The moneyball concept in football, is it possible?

In the early 2000's, football was thought unsuitable for the analytical approach, but Liverpool's recent turnaround suggests the contrary.

I’m sure many of you out there thought about this after seeing the movie. Some of you might have known about it before, if you follow the sport of course. Baseball is quite far from football, and this is what leaves us room for creativity on figuring out the moneyball concept in football.

When the man who introduced the concept, Billy Bean, was asked about the possibility to apply it in other sports, he firmly said it’s doable. He believes it’s just down to finding a weighthing system for the metrics of the game.

With no disrespect, baseball is a much simpler game compared to football. There are many more elements that constantly change in football. This is why it’s tricky. If it would have been the other way around, I’d see it like a walk in the park.

However, I believe this is doable as well. Simply put, because what happens on the pitch actually determines the result. But, and there’s a few but’s. I’ll just try to tackle one of them to keep it simple. Referees can make decisions which can make data and maths irrelevant. Unfortunately, we’ve got many bad decisions taken by reffs in football, which makes this a big part of the football moneyball theory.

Like in all other sports, football has it’s inside men. They usually tend to stick with theirs and follow the same old classic rules. This is why many of the ones involved are outdated. If you played or had any kind of inside work experience you’re welcome and kept in. If you didn’t, they consider you useless. A few decades ago I would have understood the idea, but now it’s just history – football strategy has changed. With the impact of technology in the last 10 years everything has changed. The media is also a totally different story compared to what it represented decades ago.

krychowiak-progress-report-raumdeuterApplying the moneyball concept in football is something of the future. If you only stick to the old rules you aren’t getting anywhere. This is why you need a balance between oldschool and modern views on the game. In terms of data input, it follows the same principle. You don’t just need machines to give you numbers, but, I strongly believe it is humans who have to assign those numbers. This is mainly because a well prepared human will always see and interpret things better. The efforts of data-collection coming from many men will then be used in combination with working formulas to achieve matemathical results.

As soon as this will be figured out I’m sure it’s going to have a massive impact on football strategy. Many will be against it, but the ones who will use it won’t ever see the way of working without it again!

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