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Interview with Simon Kuper, author of Soccernomics

In this special podcast recorded for Forza Futbol, we have Simon Kuper, author of the recently published Soccernomics 2nd edition.
Simon is also the author of “Football Against the Enemy”, “Ajax, the Dutch, the War” among others. Simon writes a weekly column in Financial Times.

Click here for all the books of Simon.

Simon joined me from Ukraine to answer a few questions about the Soccernomics second edition, state of Soccer analytics, Soccer in USA and some current topics like the new Premier League TV deal.

Interview length : ~25 minutes

Download this episode (right click and save)


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Here are a few quotes from what we discussed.

1. What do you think of Euro 2012 so far?

“Soccer has been great, players seem more relaxed than at world cup. Euro is less important so it has been more fun.”


2. Why 2nd Edition

3. What is going on at Liverpool?

“I think nobody quite knows what a Moneyball of soccer will be. I think that was the problem at Liverpool”

About the new management set-up at Liverpool

“Liverpool management is using wisdom of crowds”

4. Technical director role in England

5. Do coaches matter ? What impact does the style of play of a coach have on the performance of the team and how does it manifest into the coach’s rating?

“Identity of the coach is not as important as people think”

“The idea that the coach is this great motivator, I dismiss. The idea that he is this great tactician, a few not many”

6. Who are the top tacticians in the game today?

“I think Wengers great gift is recruiting rather than tactics, probably true with Ferguson as well”

“One problem with successful managers like Mourinho & Louis Van Gaal is they egomaniacs. They think they know it all”

7. What is your take on Pep Guardiola?

“Guardiola created this system of very elaborate rules almost like an NFL playbook”

8. Soccer clubs dont make money  : What is the objective of financial fair-play rules?

Soccer Analytics

“In areas like freekicks, corners and penalties, data has already become extremely significant in Soccer”

9. Houston Rockets GM Daryl Moorey – Analysts are a commodity and what matters is the data? what do think of that when most clubs are using the same data?

“I think the problem in football is that clubs dont know how to analyse data”

10. Power of agents – We recently did a post on the power of agents in football and found out that 50% of all the players of EPL are represented by 20 player agencies

- What impact does this have on the efficiencies in the transfer market?

 Current Issues

11. The new premier league deal  3bill pounds for 2013 – 2016 (it doesnt include Overseas rights) – are you surprised by the size of it? How can you explain that in this tough financial climate?

12. What this mean for other leagues? – do you think this will create a bubble like we saw a decade ago?

“The EPL is becoming the NBA of soccer”

13. What does the Rangers demise mean to Scottish football?

“Football clubs never disappear. Soccer can survive with less money.”

Soccer in USA

14. How far do you think USA has come as a soccer country?

“US now is the most soccer country it has ever been”

15. What are the 3 things that you would change in US soccer if you had the power?

“getting american 7-years olds to think in terms of space”

16. What is your next book going to be about?

Also listen to our interview with Prof. Stefan Szymanski, co-author of Soccernomics.

We thank Simon a lot for his time. As always, it was great listening to his insights and sharing them.


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