Somewhere between “Moneyball” and “Freakonomics” lies Simon Kuper’s “Soccernomics”. A brilliant and informative look at the business of soccer.
“If you’re a football fan, I’ll save you some time: read this book … compulsive reading … thoroughly convincing.”
You could call it the “Moneyball” of soccer, but it’s more than that. While “Moneyball” focused on baseball at a micro level, “Soccernomics delves into soccer at a global level. What we have is an in depth analysis written from the perspective of an economist. Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski explore and shatter the preconceived notions of soccer.
In the first part, Kuper examines the major clubs. he breaks down the transfer market and shows us just how silly it really is. Furthermore he makes the case that soccer is not the big business it’s made out to be. In fact, it may be the worst business in the world. He also examines how Olympique Lyon rose from a second division team in France to the Ligue 1 Champions.
The second part addresses the fans themselves. Are they as a loyal as they claim to be? Or do fans treat soccer teams like a store rather than a religion? One of the most interesting sections in this part is the correlation between happiness, suicide and the fans.
The final part deals with the countries. All things considered, who is the best at soccer? The answer may surprise you. And while we all love to see the story of the poor kid who made it big in soccer, Kuper argues that this is an exception and not the rule in soccer.
All in all, this is by far the best book I have read concerning soccer. The results and analysis will surprise you. but it will give you a better understanding of the beautiful game.