Why England Lose & Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained

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9780007301119: Why England Lose & Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our T&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. https://www.ft.com/content/fc390d8a-7d61-11de-b8ee-00144feabdc0 Many years ago I bumped into Michel Platini, the French midfielder, in a Brussels hotel corridor. In my best schoolboy French I wished him good luck in the big game, an offering which the curly-haired maestro greeted with predictable disdain. Today, Platini is less curly-haired, and is perhaps best known as the English Premier League's biggest critic. As president of UEFA, Platini believes the rich "Big Four" English clubs are ruining the sport with cash-fuelled successes on the field that make football boringly predictable. Most observers assume that all sensible football fans agree with him. The last 14 Premiership titles have been won by either Manchester United (9 wins), Arsenal (3) or Chelsea (2). In that time only Liverpool - the final member of the Big Four - has seriously challenged the title. This dominance is dull and is putting fans off the game, or so the argument goes. This, of course, is nonsense. I say "of course" because I've read Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski's new book Why England Lose & Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained. It demolishes Platini's theory and many other soccer shibboleths by applying the rigorous logic of statistical analytics and mathematical theorem to questions such as "Are penalties unfair?" and "Which country in the world loves football the most?" So, ask Kuper and Szymanski, if predictable results bored fans, why don't more of them go to matches where the outcome of the result is uncertain? Using the original idea of actually studying attendance figures, the duo prove that fans prefer unbalanced leagues. Why? Unbalanced leagues give you David v Goliath contests, which fans love; dominant teams have c

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About the Author:

Simon Kuper's first book, Football Against the Enemy, won the 1994 William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize and is widely acknowledged as one of football's seminal books. Simon writes a weekly sports column in the Financial Times and has previously written football columns for The Times and The Observer. Stefan Szymanski is Professor of Economics and MBA Dean at Cass Business School in London. Stefan has a global reputation and has acted as a consultant to government and to major sports organisations such as the FIA (motor sport), UEFA (football) and the ICC (cricket).

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Simon Kuper, Stefan Szymanski
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