What is information really worth?
There have been two instances in the past few weeks that have probably left amateur data collectors truely staggered. The most recent event is the revelation that there is a doubt over Radamel Falcao’s true birth date. Whether there is any basis to this story is not something I’m going to comment on, but the interesting part is whether any of the Colombian goalmachine’s suitors of this Summer had any notion there may have been an irregularity. The assumption, at least on Monaco’s part, is that the information supplied to clubs was taken on trust. It is hard for those outside of the game to rationalise, why with the staggering amounts of money in transfer fees and salaries at stake, that every detail of the career of a potential recruit isn’t microscopically analysed. Surely it would have paid Monaco to pay a researcher 50 K to examine Falcao’s back history when the weekly salary difference between that of a 27 year old and a player two years older would be at least that.
Ashton Agar provided magical moments of play in the Trent Bridge test match at the beginning of the Ashes series. I was confounded that no one in the commentary box or in the pavilion knew anything about this useful player. It wasn’t as if Australia had brought an unmanageably large squad with them for the opposition to scout. It was clear from the outset that England had no particular plan in order to prise the number eleven from the middle. Test match lower order batsman, as a rule, can bat and the idea that good balls would be wasted on such players is an outdated concept. The fact that Agar bats with a distinctive style, with a higher than normal backlift, probably means that there are effective methods for getting him out. Bowling short on an unhelpful wicket gave the semblance of England having no plan at all in this instance.
It’s almost bizarre that in the era of analytical enlightenment that due diligence isn’t being adhered to at the levels that those of us outside professional sport would consider standard. Monaco could well end up feeling how I did on Sunday when the 25-1 shot, Silk Hall, eliminated my ticket from the Pick6. The ‘paper didn’t say that he was wearing blinkers for the first time, because he wasn’t. Further study would have revealed that it was only his second appearance in the headgear and lack of homework again proved costly.