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The business of football
The business of football

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5 What helps teams succeed?

You have just seen that teams progress through various stages of development and the ideal is that they reach the ‘performing’ stage. You have also seen some of the factors that help teams reach this stage. But why does this not happen more often, and what can we learn from teams that seem to outperform their potential?

Ideas of how to make teams succeed are the holy grail for business and psychology researchers and experts. A football club is significantly interested in getting this right since it is the main product of the team. The likelihood is that you and those studying this course with you will be able to develop your own theory of what shapes effective business and football teams. Here we draw on observations from within professional football, where team performance pays in all sorts of ways, to see what can be learned about effective teams.

Consider the case of Leicester City who in 2008–2009 were playing in League 1. They won promotion to the Championship in 2009 and in 2014 they returned to the Premier League. They finished 14th in their first season back in the Premier League and then in their second season they won the title. In the space of seven seasons Leicester had gone from playing in League 1 to becoming Premier League champions.

A photograph of the two Leicester City owners holding up the Premier League trophy among a crowd of players.
Figure 7 Leicester City’s owners, Vichai and Top Srivaddhanaprabha, celebrating winning the Premier League in 2016.

In the next section you will listen to some interviews with national team managers and experienced club professionals, to hear their thoughts on what shapes successful teams.