Top 10 stories of 2020
Written by Training Ground Guru — December 26, 2020
THESE were our 10 most popular stories of a year like no other, in ascending order.
10. Liverpool: Lessons in science, strategy and spirit
This was the year that Liverpool finally reclaimed the league title, after a 30-year wait. The way the club was run, "merging analogue and digital", was a major factor in their success, and we looked at the lessons in science, strategy and spirit that can be learned from Jurgen Klopp's side.
9. Sam Stanton: Building an analysis culture at Bristol City
During his seven years at Bristol City, Head of Analysis Sam Stanton introduced innovative projects that changed the way the team prepared and played. This helped transform them from League One stragglers to Championship contenders. Sam revealed seven of those projects in this excellent piece for TGG.
8. Eddie Jones: Coaching, leadership and life
One of our highlights of the year was England rugby coach Eddie Jones coming on the TGG Podcast in January. The Australian was in engaging and thought-provoking form, covering a range of topics. This article was taken from that interview and made it to #8 in our best-read stories of the year.
7. William Spearman: How Liverpool build pitch control models
Over the last two years, we've done a number of articles on the work of Dr Ian Graham's pioneering research team at Liverpool. This is one - with Liverpool's Lead Data Scientist, William Spearman - and it proved particularly popular. In the article (taken from a video for Friends of Tracking) Spearman delivers a step-by-step guide on how to build pitch control models.
6. Pedro Marques: The four pillars of Benfica's Academy
Since 2014/15, Benfica have delivered a net surplus of over £450m in transfers. Their Academy has been key to this and is one of the most productive in Europe. In this piece, their Technical Director, Pedro Marques, outlined the four pillars of Benfica's Academy and some of the secrets of their success.
5. Huddersfield: Reasons for Cowley sacking and what the future holds
When Danny Cowley was appointed Huddersfield manager in September 2019, chairman Phil Hodgkinson talked about the 'obvious chemistry' between the duo. Ten months later, a simmering tension had replaced the chemistry and Cowley was sacked. This was the inside story of what happened.
4. Youth Hawk: Which clubs are producing the England stars of the future?
3. SkillCorner: Which is the most physically demanding league?
2. Premier League to introduce pre-Academy regulations
Pre-Academy provision is one of the most controversial areas of youth development in this country. In short, at what age should Academies be allowed to take players in? The rule used to be that they could not coach players until the U9s, but in May we revealed that this was to change. The Premier League introduced pre-Academy regulations for the first time, meaning clubs can coach players at any age and field them in matches from the U7s. Cue a lot of debate...
1. Bayern Munich to scrap U9 & U10 teams
So here it is, our best-read story of 2020. It was published less than two weeks before #2 and couldn't have been in starker contrast. German giants Bayern Munich announced that entry to their Academy was to start at U11s, with the younger groups being scrapped. Bayern's Holger Seitz explained: "The children should be able to develop longer in their usual environment without pressure to perform.”