My story of how i became involved in football would at one time be considered unique. Now it’s more common place that smart people out there producing and showcasing their work on various social media platforms are given opportunities by clubs and people in football who are noticing the skills and talent that is out there.
That said i am very fortunate that by no small amount of chance i’ve been given an opportunity by a football club to help them in recruitment. My remit is quite clear, working with the chariman and 1st team scout to find potential “gems” or undervalued players that can be ready for the 1st team and have high sell on potential, the remit has morphed to now helping the 1st team recruitment for the squad in the here and now as well as the more u23 specific player scouting.
That’s who i am, but what do i actually do?
Well I watch A LOT of football. I mean A LOT. I’ll get through 8/12 games per week (I watch on 1.5x the normal speed of a game) but it isn’t idle watching players hoping a gem comes to the fore. My skill set is designed to be able to flag players from the numbers, the stats and advanced metrics that football is now producing, to gain a competitve edge on picking out players other clubs haven’t yet noticed or that other clubs seem to be undervaluing. I have built my own models that look to highlight potential starts from the EFL and the National League (and abroad!) and they are constantly being reviewed on the basis of the names they throw up.
So how does it work?
As per any recruitment process, a candidate type is rolled out, in football that means a position and a type of player for that position, for example a deep lying central midfielder able to break up play and distribute the ball well. From that initial need, i’ll look at the raw data and my models, ascertain a number of options from the DATA ONLY at this point. Before those names go any further i’ll video scout those names using professional tools such as Wyscout/Instat. What i’m looking for is does the eye test match the numbers and does the player also have the intangibles needed, concentration, positioning, leadership, bravery, intelligence, movement, discipline etc. This may take a while as i move to a shortlist of ideally 3-5 names for each position. At that point I inform the Chairman and the 1st team scout who will add them to his watch list.
Football is very much about contacts. Players not even on your radar are suddenly bought to clubs as available and sometimes it needs a quick call on if you feel they add value to your squad. I’ll assist the club in this matter by providing data visual comparisons of that player to our own and to the league we are in to show if they are, from a data perspective, worth the investment. I also provide periodical reports on team’s progress on a number of metrics throughout the season comparatively against the rest of the league.
In essence i spend countless behind a computer either watching football, punching in code or writing reports. All in the hope we get the best information to the club who can then make the most informed decisions possible!
I’ll try and do a monthly update on this if people are interested!
Thanks for reading!