Football has come a long way in a very short space of time. It wasn’t long ago ‘data’ was limited to tables of appearances, goals and little else.
But there’s been an explosion of data in the beautiful game in recent years. Clubs are scrambling to find marginal gains by delving ever deeper into the numbers. Any organisation worth its salt now has a whole department of number crunchers scouring the globe to unearth gems, analysing performance and scouting opponents.
Liverpool, though, were one of the early adopters of data and analytics in the UK – but they were not always heralded as pioneers. In fact, in October 2015 the Daily Mail ran a scathing piece on Michael Edwards, ‘ …the laptop guru who did a number on Brendan Rodgers’. Suffice to say, that piece has not aged well.
But it’s the throwaway phrase from that headline which lends itself as the name of Twenty3’s brand-new data-driven podcast: Laptop Gurus.
Edwards is now the much-lauded sporting director of the Premier League champions whose remarkable record in the transfer market is headlined by the arrivals and subsequent success of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino – to name just a few.
So, that’s the name. But what can you expect from Laptop Gurus?
Each fortnight, we’re going to be taking a deep dive into three of the biggest stories in football, armed with our innovative Content Toolbox and assisted by a data expert. The aim? To provide a level of analysis mainstream football podcasts simply don’t provide, bringing you closer to the real story.
In the inaugural episode – which you can listen to below – Sky Sports’ Data Editor Adam Smith joins host Tom Bodell to discuss two of the biggest transfer deadline day moves – Thomas Partey’s switch to Arsenal and Manchester United’s capture of Edinson Cavani.