Stop sacking managers

Sacking managers is expensive – just ask the folks over at Manchester United, who have reportedly paid at least £12 million to be rid of José Mourinho. Now that the dust has cleared a bit, I want to make a somewhat unpopular point: sacking Mourinho was a mistake. Here’s why. Hiring a top manager in soccer is never easy for a big club. Once the executives think they know the person they want, they lose all their bargaining power. That’s because a top manager usually doesn’t mind too much where he coaches. Mourinho has been happy in Portugal, Italy, Spain, England… next he could go to…
Read more →

Mental errors in soccer

Plenty has been written about the role of cognitive bias in sports. Much of it, however, is theoretical. Having worked in soccer for six years now, I’ve experienced the effect of several biases – and other mental errors – directly in my daily interactions. I thought it might be helpful for other decision-makers in soccer to hear about some of these errors in a real-world setting. Here is a short and doubtlessly incomplete list. I’ve coined some of the terms myself, so expert readers may know some of these phenomena by other names. Prejudice. Simple, old-fashioned prejudice is alive and well…
Read more →

How good was Andrew Robertson at Hull?

Andrew Robertson, Liverpool’s left back, has been garnering plenty of plaudits for his performances in the Premier League and the Champions League, including a nomination for player of the week in the latter competition. He’s part of the raft of successful signings by Michael Edwards, the onetime analyst who is now the club’s sporting director. But to some, Robertson’s signing was a bit of a surprise: (By the way, I’d recommend following James on Twitter and reading his always entertaining prose.) Edwards apparently has a team of up to five mathematics and physics PhDs working for him. What did they see in the young Scottish fullback…
Read more →

1 2 3 4 5 26