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The Pearson Debate - Something Not Mentioned Yet…


Harry
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1 minute ago, Oh Louie louie said:

That is true max.

But i dunno does that warrant a wage for say 2 or 3 signings a year?

I dont think so.

And if thats his remt, sl may as well walk away now.

Those two or three signings could make all the difference though…

It’s been discussed on here for many years how investment has appeared to have been lacking in what most clubs would appear to be key…such as manager role, coaching, recruitment. I find it really bizarre that the board haven’t invested (or won’t) in those areas. It seems so kin obvious to me. Too much reliance on data and stats without the correct people analysing it, football experts - not data experts. 

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For a Club with a strategy like ours, not investing in the very best scouting network of knowledgeable talent spotters, with an experienced Head of Scouting is near criminal. Been saying it for years.

We seem to focus almost all our development resources on the Academy. 
 

So Tins, can we have some oven-ready strikers, wingers and a couple of Gerry Gow like midfielders please? Like, now.
 

Isn’t going to happen. 
 

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2 minutes ago, exAtyeoMax said:

Those two or three signings could make all the difference though…

It’s been discussed on here for many years how investment has appeared to have been lacking in what most clubs would appear to be key…such as manager role, coaching, recruitment. I find it really bizarre that the board haven’t invested (or won’t) in those areas. It seems so kin obvious to me. Too much reliance on data and stats without the correct people analysing it, football experts - not data experts. 

You need analytical expertise these days but as a retired analyst I have posted before that the role of analysts in any line of work is to support the subject experts in their decision making. Analysts should not be making the decisions. Though managers sometimes want an analytical model to do it for them you should always push back.

I would be amazed if Nigel did not see the need for a head of recruitment who is a football expert with the necessary contacts. Let's hope we recruit one asap.

Meanwhile Steve has put a lot into physical infrastructure but neglects the recruitment infrastructure. It's the equivalent of Hargreaves Lansdown building palatial offices but not recruiting financial experts to run the business.

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2 minutes ago, chinapig said:

You need analytical expertise these days but as a retired analyst I have posted before that the role of analysts in any line of work is to support the subject experts in their decision making. Analysts should not be making the decisions. Though managers sometimes want an analytical model to do it for them you should always push back.

I would be amazed if Nigel did not see the need for a head of recruitment who is a football expert with the necessary contacts. Let's hope we recruit one asap.

Meanwhile Steve has put a lot into physical infrastructure but neglects the recruitment infrastructure. It's the equivalent of Hargreaves Lansdown building palatial offices but not recruiting financial experts to run the business.

I’m sure Nige does. He would’ve been used to working in a more traditional manner. 
 

We keep being told that specific players are really fast and have the best overall stats but then can’t deliver on the pitch…there’s obviously pieces missing from the jigsaw

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4 minutes ago, exAtyeoMax said:

Yes…but but there are prem players who have come from lower/non league…

That's a fair point tbf, and actually should be THE point. 

A club in our position is never going to spend the cash needed for a sustained attack on promotion, that's been made quite clear. The few times we have spent a bit more than normal, we end up nowhere and have expensive flops to get rid of (Engval, Diony - although thankfully he was a loan) and/or experienced players that are past their best (Kilkenny and Brunt immediately come to mind).

What we are counting on is finding the next Watkins, Tony, Vardy, even Webster. Calculated gambles that are cheap, can easily make the step up, but have the potential to make the step above again. Either in the hope that they're with us still, or to be sold on for a pretty penny.

We're ploughing money into the academy, which is great, but we need to start producing the talent to show that it's actually worth it. Yes we have a few promising players coming through, but are they really good enough to hold their own consistently at this level, or above? To be honest/fair, we don't have the history of being able to do this (yet). Yes we have exceptions like Bryan and Reid in recent years, but that's not enough to warrant the cash being pumped into the "project" to borrow a phrase from LJ/MA.

I'm holding onto the hope that Pearson knows what his long term strategy is, and he is making moves to put the right people in place behind the scenes to help things kick onto the next level. What is worrying is the results on the pitch though. I don't think anybody is, or ever was under any illusions that this season was going to be tough, and most would except a position somewhere between 10th - 18th, but with that in mind we need to see improvement on the pitch. We started to, but currently we're looking more like the team that lost interest last season. Let's just hope that it's a blip in that respect, but the home form HAS to change soon.

Going back to the point about lower league players, unfortunately you need the right people in place to spot the talent, otherwise you end up joining them in those leagues.

We really do seem to be caught in the middle at the moment. If we're not careful, finding players to compete at the championship level won't be a huge issue, because we'll be below this level.

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1 hour ago, Major Isewater said:

What’s the point in paying a Head of Recruitment when we haven’t got any money to bring anyone in? 
 

Major, we’re paying Simpson and Downing six-figure annual salaries. Freeing up one of those roles much earlier in order to pay a HoR would’ve been a far wiser strategy IMO.

Welcome back, @Harry

Edited by tin
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16 minutes ago, robin_unreliant said:

I'd like to know whether Brentford have a big network of scouts as they have got recruitment right. I'm not sure but had the impression they based it on analysis. 

Their owner has a company that does this stuff.

When Chris Wilder was at Sheff U he said he’d need 300 scouts just to compete with it.

Think we forget about Brentford’s model & find our own one..

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Because I know no one, or nothing, I can't argue with anyone that says they know something. All I can say thanks for the insight, the info and the heads up.

Things I've heard or read, some of which may be right, or not.

Steve Walsh had not long started a new job in the MLS when Pearson was appointed. So little chance of getting him in straight away. I think many hoped he would come straight away, but then we aren't Everton fans (not remembered fondly).

When Mark Ashton took his amazing Ego away to Ipswich , he took some backroom staff. It looks like Nige is in the process of building his own version it seems. Medical & conditioning has been sorted, it looks like changes to the coaching staff are imminent and as we Can't sign anyone until Jan, maybe recruitment may be further down the line. 

In my opinion, and I have no proof , Nige is restructuring the club inside and out. I guess I should say on and off the pitch , same thing . As we are unable to change things in one fell swoop, I do think he may change the recruitment set up at some stage. May bring in a Director of Football, or head of recruitment. TBH I'd be surprised if he doesn't. But the way things are going, that is the least of his worries ATM. If/when form and results pick up, it may give him the time to sort off field things. The article makes it seem like we are less scattergun than we appeared under Johnson at least.

Great thought provoking post @Harry, and an interesting article @bcfcfinker.

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I reckon Walsh may already be advising on a formal, or more likely informal, basis.

As he's working in the MLS, I wouldn't see a conflict with him recommending a couple of players to Nige, as very few players would be interested in going to the US as wages are higher here. 

Atkinson and Tanner are the types of player that I don't think would have been picked up by our recruitment team because their career stats weren't particularly outstanding prior to joining. 

Both those players do though very much fit the profile of Walsh signings, who like Nige, I'm sure has a network of scouts that he knows and speaks to regularly about certain players. 

In terms of who's speaking to agents, that is of course Richard Gould's job, not Sean Gillespy. If agent's want to tout their players to the club then they need to phone Gould! 

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35 minutes ago, tin said:

Major, we’re paying Simpson and Downing six-figure annual salaries. Freeing up one of those roles much earlier in order to pay a HoR would’ve been a far wiser strategy IMO.

Welcome back, @Harry

Seems an apt time to drop this back in.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-8262315/Physios-191-000-kit-men-56-000-Crazy-wages-dont-add-EFL-clubs-brink.html

Apologies that it from the Mail.

Note these are all pre pandemic numbers.

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Welcome back @Harry, good to hear from you again.

Really interesting, and clearly something you know and care about.

One thing that worries me on this is that I doubt this is something we can just leave until the next/summer transfer window and don’t need in place now. I imagine (and I’ve heard previous managers confirm) that recruitment takes considerable planning and time.
It’s not like the weekly shop; make a list the night before then go out on the 1st Jan and buy a player. Those manager have spoken about identifying, tracking, monitoring targets taking months or years before they are signed. Presumably that’s not happening - or if it is any new incumbent might have different ideas. 

I always felt that the “signings” of Weimann and Baker felt odd. Never really known that happen before - although covid effect on the market has never happened before. And you have to say that neither signing has been a success so far. 

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A great post and it echo’s the small snippets of info that i have been told by a source i have at the club..

It’s a concern and i think we have to look at this realistically, Pearson hasn’t got the network of people around him that he in reality needs to be successful. I would love Nige to succeed but you just hope that he can get in the personnel needs into the club.

Edited by bris red
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Just a couple of points to throw in here with no agenda either way. 

Richard Gould, our CEO, is heavily involved with recruitment as he stated at  the Senior Reds lunch last Thursday. He also stated that the Brentford model was not one he wanted our club to follow as it is not all it appears on the surface!! He didn't elaborate on that so judge for yourself. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Midlands Robin said:

The big problem as I see it with the "Lansdown model" is how can it work without a scouting network deeply embedded within the game?

If that is missing then how are we supposed to locate these players that other clubs have missed, snap them up for a bargain price and develop them into assets worth multiple millions?

on the flip side of the coin, Atkinson and Tanner both look like great signings who do fit the mold of the type of player we should be signing. Tanner was signed as that archetypal young player who we could mold into a first team regular and within a week or two he's already in the first team and starting.

That says something positive about our recruitment process if those two are anything to go by.

It would definitely appear that we have a significant amount of work to do to broaden and deepen our scouting and recruiting team but it can't be all bad if Atkinson and Tanner are anything to go by.

We don't have one football man in our senior leadership team, just a bunch of business managers. THAT is the problem

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3 minutes ago, italian dave said:

Welcome back @Harry, good to hear from you again.

Really interesting, and clearly something you know and care about.

One thing that worries me on this is that I doubt this is something we can just leave until the next/summer transfer window and don’t need in place now. I imagine (and I’ve heard previous managers confirm) that recruitment takes considerable planning and time.
It’s not like the weekly shop; make a list the night before then go out on the 1st Jan and buy a player. Those manager have spoken about identifying, tracking, monitoring targets taking months or years before they are signed. Presumably that’s not happening - or if it is any new incumbent might have different ideas. 

I always felt that the “signings” of Weimann and Baker felt odd. Never really known that happen before - although covid effect on the market has never happened before. And you have to say that neither signing has been a success so far. 

Mashton and LJ used to talk about giving a list of what they wanted/what was required, didn’t appear to be thought out and planned well in advance in a lot of cases…

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Good post but for me I’d ask what was your expectations for this season?

Mine was a season of low quality with an attempt at making us harder to beat, we are still a way off that but slowly getting there.

What we don’t know what the culture behind the scenes is like, and this is why NP has gone to tried and tested men, it may not work on the pitch but if things are that badly broken we need to start somewhere, it no secret that NP is clearly not happy with some of them, remember recruitment is about being able to shift some on which he’s clearly not been able to do.

As another mate alluded too, NP may not be here when we start seeing his work come to fruition . 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, exAtyeoMax said:

Mashton and LJ used to talk about giving a list of what they wanted/what was required, didn’t appear to be thought out and planned well in advance in a lot of cases…

I can’t remember individuals, but I’m sure there were instances where we signed players and were told they’d been on our radar for years. Didn’t we first spot HNM as a 15/16 year old? I’m sure there’s short term and panic buys mixed in too though! 

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3 hours ago, exAtyeoMax said:

I don’t see the benefit of only talking to certain agents? You’d always be missing out on certain players…it doesn’t make sense. I’m sure it does happen in other clubs where Brian doesn’t like talking to Jeff the Agent because he is a bit of a scallywag but you need to rise above that, it’s business! You employ the right people to deal with agents.

There is one good reason why you only talk to certain agents….it’s when you are greasing each other’s palms.  All alleged of course but there was rumour of £600k of Agent fees in the Engvall transfer.  I’d love to see what payments from football clubs have filtered their way through Tactical Change Ltd, Grove Life, Player P.A and Calibre Sports over the years.

2 hours ago, ExiledAjax said:

As I remember, under Ashton we used scouting software/player database stuff licensed to us by a company he owns. IIRC that was implemented when he was a consultant with us, and then also used whilst he was CEO. The article with Gilhespy says we have "our own" database, but doesn't elaborate on that very much.

My question to @Harry - do you know if we still use Ashton's stuff, or did that get canned when Ashton left?

Implemented in 2012(ish), then thrown out under SOD / Burt.  I’m sure he re-introduced it upon his return once Cotts was sacked and then Burt removed too.

In all honesty, a database itself is nothing special.  The club use Wyscout (amongst others) for data and video.  I’m sure they have a slightly better data / video package than I do though!  I too have a database, totalling circa 6k players and 100 data attributes each.  I have another for a smaller set of interested players that holds every match they play.

My database is Microsoft Excel!!!  I use Tableau to create visualisations from it.

Making a database sound so grand is trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes.  It’s only as good as the data you put into it.

2 hours ago, Oh Louie louie said:

We keep signing players from that level.

What seems more likely?

A we get promoted,

B we end up in the lower leauges.

 

Depends on their propensity to improve.  Plenty of nuggets in L1/2.  The skill is find the right ones.  We did alright in the past.

1 hour ago, chinapig said:

You need analytical expertise these days but as a retired analyst I have posted before that the role of analysts in any line of work is to support the subject experts in their decision making. Analysts should not be making the decisions. Though managers sometimes want an analytical model to do it for them you should always push back.

I would be amazed if Nigel did not see the need for a head of recruitment who is a football expert with the necessary contacts. Let's hope we recruit one asap.

Meanwhile Steve has put a lot into physical infrastructure but neglects the recruitment infrastructure. It's the equivalent of Hargreaves Lansdown building palatial offices but not recruiting financial experts to run the business.

I think Nige is trying to play some of that role (HoR) too at the mo’.  It seems as if he’s willing to give people in place the opportunity first.  If he feels Technical Recruitment isn’t up to scratch / needs supplementing I’m sure he will make changes.

1 hour ago, GrahamC said:

Their owner has a company that does this stuff.

When Chris Wilder was at Sheff U he said he’d need 300 scouts just to compete with it.

Think we forget about Brentford’s model & find our own one..

Yep, for all their data expertise and access to data, hugely reliant on physical scouting.  It’s a myth it’s all data based recruitment.

1 hour ago, Kid in the Riot said:

I reckon Walsh may already be advising on a formal, or more likely informal, basis.

As he's working in the MLS, I wouldn't see a conflict with him recommending a couple of players to Nige, as very few players would be interested in going to the US as wages are higher here. 

Atkinson and Tanner are the types of player that I don't think would have been picked up by our recruitment team because their career stats weren't particularly outstanding prior to joining. 

Both those players do though very much fit the profile of Walsh signings, who like Nige, I'm sure has a network of scouts that he knows and speaks to regularly about certain players. 

In terms of who's speaking to agents, that is of course Richard Gould's job, not Sean Gillespy. If agent's want to tout their players to the club then they need to phone Gould! 

Yep, his main role was getting Charlotte ready for the MLS.  Some of that heavy lifting has been done.  He’s back in Leicester next month to give a talk on Recruitment.

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1 hour ago, italian dave said:

I always felt that the “signings” of Weimann and Baker felt odd. Never really known that happen before - although covid effect on the market has never happened before. And you have to say that neither signing has been a success so far.

Really ? I thought they made perfect sense.
We had little money to spend - they were basically free signings. They took a cut in what they might have been on wage wise (Still not cheap I know), they were known to, and had played recently under the manager, always handy. They knew the club and area so no settling in time.

With the very unusual situation at the time, it made sense to me. Unless we had another 2 like Atkinson lined up, only cheaper , it feels like good stop gap signings . Plus Tbf Weimann had been a big miss previously, and Baker is a whole hearted CB in the mould of Pearson (injuries apart).

As I say, stop gaps, but understandable. I imagine the next ones will be more to where NP wants to get us. 
 

Edited by 1960maaan
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7 minutes ago, italian dave said:

It’s not like the weekly shop; make a list the night before then go out on the 1st Jan and buy a player. Those manager have spoken about identifying, tracking, monitoring targets taking months or years before they are signed. Presumably that’s not happening - or if it is any new incumbent might have different ideas. 

That forward planning for recruitment is definitely still happening. There's regular meetings between the technical recruitment team (Gillespy's team), Nige, Jon L, Gould, even Dave Rennie apparently, to identify players we will be interested in signing not just in January (where there will still likely be little activity from us) but next summer and the windows after that....we shouldn't haven't any concerns that planning for the future is still taking place, and it's good to have this consistency.

Harry's point is that there is no overall Head of Recruitment and that is a fair one. I had always assumed that we will recruit to that post at some point in the near future. Not ideal for now, but best waiting for the right person.

Regards scouting, Gillespy and his team do attend matches to scout players, and I'm sure Nige and Fleming will occasionally too. 

LJ, JMc and DH used to do a fair bit of scouting themselves, as did SC. Comes with the job.  

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11 minutes ago, marmite said:

Just a couple of points to throw in here with no agenda either way. 

Richard Gould, our CEO, is heavily involved with recruitment as he stated at  the Senior Reds lunch last Thursday. He also stated that the Brentford model was not one he wanted our club to follow as it is not all it appears on the surface!! He didn't elaborate on that so judge for yourself. 

 

 

A cynic might suggest it’s because it takes a lot of setting up, costs a lot of money to run, and you have to be good at it to make it work.  Brentford were prepared to do the hard yards, gets scouts all over Europe, etc.. They are agile too.  When Brexit impacts started to get thought about they shifted their scouts away from League like French Ligue 2 because they knew they wouldn’t get work permits.

4 minutes ago, italian dave said:

I can’t remember individuals, but I’m sure there were instances where we signed players and were told they’d been on our radar for years. Didn’t we first spot HNM as a 15/16 year old? I’m sure there’s short term and panic buys mixed in too though! 

I think we have to treat some of these things with some scepticism.  I’m sure we all remember that City played Monaco in a friendly / tournament a few years back and he played.  He may have stood out, not just with his hair.  But I don’t reckon we tracked him per se.  If we were, the point he gets into Monaco’s CL team is when you probably archive him and think he’s not gonna end up here! 🤣🤣🤣 The rumour was that the ex-Chelsea and then Monaco Sporting Director Michael Emanalo offered him to us just before he got the boot.

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17 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

Implemented in 2012(ish), then thrown out under SOD / Burt.  I’m sure he re-introduced it upon his return once Cotts was sacked and then Burt removed too.

In all honesty, a database itself is nothing special.  The club use Wyscout (amongst others) for data and video.  I’m sure they have a slightly better data / video package than I do though!  I too have a database, totalling circa 6k players and 100 data attributes each.  I have another for a smaller set of interested players that holds every match they play.

My database is Microsoft Excel!!!  I use Tableau to create visualisations from it.

Making a database sound so grand is trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes.  It’s only as good as the data you put into it.

You're correct of course, and we've all heard of lower league clubs using the FM or transfermarkt databases in the past, I'm sure a number of very small clubs simply pay the fee for wyscout each year. 

I just wondered if we were still using Ashtons stuff or not. 

I agree with the general sentiment, that we need a head of recruitment and scouting network for the database and analysts to support. Must admit I'd kind of assumed we had that in place.

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