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Transfers, home grown talent and competitive balance


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Here is a link to an article by Stefan Szymanski in the Soccernomics blog.

 

http://www.soccernomics-agency.com/?p=529

 

He presents some data, about the relationship between homegrown talent and success, that may surprise a few people. It is taken to be axiomatic among many that we need to develop home grown players to improve our lot. Is this just received wisdom with no basis in fact?

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Interesting stuff.

 

His conclusion is rather unrealistic in terms of open trade. As someone who remembers Jim McLean's infamour 4+4 year contracts, having young players tied to a club for the bulk of their career doesn't work. Perhaps the American sports draft format of giving the 'smaller' clubs first pick maybe more likely to work?

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It just backs up what I've been saying for years to howls of derision.

 

So we should be like Arsenal and Man U? Man U "won with kids". People just don't get statistical anomalies.

 

Man U didn't play kids as a strategy, they played them because they were an astounding crop of excellent young players and good enough to win (plus they had plenty of experienced players and rarely played a teenager). Sometimes like draw poker you're just dealt an excellent hand and don't have to make any changes, but that doesn't mean you should have a strategy of never making changes.

 

I keep asking for evidence that the "building a team from the youths" strategy works and all you get is one-offs from clubs who don't do that normally.

 

Only 4/13.something players we even developed in the whole of the EPL never mind a single club.

 

At a glance West Brom and West Ham seem to be the most successful with home grown players, so forget Man U and Arsenal as models of this.

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Interesting stuff.

 

His conclusion is rather unrealistic in terms of open trade. As someone who remembers Jim McLean's infamour 4+4 year contracts, having young players tied to a club for the bulk of their career doesn't work. Perhaps the American sports draft format of giving the 'smaller' clubs first pick maybe more likely to work?

 

Yes, the idea of condemning players to play for one club causes plenty of other problems and I don't think that it will work.

 

I don't think that he is really advocating that though. It wouldn't really fit with the other articles that I've seen on that blog. The suggestion is contained within a conditional statement and I think he raises it only as a contrast to the Financial Fair Play regulations. FFP is believed by many to prevent rich clubs gaining unfair advantage but Soccernomics argues that FFP will only preserve the status of rich teams.

 

I can't speak for the author but if we accept that FFP and abolishing the transfer system are the two best ways to 'level the playing field' then I would be more likely to abandon that aim than implement either idea.

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It just backs up what I've been saying for years to howls of derision.

. . .

Man U didn't play kids as a strategy, they played them because they were an astounding crop of excellent young players and good enough to win (plus they had plenty of experienced players and rarely played a teenager). . . .

 

I keep asking for evidence that the "building a team from the youths" strategy works and all you get is one-offs from clubs who don't do that normally.

 

I'm sceptical too but, as you allude, challenging received wisdom is difficult.

 

There are always cases that people will cite like Ajax, Dortmund and Manchester United. Once these anecdotes emerge the debate rarely goes anywhere. A more comprehensive analysis, backed up by the right data, is required for any progress.

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