(one of the most influential Americans of the last two centuries. And on the right, Billy Beane)
If Billy Beane’s shit (by his own admission) doesn’t work in the MLB playoffs, how might it be applied to the struggles of Liverpool F.C., who suffered a once unimaginable loss to Blackpool a week ago? With John Henry’s pending takeover at Anfield, the Independent’s Glenn Moore considers the Boston owner’s prior attempts to hire the Oakland GM (and subsequent employment of consolation prize Bill James).
“Billy Beane is a sharp mind,” said Larry Lucchino, CEO of the Red Sox and NESV. “We tried to hire him, but what we’ve done since Theo Epstein took over is to take some of the quantitative analysis approaches and overlay them with the resource advantages of our market.”
In English that means use the stats and add the financial muscle the Red Sox has to buy the best rather than just the best-value players. It worked, Boston twice winning the World Series. Coincidentally Beane was in London yesterday, appearing with ArsÃ¨ne Wenger on stage at the “Leaders in Performance” conference at Stamford Bridge. Their presence together, at an event attended by a impressive cast including Martin Johnson, the England rugby coach, underlined how seriously British sport now takes metrics. So, too, the five stands in the exhibition hall taken by companies like Pro-Zone and Opta who are now selling recruitment analysis as well as match statistics.
Beane said: “You would have a hard time finding any major sport in the world which is not using metrics in some way. Performances in baseball are much more easily measured than in soccer but each sport has a metric which is relevant, it is identifying it. Basketball is much more similar to soccer and many NBA teams are using metrics.”
Beane became a fan of English football some years ago when he watched a match while in London and now rises at 5.30am each weekend to follow the Premier League on TV. He has worked with Spurs, is friends with Chelsea’s performance director Mike Forde, and has had discussions with young managers like Aidy Bothroyd and veterans such as Sir Alex Ferguson. Confidentiality meant he could not go into details, but he said the use of metrics is growing in the English game.