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Football by Numbers

Interesting article by Sean Ingle (who is always worth a read btw) about the techniques used by Matthew Benham, owner of Brentford and FC Midtjylland. He's a Hedge Fund Manager and professional gambler so knows a few things about stats.

His approach is based on identifying Key Performance Indicators and making sure the team and manager work towards them. He sees making progress towards these as more important than the Win Lose Draw ratio.

Seems to be working so far.
Late Doors

There's nothing new in this kind of strategy, Using stats. Even turnip head Taylor used it in a more rudimentary form with percentages and positions. Then there's the Money Ball thing

Data gathering and analysis has become so sophisticated these days  it's foolish to disregard it. People say you can't substitute the human element but what is human judgement but a binary choice making process? A bloody big complex admittedly and what might be termed intuition may just be a superfast chemical process in the brain. I guess it's human impulse to want these kind of stat based strategies to fail but the bigger, better and faster the data crunching gets the more reliable they are. Everything that happens has a statistical chance of happening, it's just a case of  understanding the variables and that guy at Brentford seems to do just that, So far.

Good old time and the unknown impact of the future has a nice habit of fucking up the statistics though just to render things a bit less predictable.

It will be interesting to see if the approach succeeds. Although managers are increasingly using data as a tool to identify weaknesses in their team and in individual players, i think it's the first time it's been used to drive the strategy.

Football's a far more unpredictable game than baseball, American Football and Rugby, where they've been using these techniques for a while.

In Rugby Union they seem to be obsessed with measuring collisions, tackles and ball carries now. Has it made the game any more watchable? Probably not. There seems to be more kicking and charging straight at the opposition and less passing.

I suspect that it will result in similarly sterile tactics in football if adopted by more teams, so I'm quietly hoping that Brentford don't get promoted. Forum Index -> All other football
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