Written by TTT Subscriber Thundyr.
*If there is one thing in this brilliant interview that really strikes a chord with me (and I loved the Dun Cow bit as much as the rest, because what Graham has to say is really insightful despite this segment probably being completely unexpected) is how this club is now built upon a single key element and that key element is what is bringing us success. That element is Moneyball.
(*This refers to the transcript on the site of an interview on Freakonomics Radio with director of research at Liverpool Football Club, Ian Graham.)
Ok, so sit down again – I’ll explain. Regardless of how you view the “real” Moneyball as it played out in baseball vis a vis analytics and the method of purchasing players etc, which has to a large extent been debunked as inapplicable to football (or so I’ve heard anyway), the “core concept” in my opinion can be summarised in one sentence: “Do what everyone else is not doing”. The perfect example is that simple statement at the end about the “no dickheads rule”:
The problem is that if everyone has that rule there’s gonna be a surplus of really talented dickheads that could win you the league.
In other words, in a world where dickheads are ostracised, a team of dickheads will win the league. Right now football revolves around individual brilliance – from Pep’s Messi-Xavi-Iniesta Barcelona to the CR7-fuelled Man U and Real Madrid sides of the last decade to Torres & Gerrard or the dozens of other “minor combinations” that teams have been build around for decades. But Total Football always rises to the top at some point, and while Guardiola would try to argue that his Barca side was the epitome of that style, he would do a massive disservice to the three players I named because no team in the world has ever been able to replicate it in recent times without ALL THREE of them – including Barcelona itself.
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