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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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  • 24 Mar 2015

    Trouble ahead in football analytics?

    The public football analytics scene has enjoyed a fruitful four or so years now. The work of a few talented analysts is garnering some mainstream media attention, and a few are being hired by clubs either as consultants or full-time staff. As with any cultural “scene” however, the analytics movement will be prone to a few existential challenges over time, some of which can at best slow progress for a few months, and at worst derail work in the field for years. Whilst I think the work of public statistical analysis in football is as good as ever, it’s best to identify key problems it will face in the near future.
  • 18 Mar 2015

    The succession planning blind spot

    Last year, Stanford University released a report detailing the attitudes of corporate executives and directors towards succession planning and talent development.One of the more striking findings highlighted a blind spot that persists at board room level: 50% of the study’s interviewees believed their board had an effective succession plan in place for senior positions, but only 25% felt that their business had an adequate pool of successors for key C-suite roles.
  • 11 Mar 2015

    In football analytics, the media isn’t always the message

    Despite a few one off columns here and there—see Martin Samuel’s clanger on the alleged superfluousness of the marginal gains provided by analytics in football and other sports—the relationship between football stats analysts and major media organizations covering the sport has been relatively cozy over the last few years, particularly compared to ice hockey in North America. While the development and application of statistical science in the National Hockey League is the subject of fierce and often hostile debate in North American media circles, football analytics seems to be the quiet purview of a few open minded print journalists like Sean Ingle, Adam Bate and Jonathan Liew. Most football writers simply ignore it. 
  • 19 Feb 2015

    Why knowledge is the antidote to fear in youth development

    The Guardian’s Sean Ingle wrote a piece recently questioning whether England was on the verge of producing another ‘Golden Generation’ of footballers with the recent run of form of players like Spurs’ Harry Kane and Liverpool’s Jordan Ibe. Using data provided by Infostrada’s Simon Gleave, Ingle noted a remarkable drop in the number of players starting in Premier League first teams who are under the age of 24: