Monday, 26 November 2007

3 Ingredients. The Recipe for English Soccer Success

I say don't have a 'system' at all.

The players have three assets a) knowledge of the rules of the game, b) knowledge of the opposition c) their experience. They should use these in a dynamic, flexible manner in the context of the match as it unfolds.

There are some deep seated and taken for granted managerial assumptions that determine current approaches to soccer management that are mainly founded on 'modernist' /rational scientific beliefs. These assumptions are so taken for granted that they go largely un-recognised by the people that have them.

These beliefs pre-dispose people to think in terms of systems for the prediction and control of future outcomes. i.e. predicting and controlling the outcome of the match. This is clear evidence of people being deluded by the illusion of control and the expectation that they can control a complex and chaotic a social phenomenon such as a soccer match.

If it is accepted that sometimes we all have problems understanding and predicting the future behaviour of friends, relatives, and co-workers, and we realise that controlling future outcomes in nigh on short of impossible short of physical coercion. Why then do we continue to expect that soccer management is exempt in some way? If somebody we knew kept sticking their hand in a fire after they got burned, wouldn't we question their mental faculties? The cynic in me says perhaps nobody wants to really 'solve' the problem, because this would de-mystify the profession, and remove the self-fulfilling need for the post match pundit and the media agonising that we so seem to enjoy.

The players have a simple objective to score more goals than the opposition. Managerial job done.

Finally, I wonder, does the fact that the CEO of the FA has simply a degree in Economics suggest anything about his likely managerial assumptions?


  1. What I know about football could be written down on the back of a stamp (sticky as that might turn out to be). Perhaps I'm the man for the job?

  2. Give that man a job! You'd be ideal. For things to change its very often getting the old stuff out rather than new stuff in that matters, so not having a clue would top of my recruitment list! The FA need to escape the gravitational pull of the past so Matt Chingduve Chief Soccer Astronaut would be your new job title - hows that sound :)