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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Guardian: Manchester City to open the archive on player data and statistics

Their s**t worked in the playoffs Premier League…

Until now, data that costs all Premier League clubs a small fortune each season has not been widely available or at least widely accessible to the public. Baseball may have been revolutionised by Bill James’s sabermetric findings from the late 1970s onwards, leading to Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball and now a film starring Brad Pitt, basketball coaches make tactical decisions based on live data during a game, but developments in football have largely remained in-house.

As Gavin Fleig, the head of performance analysis at [Manchester] City, explains: “Bill James kick-started the analytics revolution in baseball. That made a real difference and has become integrated in that sport. Somewhere in the world there is football’s Bill James, who has all the skills and wants to use them but hasn’t got the data. We want to help find that Bill James, not necessarily for Manchester City but for the benefit of analytics in football. I don’t want to be at another analytics conference in five years’ time talking to people who would love to analyse the data but cannot develop their own concepts because all the data is not publicly available.”

Fleig’s full-time department alone consists of four analysts attached to City’s first team and six analysts working at every level of the club from Under-21 to Under-9 level. As he conducts a tour of the office, one analyst is dissecting an Under-18s game against Chelsea. Ensuring the next generation is following the football strategy of the first team is paramount, although the data is not simply to educate young players on the way up. Far from it.

Mattbert Posted: August 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill james, soccer, statistics

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: August 16, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4209632)
Halfback passes to the center.
Back to the wing.
Back to the center.
Center holds it.
Holds it.
Holds it.
   2. SuperGrover Posted: August 16, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4209642)
Primey for #1.

Speaking of EPL, does anyone play fantasy EPL? If so, what the heck do you use for research? This is my inagural season and, as the article references, I am having a hard ass time finding anything of substance.
   3. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4209646)
As I mentioned in the soccer thread, this is awesome. The absence of publicly available data like this has been one of the most annoying parts about being an analytically-minded fan of the sport (especially given that much of Opta's data is highly subjective in nature and hard to "believe" in, at least without personal testing). Massive bravo for Man City, seriously.
   4. puck Posted: August 16, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4209653)
The lack of data *is* annoying. Even when someone does make it available, such as MLS providing OPTA chalkboards for all its games, they make the underlying data very hard to get at. I wondered if there was some sort of XML data scrapable, like the way people pull the pbp data from the MLB gameday pages. The flash app seems to hide the data, but I admit I didn't look that hard.
   5. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 16, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4209656)
they make the underlying data very hard to get at

Exactly! My understanding of the above is that Man City will be giving out that underlying data (I hope!), which, if possible, will at the very least be a step forward for us (as well as fun to play around with).
   6. Mattbert Posted: August 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4209660)
SuperGrover: There was a BTF fantasy league last season, and there will be another this season. If you are interested, sign up and use this league code: 556627-143171.

There was a bit of chat about research and resources on Page 5 of the current OT: Soccer thread. Starts at post #550.
   7. mitchiapet Posted: August 16, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4209748)
Totally agree with #3.

Baseball related thought: When will MLB allow Sportvision to publically release the raw FIELDf/x, HITf/x, and COMMANDf/x data?
   8. bigglou115 Posted: August 16, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4209776)
#7 Ironically never, as long as they have any say on the matter. Pitch f/x was released entirely by accident and became a case of a bell impossible to un-ring. It's doubtful they'll make the same mistake again.
   9. KT's Pot Arb Posted: August 16, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4209881)
Paging the legend of Voros... 1....2....3....
   10. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 16, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4209897)
It's an interesting development to be sure. I'll be curious to hear what others have to say.
   11. SuperGrover Posted: August 16, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4209965)
Thanks Mattbert! Had no idea there were soccer threads on BTF.
   12. Randy Jones Posted: August 16, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4209970)
Had no idea there were soccer threads on BTF.


Seriously? We've had the monthly OT: Soccer threads for like a year at least.
   13. Textbook Editor Posted: August 16, 2012 at 09:32 PM (#4210089)
Seriously? We've had the monthly OT: Soccer threads for like a year at least.


Ever since the Henry debacle in France there's either been that thread or the monthly thread to drop in on.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2012 at 12:29 AM (#4210171)
DIVE f/x!!!
   15. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: August 17, 2012 at 01:33 AM (#4210205)
DIVE f/x!!!

At last we can find out the average number of rolls on the ground when taken down by Nationality. I saw Luis Hernandez once roll all the way down the tunnel and out of the stadium.
   16. SuperGrover Posted: August 17, 2012 at 03:30 AM (#4210223)
Seriously? We've had the monthly OT: Soccer threads for like a year at least.


I've never noticed them in the Newsblog front page feed which is my primary view into the goings-on of BTF. Could be I just missed them.

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