Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Spain, Germany, and Brazil Win, and Why the US, Japan, Australia - and Even Iraq - Are Destined to Become the Kings of the Worl (Anglais) Broché – 22 avril 2014
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It does have a few problems, and a number of the conclusions the authors reach have gaping logical flaws. Specifically, they spend considerable time (correctly) reminding readers that there is a difference between causation and correlation, yet they proceed to make the exact same mistake on multiple occassions, particularly as relates to salary vs. transfer investment, a core discussion point of the book. They also spend a quite exhaustive (and frankly nauseating) amount of time explicitly making the point that this book is the soccer version of "Moneyball". The entire first chapter is basically a ham-fisted advertisement for this claim.
But those are the complaints. There are many good reasons to read this--- it is engaging in its narrative, and educational even to those already familiar with many of the concepts. And the anecdotal evidence (often a weakness in books of this genre) is actually mouthwateringly good.... many tidbits that simply aren't part of the mainstream coverage of the sport, even for those who geek heavily on soccer blogs.
Probably, this is "must read" if you really study the global game. But you will take umbrage with some of the conclusions. Maybe that's normal-- we all have a unique passion for the beautiful game.
I read this book, which came highly recommended by the San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times. I would agree that it is well worth reading to examine certain aspects of the sport of soccer statistically from the standpoint of its socio-economic importance. However, in my own considerable soccer and economic development experience, I perceive this as a justification for hiring career statistical nerds consumed by the virtual reality of computer games. Evidence of this is presented in the overstated importance of experience, population and per capita income as forecasting factors. While virtually no examination is made of China, India or the U.S.; all very different societies and economies, their numbers crunching dubiously produces Iraq and Norway soccer participation as important factors to consider.
· After reading all 414 pages, what I found was precious little analysis or understanding of the U.S. market, not to mention other potential major markets such as China and India.
· While a rational discussion is proffered regarding the business economics of professional clubs and stadiums, only superficial mention is made of the international and domestic influence of the Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean with no in-depth analysis regarding their socio-economic impact on the U.S. market. Furthermore, California sports business economics is ignored completely; e.g. Anschutz Entertainment Group and Major League Soccer.
· No mention is made of the economic influence of either the 1984 Olympics or the 1994 World Cup.
· U.S. youth recreational, club and Hispanic league soccer business aspects are not addressed separately in any depth.
· What I did find was a very heavy emphasis on England, not the UK (Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland). Statistical data was analyzed along with anecdotes, resulting in questionable, smart-alecky opinions that can be found in most pub chats. The question never arises as to why neither the English Premier League nor the its national teams include other leagues and regions within its nation, resulting in some quality players never playing international matches.
· The analysis of European club and national team soccer is enlightening.
· The authors contradict themselves regarding the importance of coaches and limiting players salaries.
· No distinction is made between the relative importance of international “friendlies”, league play, tournaments, club or national select team.
· The authors do not elaborate on community club ownership although mention is made of many such Spanish clubs. Furthermore, in the U.S. the Green Bay Packers offer a comparison that is not addressed. A key factor not quantified is the culture of those clubs, which along with others are the heart and soul of a community.
· A related but major consideration not addressed is motivation and team chemistry; intangibles that money and population can’t buy.
Highlights include memorable tidbits about key personalities -- you'll get your fill of anecdotes about Johan Cruijff (though if Dutch football is your passion, there are other, better books). But if you're a U.S. fan of Major League Soccer, you will find little about that league's financial shell games. The authors dismiss MLS as boring, allegedly because the teams are too balanced, possibly because the transactions tend to involve numbers that are orders of magnitude lower than those of European and EPL teams, and maybe because they're Eurosnobs. That's ok. They aren't very kind to MLS, but they don't devote much space to insulting it either.
Summary: if you're at all interested in the economics of soccer, you'll find some captivating material in this book. Once it starts to drag, you can begin skimming. You'll still walk away with some stats with which you can regale your soccer-loving friends over a beer as you commiserate about your cheapskate (MLS) club's fifth consecutive loss.