Aug. 3, 2020

Raphael Honigstein on the Psychology of Football

Raphael Honigstein on the Psychology of Football

What can we learn about Human Risk from Football? Or Soccer for my US listeners?

On this episode, I speak with Raphael Honigstein. Rapha is a sports journalist who covers football (soccer for US listeners) for several media outlets including The...


What can we learn about Human Risk from Football? Or Soccer for my US listeners?

On this episode, I speak with Raphael Honigstein. Rapha is a sports journalist who covers football (soccer for US listeners) for several media outlets including The Athletic & BT Sport. In our broad-ranging talk, we explore the Human Risk dynamics of a sport where psychology is a prime factor.

In our discussion, I firstly ask Rapha about his passion for the game and how he became a sports journalist. Then we explore a range of different aspects of the game that have a Human Risk angle. How some teams have bent the rules to allow external investors (something that German football has fought hard to prevent for reasons we explain) and why some Managers can extract far better performances from their team than others. We also talk about what the introduction of video assistant referees, a video replay system designed to eliminate human error on the part of referees has meant (and why it seems to have worked much better in Germany than England). And we explore why football players command such high transfer fees and the varied implications of Coronavirus on the game. 

To find Rapha's writing in The Athletic use this link. A free trial is available: https://theathletic.co.uk/author/raphael-honigstein/

Rapha's podcast Steilcast, is also produced by The Athletic and is available on all good platforms. Link here: https://theathletic.com/podcast/163-steilcast/

You can find his books on Jürgen Klopp, the rebirth of German football & a German view of English football here: https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/1050718/raphael-honigstein.html

Below you'll find links to the stories we discuss so that you can explore them further if you're interested:

The re-opening of the Bundesliga: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/15/sports/soccer/bundesliga-rory-smith.html

Home advantage without spectators?
https://www.espn.co.uk/football/german-bundesliga/story/4107639/bundesliga-suggests-home-advantage-a-thing-of-the-past-in-empty-stadiums

The measures the Bundesliga clubs have gone to ensure quarantine:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-8311531/Wolfsburg-staying-expensive-quarantine-hotel-Bundesliga-side.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/soccer-is-back-in-germany-but-can-the-season-stay-fair/2020/05/23/e7204f04-9ab9-11ea-ad79-eef7cd734641_story.html

Soloman Kalou incident at Hertha Berlin
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/sportsnews/article-8284991/Former-Chelsea-striker-Salomon-Kalou-seen-making-mockery-coronavirus-hygiene-rules.html

Heiko Herrlich toothpaste incident