Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Blind Boys of Alabama Learn more Fitbit
Profile for Grumpy Old Analyst > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Grumpy Old Analyst
Top Reviewer Ranking: 9,198,094
Helpful Votes: 2

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Grumpy Old Analyst

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Football is Wrong
The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Football is Wrong
by Chris Anderson
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not compelling, 15 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a must read for any analytically minded football fan. However, if you're looking for Football's Billy Beane or hoping to learn more about how data is being used by today's Premier League sides, you won't find your answers here. I had high expectations when I began reading, but I was somewhat disappointed. Perhaps it's just a very difficult subject. Perhaps the authors had restricted access to data that might be really interesting. Who knows, but there was less "bite" than I'd hoped.

The authors also oversell the job they've done at times. For example, early in the book they say that Roberto Martinez will be one of the heroes of the story. I was intrigued. They failed to deliver.

That having been said, were I the owner of a Football Club or a Manager there are at least two concrete insights in the book I'd definitely want to follow up on. That's not too shabby.


Pay As You Play: The True Price of Success in the Premier League Era
Pay As You Play: The True Price of Success in the Premier League Era
by Paul Tomkins
Edition: Paperback

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor I'm afraid, 15 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My reasons for writing this review are slightly unusual. I've just finished "The Numbers Game" and have been pondering why Football Clubs in England seem so reluctant to fully embrace data and it's analysis as important contributors to their decision making. I'm sure there are many factors involved, including a simple closed shop mindset which is resistant to change, but it doesn't help when people make great claims for their research which then, in practice, turns out to be completely unhelpful.

Play to Pay is a good example. It's a very poor piece of work; a classic example of what happens when very bright and enthusiastic people get hold of a mass of data and begin analysing it without thinking conceptually about what they are doing.

The thesis of this book is very deeply flawed. For example, at no point is any consideration given to wage bill and it's interaction with transfer fees. Could it be that performance relates most clearly to wage bill with transfer fees then being the mechanism for acquiring players who are paid more? If this were so then transfer fees might relate to time frame rather more than performance, i.e. an established Club with an expensive squad (high wages) is in the same position as a new entrant (Manchester City) which has to lay out huge transfer fees to recruit a similar standard of players? This question has profound implications for transfer strategy and for any judgement about success.

I could go on. My point is the the authors simply didn't think hard enough about what they were doing. They did little more than play clever games with the data. I found the book very irritating. It does those who'd like to see more professional management of football no favours.

Very poor I'm afraid.


Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics
Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read, but......., 9 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an extraordinary piece of work; very extensively researched and insightful.

I was fascinated by the tactical perspective on the history of football and then intrigued by Wilson's analysis of the the game during the last 50 years or so - much of which I have witnessed first hand. I'd unreservedly recommend the book to all "thinking" football fans.

I have two observations. First, having recently read the "Italian Job" by Guanluca Vialli, I was struck time and again by the complete lack of tactical analysis in our media. A stark contrast with Italy according to Vialli. At times I was embarrassed that I'd failed to appreciate the tactical nuances in many of the games I've watched over the years. The 86 World Cup game against Argentina is a classic example. I rationalised my ignorance by constant reference to the facile nature of our football reporting and punditry.

My second observation is .....hmmmmmm..... Whilst I don't doubt Wilson's analysis, there are two potential failings. The first is an apparent lack of recognition of the importance of players. Were the pathbreaking teams Wilson talks about the product of tactical innovation or the result of a coming together of a group of wonderful players? The reality, of course, is almost certainly a little of each. The second, and most important weakness, is that there is less analysis of what works, why and in what circumstances than there might have been. Perhaps it's asking too much, but whilst I feel much better informed I'm not sure I'm any wiser about how England should set up, for example.

Wilson's coup de grace is that in the epilogue he predicts that the next tactical evolution might well be to 4-6-0 - exactly as deployed by Spain during Euro 2012. Very impressive!! The question, once again, is whether the system makes sense or whether it was simply the best way to accommodate Spain's remarkably talented players. Nevertheless, Wilson is obviously a real expert and it's hard to avoid the conclusion that had a generation of English managers thought anything like as much about the game as he has then our international record would be much less disappointing.


Red: My Autobiography
Red: My Autobiography
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars That's how to lose with dignity..., 20 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
...was one of the more surprising lines in Gary Neville's autobiography, but for me it typified the book because of the insight it gave into the growth and development Neville experienced throughout his career. Whether you like or dislike Manchester United, whether you're a Red or a Scouser or a southern softie, this is a good book to read if you've never really understood why United have been so extraordinarily successful during the Ferguson era.

I'm not saying the book is a great work of literature, but its value is that it goes beyond the platitudes and banal rhetoric of most "My Story by ..."s and gives some sense of what it must have been like in that United dressing room, of the culture and the attitudes. I've never liked "The Manager", as Neville calls him out of a combination of respect and fear, but I now have an even higher regard for him.

Red is worth a read whether you are a thinking football fan or one that doesn't...


Page: 1