Billy Beane and Bill Gerrard

Billy Beane, as some of you know, is the GM of the Oakland A's and the inspiration behind Michael Lewis' book, Moneyball.  Bill Gerrard is a professor of Sport Management and Finance at the Leeds University Business School and has been collaborating with Beane on extensions of the Moneyball approach to soccer.

I was trawling the web and found an abstract to a article that Gerrard wrote in the International Journal of Sport Finance in November of 2007 (HT: Wages of Wins Journal).  The article is titled "Is the Moneyball approach transferable to complex invasion team sports?", but I haven't been able to find a link to the full-text article on the IJSF website or anywhere else.  There is, however, a fascinating seminar presentation that he gave at a Leeds/Bradford meeting of the Royal Statistical Society in April 2008.  I would need to sit down with it to understand all of the statistics, but his concluding points are very insightful.

The main points that I gathered from the presentation are: effective statistical analysis in soccer is affected the lack of quality player and team data (a technological limit), would face tremendous cultural resistance, and needs a high-profile manager to champion it (Arsene Wenger perhaps).  I mentioned some of those things in my original Moneyball post, so it's nice to know that my thoughts and his intersect.

To conclude, here's a video presentation of Professor Gerrard on the role of statistics in sport: