Author Topic: Moneyball  (Read 528 times)

Offline EastAnglianWhite

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Moneyball
« on: October 11, 2017, 10:23:11 AM »
Had a little bit of spare time on my hands this morning at work and found this piece written with a data analyst working with Dutch football club, AZ Alkmaar. He worked with Billy Beane for MLB side Oakland A's and has worked for Saracens rugby too.

https://thesetpieces.com/interviews/moving-analytics-from-moneyball-into-football/

The article itself is probably nothing that we have not thought about regarding Fulham's approach to transfers in the last couple of years but the one part of the article that sticks is:

"It only works effectively if everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet. What I’ve found in a number of football clubs is that you get a separation of powers. The analytics is done in the player recruitment and scouting, but if you don’t have the buy-in from the coaches then inevitably you get tensions. It usually goes hand in hand with the recruitment being controlled by a technical director and not the manager/head coach. Where it works well is when the head coach and technical director see the world in the same way, so the types of players that are being analysed are players they both agree on."

I don't believe that we as fans will ever know which new signings, both past or in the future, are "stats" led - obviously a couple have been obvious/mentioned in interviews etc...

But the thing that gets me is that on several occasions Jokanovic has made public comment on the transfer policy in a negative way. Given that he was bought to the club by Khan, surely he would have known that this was the way the club was run at the time and would have been advised of the club's plan moving forward should he take over - and he did. Of course, there would be a natural frustration at time a signing might be taking too long, the club won't pay an extra £500k or signing a player over the age of 28 but isn't this what SJ signed up for effectively?

At what point does the above noted statement come true at for SJ and FFC? Is there a breaking point where SJ has just had enough and walks? He obviously wants more input/control but there isn't a lot of sign of him getting it. When he signed a new contract earlier this year the comments from the Chairman appeared to indicate that SJ would have a but more input but, in my opinion, I wouldn't say that the summer illustrated this.

I don't envisage him being chopped, irrespective of if we get promoted this season or not but I personally cannot see him continuing to relinquish full control of transfer aspects. I see it that the manager would have the best view of what the team needs - he is the one on the training pitch and he is the one issuing tactics and instructions. Should he therefore not be the one identifying targets?
“The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.” - Pele

Offline Statto

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Re: Moneyball
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 10:55:02 AM »
Of course, there would be a natural frustration at time a signing might be taking too long, the club won't pay an extra £500k or signing a player over the age of 28 but isn't this what SJ signed up for effectively?

Based on the publicly-available information my understanding is he signed up for a system where signings would have to be approved based on a statistical analysis performed by another person.

However if that person, Kline, is an abrasive, difficult character, as has been reported, you cannot say that’s what Jokanovic signed up for.

Similarly If the stats process is substantially delaying transfers, that’s not what he signed up for.

If the process isn’t delivering the players he needs, that’s not what he signed up for. I made the analogy before that just because you let someone else cook your food, doesn’t mean you can’t complain if it tastes bad.

If we’re missing out on players because Mackintosh won’t pay an extra £500k, well that’s nothing to do with the stats system, but again it’s not what Joka signed up for.

In other words I still think Joka has grounds for complaint about a lot of things. Although for what it’s worth Im getting the impression his personal style is to be a bit of a “moaner” generally without it meaning that he’s actually unhappy or seeking to leave
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 11:18:16 AM by Statto »

Offline Roberty

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Re: Moneyball
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 11:35:35 AM »
Statto - do you think many or any of the "manager" have the final or even much of a say?

Clubs seem to have a director of football who deals with transfers, presumable after the manager has briefed them as to the type of player they want
It could be better but this is the real world and not a fantasy


Offline toshes mate

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Re: Moneyball
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 12:01:27 PM »
There have always been analytics in sport except pre-computers they were stored in people's heads and often expressed on paper in books etc.  As with anything to do with data the problems centre around the quality of the information and the manner in which it is used.  The advent of the Age of Computers has made analysis of data easier but has done little to rectify problems with the data collection and input stages in (a) recognising what may be important to observe and (b) in expressing any data via appropriate arithmetical and mathematical formula.  The algorithms used are basic and the same as they always have been and always will be.  What has changed is the quantity of data and the speed of processing which may or may not produce refinement i.e. the jury is still out on that in many areas of computer usage.  Quality?  Well that is a different matter entirely resting on the perception of success which should be objective but is often subjective, for example profit.  Transfers of tried and tested  or young players has always been a gamble, a risk, mitigated solely by those with the right kind of, and capable, football minds.  In other words you are playing with odds which are seldom likely to guarantee unmitigated success.  Computers always help the seller more than the buyer in any kind of gambling or risk taking which has an uncertain outcome, insurance being a classic example.

The situation with Jokanovic's role compared to the recruitment team role has been played out over and over again on here, and I believe he has accepted to take (i.e. not necessarily agreed with) via his contractural obligations the back seat in transfers simply because he is not one to bang his head against a brick wall.  The good news is that he is confident enough in his coaching methods that he can bash the best out of reasonable players and the bad news is he cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.  The fact remains that football transfers are as big a lottery as they ever were because statistical data still faces the garbage in garbage out test and there are few areas in computers where this is anywhere near satisfactory (look up some of the contra-facts in climate science to understand how easy it is to pump false analysis into collected data).

My own view is that football needs people who know the game inside out to seek the talent that is out there.  If computers help to narrow the search down and refine it then that is good but always remember the kids who turn out to be special but never appeared on anyone's radar until one person sees them playing and says to themselves 'OMG' or whatever.  It is the exceptions everyone looks for in a market place just as all of us have the occasions when we hunt for bargain buys.  Looking doesn't guarantee there is anything to be found whether you have a computer or not. 

Offline hovewhite

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Re: Moneyball
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 12:10:30 PM »
seems to be the norm now coaches,managers,they seem to all be in the same boat.
In slavs case he seems to have signed upto it initially and the new contract signed this year.

Offline Jims Dentist

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Re: Moneyball
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 06:48:50 PM »
Thanks to the stats men we have up to 7 forwards who can play along the front line.
However, not one of them could call himself  a regular central striker.
There is no one who can play with his back to goal and the airial threat is minimal.
This all contributes to no plan B/C.
Few other clubs would be so stupid to have such an unbalanced forward line.




Offline Carborundum

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Re: Moneyball
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 08:15:39 PM »

In other words I still think Joka has grounds for complaint about a lot of things. Although for what it’s worth Im getting the impression his personal style is to be a bit of a “moaner” generally without it meaning that he’s actually unhappy or seeking to leave

With a personality type like that he should watch the games from the JH stand.  There's safety in numbers.