A brilliant new book lays bare the idiocies of the beautiful gameby David Goldblatt / September 30, 2009 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2009 issue of Prospect Magazine
Why England Lose and Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained
By Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski (Harper Collins, £15.99)
“Anyone who spends any time inside football soon discovers that just as oil is part of the oil business, stupidity is part of the football business.” Well, football may not spend billions of pounds actively seeking out stupidity, piping, refining and selling it, but as Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski demonstrate over and over again in Why England Lose, it is certainly swimming in the stuff.
For starters, take the case of the striker Nicolas Anelka, whom Real Madrid purchased from Arsenal for £22.3m. Multinational companies, like football clubs, spend a great deal of time locating and then transferring key personnel to foreign postings. When they do, they also spend a great deal of time and money making that reallocation as easy as possible: finding their staff housing, schools for their kids, and providing a variety of services to acclimatise them to new cultures and ways of working—on the grounds, not unreasonably, that they want them to focus on their job.