Friday, 6 July 2012

Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

This is a study into the economics of football. For example it looks at the business side of clubs, the relative success of international sides based on their populations, experience and wealth...

There were good things about this book:

  • A few stories (i.e. the journalistic bits that presumably Simon Kuper wrote like the write-up of the Ajax and Barcelona academies)
  • Interesting findings based on data (e.g. straight away it's mentioned that the inswinging corner to the near-post results in more goals than other corners, also interesting analyses of penalty-takers)
  • Good quotes from various sources (e.g. from Jamie Carragher's autobiography)

Then there were a few things I didn't like all that much:

  • When the book got bogged down in numbers
  • The way the book made numerous comparisons between football and baseball, all because of the success of the book mde film Moneyball, and for a little Englishman like me who knows nothing about baseball that wasn't great
  • It's a little out of date, e.g. cites Lyon as a dominant team in France heading towards Champions League success shortly although their fortunes have since changed, a London team not having won the Champions League although they now have, and it mentions how Portsmouth got through their administration period unscathed, however they entered administration again
  • The chapters at the end seemed out of order with the Tom Thumb cup being mentioned in a couple of places before the concept was actually introduced leading to confusion
  • Some anonymous quotes were used that would have been great had they been attributed to someone.

Overall: not spectacular.

(I got this book through Amazon Vine. It is listed on Amazon here.)

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