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Moving the Goalposts: Why Maradona Was Really Useless... How to Win a Penalty Shoot-Out...and 65 More Astonishing Statistical Football Revelations [Hardcover]

Rob Jovanovic
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 12.30 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 Aug 2012
Rich in footballing anecdotes and hard science, Moving the Goalposts offers an astonishing rethink of the game by revolutionary football historian Rob Jovanovic. All too often categorised alongside "lies" and "damned lies", statistics in football have for too long been overlooked, ignored or just plain misinterpreted. Yet in the high-pressure business of modern football, statistical data are central to player and performance analysis. Now Jovanovic applies the same exacting, objective analysis to other aspects of the game such as tactics, records and history, uncovering unexpected truths and exploding myths along the way. The book will tell you how Maradona came to have a negative impact on Argentina's results; why Jack Charlton was a better defender than the iconic Bobby Moore; why the 1929/30 Sheffield Wednesday team was the greatest English club side ever - plus 65 more eye-opening revelations. You'll never look at football in the same way again!

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Moving the Goalposts: Why Maradona Was Really Useless... How to Win a Penalty Shoot-Out...and 65 More Astonishing Statistical Football Revelations + Picking Up the Threads: The Colours of World Football
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd; First edition (20 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190805137X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908051370
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13.8 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Review

"A statto's joy without being tiresome, it even provides proof that the author's young son can predict the final Prem table better than Lawro!" *****Five stars***** --FourFourTwo

"Be warned, this book is addictive!" --Nottingham Forest Match Programme

"In an entertaining way, Jovanovic uncovers numerous hidden truths about football and explains why certain myths survive regardless of the statistical evidence suggesting otherwise." --Yorkshire Evening Post

"Within 254 intriguing pages there are some weird and wonderful stats, making this a must for any fanatical lover of football stats." --The Football Trader

--"Moving the Goalposts covers a lot of ground... From how you can win the league in September and what really matters in a penalty shootout, to who are the greatest players and managers of all time. Jovanovic has produced a book rich in footballing anecdotes and hard science. Moving the Goalposts provides an entirely fresh, eye-opening approach to football past and present. It's a book that will settle countless arguments, and start many more!" --Sheffield Wednesday match programme

"Moving the Goalposts by Rob Jovanovic is international football's answer to Moneyball. An absolutely great read for a whole lot of reasons. Jovanovic takes on many footballing myths, using stats to render them useless. I was worried that a dependence on numbers and stats could cheapen the beautiful game, but this book does exaclty the opposite. Enjoyable, fast-moving, and very approachable, it helps us develop a better understanding of the game we all love." --International Soccer Network

"If you're a football fan with even the slightest inclination towards maths, pick it up, Jovanovic has an eye for history, and many of his statistical segments are utterly fascinating. It's very easy to get lost in the numbers, and the accompanying text is a fun ride as well. Good stuff." --We Ain't Got No History

About the Author

Rob Jovanovic is the author of Swap Yer!, a history of football cards and stickers, and collaborated with Forest and England's Steve Hodge on the acclaimed The Man With Maradona's Shirt. Rob's many music books have included best-selling biographies of Kate Bush and George Michael, and the award-winning Nirvana: The Complete Recording Sessions.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 28 Sep 2012
By Chris
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author has dispelled so many myths in this book. The book is statistical in nature and fact based but makes plenty of room for some funny quotes from the experts and players that comment on the game. The book is full of rigorous statistical analysis over a breath of football topics and uncovers some truly startling revelations.

"Why Maradona Was Really Useless..." looks like a sound bite to grab attention, but the facts presented in this book make that statement hard to argue against. The book is scattered with so many different interesting topics. It's recommended as a book to dip into now and again. I read it in two sittings and enjoyed that the topics were short and varied and didn't get bogged down in too much complexity. Football is a difficult game to analyse, as there are more statistics available than ever before in the game. Rob Jovanovic has a talent for making sense out of all the noise. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Bob Sherunkle TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
This treads some of the same ground as Kuper and Szymanski’s “ Soccernomics”, but it doesn’t go into the realms of football economics. It is much more accessible than “Soccernomics”, making it point very concisely in bite-size chunks.

To give you a flavour of the insights given, here are some of the player stats produced:
-Examples of great players who fail to excel in tournament finals – Henry and Ibrahimovic (Henry has never scored in a final for either club or country)
-England had a much higher success rate in games when Jack Charlton was in the team than when Bobby Moore played (as a West Ham fan, it pains me to read this)
-Contrary to the popular view, England play almost as well when both Lampard and Gerrard play as when only one of them is in the team

One could argue that the book isn’t as statistically sound as “Soccernomics”, but I don’t think it’s intended to be; this is a book to dip into quickly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 31 July 2014
Format:Hardcover
Great read for a footie fan
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read 15 Nov 2012
By Crew96 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Moving the Goalposts by Rob Jovanovic is international football's answer to Moneyball. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical when I heard that the book centered around statistics, but it is an absolutely great read for a whole lot of reasons. Jovanovic takes on many footballing myths, using stats to render them useless or reveal bits of truth.

Yes, it is best to go first in a penalty shootout, especially if you convert the first kick.

Yes, stats show that Sheffield Wednesday of 1929/30 was indeed the greatest team of all-time. The 1999/2000 Man U squad was a relatively distant second followed by a 1894/1895 Sunderland side in third place.

Yes, the numbers point to Sir Alex Ferguson as the greatest English club manager of all-time, but these numbers also show that Wayne Rooney only improves the English national team by about 2% when he plays. Not really a gamebreaker in the international game after all.

Even corner kicks are brought into question. Statistics show that corner kicks result in a goal only 1.5% of the time in the EPL. That's right, nothing happens 98.5% of the time a corner is taken.

I was worried that a dependence on numbers and stats could cheapen the beautiful game, but this book does exaclty the opposite. The book was enjoyable, fast-moving, and very approachable. It helps us develop a better understanding of the game we all love.
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