that providing entertainment is more important than it has ever been. Clubs and leagues’ competition is no longer just other teams or even sports, it’s often TV box sets and video games.

    This shift has coincided with an era of coaches […]

  • 07 Apr 2016

    Copying Spain

    Between 2008 and 2012 Barcelona and Spain’s possession-heavy playing style led to unparalleled domestic and international success. Tactically, the game across the continent shifted, led by an effort to mimic some of the best aspects of these teams.

    What people also noticed was that Spain and Barcelona were winning trophies with players well under six foot […]

  • 10 Mar 2016

    The meaning of aggression

    Professional sport is full of buzzwords and banalities, perhaps the most common of which is the demand to be “positive” or “aggressive” in one’s approach. Indeed, men’s tennis’ world number two Andy Murray spoke about this type of analysis last week:
    A lot of commentators say you have to be more aggressive. Does that mean you […]

  • 04 Feb 2016

    A successful flop

    "Someone once bet me I couldn't clear a stuffed leather chair.  Not only did I lose the bet, I also broke my hand in the crash landing." In attributing these words to anyone, I suspect few would turn to the list of past Olympic jumping champions for inspiration, yet these are the words of Dick Fosbury, 1968 Olympic High Jump Gold Medallist, recalling a college incident.
  • 05 Jan 2016

    Football’s failure in philosophy

    In any ordinary organisation, philosophical alignment is a key factor in success. If the people on the shop floor can endorse the organisation’s vision, the people in head office have a greater chance of achieving it. It is for this reason that much time, energy and money is spent on communicating the organisation’s vision to those that will help to achieve it.
  • 30 Oct 2014

    When objectives are not aligned

    In a new relationship, there can sometimes be a disjoint in the couple’s respective intentions. While one lover may have long-term aspirations about settling down, buying a house and starting a family, the other may not be looking any further than the next date.In a week where three managers in the English Championship lost their jobs, you wonder if something similar is going on in football. Often there is a disconnect between the objectives of the club and the way those picking the team are judged.
  • 22 Aug 2014

    “Molti duce, una voce”

    I've previously written about the weaknesses of the manager dominated transfer strategy traditionally followed by most English clubs.  But, whilst a diverse range of voices will help a club to more often make good decisions, it is equally true that once a decision has been made, the club must speak with one voice in its implementation.