Every football manager finds out everything they can about the opposition before they play them.

That way they can make sure their team knows how to take advantage of the other team’s weaknesses.

That’s predatory thinking.

Don Revie was a football manager who went further than that.

He built up a dossier on every referee in the league.

Then he found out which one would be in charge of that weekend’s game.

Then he made each of his players study the referee’s file.

So they knew the names of his family, where he’d been on holiday, what his hobbies were.

Just little things they could drop into the conversation in the tunnel, while waiting to go onto the pitch.

The referee would think they were nicer guys than the other team, who didn’t know anything about him.

The usual statistics for refereeing decisions is roughly 50/50.

Half in your favour, half against.

But over the season Leeds got over 70% of decisions in their favour, and under 30% against.

Under Don Revie, Leeds won 3 championships, 3 cups, and 2 EUFA Cups.

That’s real predatory thinking.

If you want something, you have to take it off someone else.

You have to out think them

There’s the story of two explorers walking through the jungle.

Suddenly they hear a tiger roar.

One explorer sits down and takes a pair of running shoes out of his back pack.

“You’re crazy, you’ll never out run a tiger” says the other explorer.

“I don’t have to out run the tiger” he replies.

“I just have to out run you.”

Conventional thinking is that the best man wins.

That’s also lazy thinking.

How do you beat someone who’s better than you?

That’s creative thinking.

As Maurice Saatchi used to say, “I don’t have to win. I just have to make you lose.”