Bumper 10-Day Liverpool FC Media Roundup - 29th November
LFC for sale, Ward and Graham step down, but also several good player interviews to enjoy
Journalism student Daniel Zambartas rounds up some of the best or more interesting articles, news stories and interviews online, in newspapers and on podcasts.
Comments on Twitter about the Julian Ward/Ian Graham news:
Mel Reddy: “Worrying developments at LFC in critical roles. Michael Edwards’ exit was sizeable enough, now his successor Julian Ward, and director of research Ian Graham - widely viewed as the best in the business - will also depart, all as Mike Gordon takes a step back. Too much change.”
@PhilBlundell: “You can already see how the cranks are going to view post FSG Liverpool. If we're good, it's because the new owners did what they wanted, if we're bad then FSG left the club in a position that was too hard for the new owners to fix.”
Neil Atkinson responds to Blundell: “All plots lead to death.”
Jonathon Northcroft: “These changes don't sound good. Liverpool rose because of the three-way relationship between Klopp, Gordon and Edwards, and input from an empowered team of high-class people beneath them. Now...back to an old-fashioned model?”
Rory Smith: “This is obviously a blow for Liverpool, but I don’t think it means moving away from a data-led approach. There’d be a few obvious internal candidates to replace Ian, with Will Spearman probably the most compelling.
The key thing, as explained in Expected Goals, described by the @NewStatesman as written in “hurried, magazine-style prose,” is that Liverpool’s system doesn’t rely on individuals. It stays as they change. Even Edwards and Graham. It’s designed to endure.”
Liverpool.com on Ian Graham leaving (Josh Williams)
“Once Graham began working for Liverpool — the club he'd supported his whole life — he spent his entire first year building recruitment applications to assess players and their performances. He'd previously generated models to evaluate players strictly in accordance with their impact on points and goal difference, and it was time for him to refine his work within a club environment.
"Any analyst not working on recruitment is literally wasting their time," he told an audience of listeners at the annual StatsBomb football conference in 2021, also claiming that '50 per cent of transfers fail' during his fascinating talk, detailing his findings that certain players deliver points over the course of a season, whereas others cost points.
“As early as 2006, he was judging players based on their influence on their team's points tally, claiming that Danny Gabbidon was worth 8.45 points per season to Alan Pardew's West Ham United side, compared to Paul Konchesky, who actually cost his team 7.64 points per season. "There are players who shine through in the data, but don’t naturally shine through for your typical football fan or even your typical scout," he once said.
[NOTE: Over a decade ago, Paul Tomkins noted that 50% of transfers fail, after analysing what was then 3,000 transfers, and Dan Kennett dubbed it Tomkins’ Law. And in Paul Tomkins’ and Oliver Anderson’s 2006 analytics book, The Red Review (on the 2005/06 season), the points won/lost by players was covered. That said, after that, Ian Graham became an elite analysis and recruitment guru who helped Liverpool procure Jürgen Klopp and many elite players on the way to winning every single trophy imaginable, and no one has heard of Tomkins since. Rumours that Tomkins wrote this paragraph about himself in the third person like a classic narcissist are possibly exaggerated.]
“Recruitment was the reason he was brought in by FSG, he claims. As Liverpool climbed from mid-table mediocrity to the summit of the Premier League under Klopp, it was the insights harvested by Graham's department which guided Edwards as the club's sporting director through the turbulent waters of the transfer market. His appointment wasn't just a box-ticking exercise as is often the case in football, he was actually being listened to by the people who mattered.”
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