Something a little different this week - it's Soccernomics by Simon Kuper & Stefan Stymanzki.
After claiming a few weeks back that you didn't have to like Football to enjoy 'The Damned Utd' I can safely say the opposite about this title. Having said that, if you do love your footy you will absolutely love this book (& it's a perfect present for the scarf waver in the family).
There are a lot of statistics in this book - this can't be denied, but somehow it's far from a 'dry' read. One reason for this is Kuper's writing style, he's a wry, amusing man who keeps the information interesting by peppering it with witty remarks & sometimes amusingly (almost) bitchy comments. The other is that the statistics themselves are so very interesting. We discover why England are in fact over achieving each time we get knocked out in the quarter finals, yes over achieving. You may scoff but by the time Kuper has run through the reasons you'll be stifling a sob for our plucky heroes!
Another cracking chapter involves the 'science' of penalties, for example the reason Anelka missed that champions league effort was that he was the only one who ignored the advice of the statisticians (Terry was trying to follow instructions when he slipped - he's never to blame ay?).
You'll also discover why it doesn't really matter who your manager is (most of the time), and is Football racist? (nothing to do with high court cases but looking at transfers). It's fascinating, entertaining stuff.
I would also recommend you take a look at 'The Football Men' a collection of Kuper's articles on some of the legends & lesser (but no less interesting) lights of the beautiful game.
But it here