Jump to content
Sports Interactive Community
AllyJoseph

Moneyball: Bristol City

Recommended Posts

Introduction

Hello, I've tried to post career updates in the past but the save usually dies. I have got myself in a position to win the Prem as Bolton and then my interest waned, I always feel like I haven't challenged myself enough. So I was itching to start a new save and one day I came across a facebook article from Football Manager about a "moneyball" save a gentleman had done. I was very interested as I had heard lots about it, I read the article and immediately fell in love with the entire concept. I read up on sabremetrics and watched the Brad Pitt film. I was thinking, "I can do that" in typical internet armchair fashion and what better way to start than to start a new FM save. First of all I ventured to League Two with Morecambe I signed a half star player because he had stats that seemed to fill my idea, sabremetrics if you are unaware is all about finding "hidden value" in cast offs. I started well, had an amazing cup run as well but I had a very very poor spell and found myself in the relegation zone. Reinvigorated by my trial run, I decided a better starting point would be League One and what better place to start than the original articles club, Bristol City.

I read what the author wrote and I disagreed with some of his policies and vehemently agreed with others. The main sticking point for me was he forced himself to accept any bid above the games valuation of the player, I find this silly personally. I don't think the true "hidden value" is acknowledge when doing this. Sure selling your 5m rated striker for 6m in the Championship is good business, but would that 5m striker get you promoted and therefore lead you to the untold riches of the Premier League? I've decided that whilst no one at all is "unsaleable" I will put my own price on their head, not the arbitrary price the game decides to set. I also find the game mis-values players at times due to the way the game is made due to reputation having a factor.

Rules are made to be broken, so whilst I will put "guidelines" forward, moneyball for me is about thinking outside the box and whilst having a philosophy is good, it is the death of your club if you refuse to change with the times. So as a loose guideline here is my "soccerball" philosophy.

"Soccerball" Rules

  • 1. Strikers are overvalued and easy to come by. Contrary to what I think is a common held belief, I don't think a 20 goal a season striker is "hard" to find. I think a 20 assist a season team is harder to come by. If my production rate for chances is high, the goals will come. So I will not lavish budgets on strikers if they are overpriced. I will stick to the cast offs of bigger clubs, "failed" strikers, free transfers and transfer listed players.
    2. Youth is overpriced for low return with high risk. I love youth. In youth I trust. However, if you pay 12m for that 18 year old striker, will it take him 2 years to develop into the world beater? Will he ever fulfill the potential he has. It is much better to buy a 21 year old more rounded player than take a chance on an 18 year old with potential. The exception being of course your own youth team which in theory costs nothing. I will always keep an eye out for youth, but I'll be mindful to not spend big money for them. An example would be Francis Jeffers joining Arsenal for 8m whilst around the same time Kevin Phillips was scoring 30 Premier League goals for a lesser side for a fraction of the cost.
    3. Contracts are where money is best spent. Contracts are a better investment than transfer fees, by paying slightly more in wages but giving a longer contract I will save countless millions in the long run than having to buy replacements. Obviously a risk is involved with saddling yourself with a player on a 5 year deal and he flops. However, its a much easy pill to swallow if you pay 45k for the player instead of 2.5m. I will concentrate on pumping up my wage budget over spending a transfer budget. I think wages are a lost gem when it comes to football, when looking at success its easy to just take into account expenditure on player sales, at the minute the press is loving Chelsea's net transfer spend. However a better yard stick would be the clubs annual wage budget. If Everton budget 50m a year and get into Europe, is it not more financially prudent than say Manchester City who get into the same European competition but spend 207m on wages. This again obviously will change as time goes by, but becoming financially sustainable is the first aim, this is perhaps the most important factor of my "moneyball".
    4. Hidden value in players. Hard to give a definition of(see article at the end on the real life Moneyball) but in short, as I said above in point one. Maybe its a case of finding value in buying 2 fast wingers who can cross for 10m rather than spending 20m on a prove 20 goal a season striker. Maybe its a case of finding the highest interception average for a centre midfielder and retraining him to break up play, even if he's crap at passing. Maybe the right back regen who is fast and can dribble would be better off retrained as a striker. It's all subjective to the player at the time. Basically find value where no one else see's it.
    5. Find players for the tactics, not tactics for the players. Money is wasted on buying the cheap world class sweeper if I'm never going to play a sweeper.
    6. However, if there is profit in buying the world class sweeper to sell on, buy the world class sweeper. So players will sometimes be seen as an investment rather than a player who will immediately benefit the side.
    7. The infrastructure of the club is more important that the team on the field. Whilst the end goal is to win everything and you need a great team to do so, there is no point having the next Zidane if he is being trained at the Dog and Duck car park by Ron Jeremy. It may be more prudent to spend the 4m on youth facilities than on that young star. This ties in with the value of youngsters.
    8. Wisdom of crowds. I may have a biased opinion on the lad I've been tracking for over a year, my scout may think someones trash is the bees knees. Signings will on the main be made after thorough scouting and opinions from many people. I will obviously sometimes see the "hidden value" scouts will not see like turning a quick profit, however all advice, even from the community here will be considered.

Now there are many other things to take into account but I've babbled for long enough and I'll be surprised if you've read this far. Updates will be done on a season to season basis with the sporadic update when I get excited about something. Current Moneyball stats are 4th in League One after 18 games and things are looking pretty rosey!

Wish me luck!

SABREMETRICS

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabermetrics

Football Manager meets moneyball article

http://thesetpieces.com/features/football-manager-meets-moneyball-pt-1/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read through it all and am patiently waiting for the next update! Hopefully this strategy works out for you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I read through it all and am patiently waiting for the next update! Hopefully this strategy works out for you!

Hey mate, thanks for being in on the ground floor, the nature of what I'm doing means its hard to give meaningful updates without any tangible data, however to help things out I'll do a January transfer period update. Afterall, the buying and selling of players is what moneyballs all about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

January 1st Update

As I said above, it's really hard to justify my decisions without a lot of tangible data to compare and contrast. Whilst I won't show every transfer decision I will try and explain why I've done it in future updates.

I have signed one player so far for 40k Dani Aquino from Murcia and have sold nobody, although this is all about to change come the end of January. Now why did I sign him? Well, without relevant data I had to go off "attributes" alone, which I was a bit annoyed about really but we where short in midfield. I checked the transfer market and Spain is a great resource for Championship/League One players and he was available for a very affordable 40k. I am not in the business of letting players leave for no real reason and one of Soccerballs BIG ideas I forgot to mention was this...

9. New manager syndrome: Do not sell/buy people just because you've joined a new team. There will be value within the club already.

There will be departures in January, but everyone had a chance to show their worth. So far Aquino has been a good purchase and has an average rating of above 7.00 which for me is a decent return on 40k, he is also currently valued at 375k, so If I chose to cash in now, I'd be looking at a profit of 300k+.

NEWS

God, I promise I'll waffle less once I've explained the ideas behind Soccerball once. Have some funny news, well, amused me.

Jens%20Lehman_zps6kups0gi.jpg

STATISTICS SO FAR

I'm doing "ok" in the league so far, I would have liked to have been doing better, a few dodgy results and injuries(isn't that every managers excuse!) have cost us dearly. Especially my recent run of ***** form.

League%20Jan%20first%20season_zpsqwdhe7rx.jpg

Left wing is looking like our danger position, I wouldn't expect any less to be honest with our second best player Luke Freeman out there being backed up by Prem experienced George Cunningham at left back. We appear to catch people off guard with a fast start, which is in line with my tactics which calls for high paced, high pressure football. Passing being our main mode of assist also is in line with my possession football tactic. Surprised that Luke Freeman is my highest average rating, can't be much in it between him and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas who has been by far my most influential player.

Stats%20general%20jan%20first_zpsekxlntwr.jpg

You probably won't ever see this screen again, I think it's a wasted screen, has SO much potential to give real good data, but it's watered down by players who appear once and strikers who have made 100's of failed tackles. Anyway, just to give you more stats, here's some useless data, if anyone can think of a way this can become useful, please let me know!

Stats%20depth%20jan%20first_zpsxnt2va3j.jpg

I don't want to get bogged down too much and throw long post after long post at you. I will probably do one more update before seasons end(warning, it'll be long) on my January transfer dealings, until then, excelsior!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I was itching to start a new save and one day I came across a facebook article from Football Manager about a "moneyball" save a gentleman had done.

From Put Niels in Goal?

I'd seen a Rangers "Moneyball/Soccernomics" save there last year.

EDIT: Now that I've read through the opening post, I see it isn't. :D

But I'll be following this. I had some of the early Bill James Baseball Abstract (1985 and 1986 IIRC. Ended up following the abstract to work out Pythagorean expactations and the whole bit), so I've known about/been fascinated with sabermetrics for decades.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From Put Niels in Goal?

I'd seen a Rangers "Moneyball/Soccernomics" save there last year.

EDIT: Now that I've read through the opening post, I see it isn't. :D

But I'll be following this. I had some of the early Bill James Baseball Abstract (1985 and 1986 IIRC. Ended up following the abstract to work out Pythagorean expactations and the whole bit), so I've known about/been fascinated with sabermetrics for decades.

Thanks! I'm such a newcomer to Soccernomics and Sabremetrics, I hope I do it justice! However your knowledge will well surpass mine so I am sorry in advance if I don't live up to expectations! Also, I hadn't seen the article you mentioned before so I will check that out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

March Update: Season One

A lots happened since my last update, even though not a lot of time has passed. First of all, I should probably show you guys my league position.

League%20Update%202_zpscm7ffhr8.jpg

A marked improvement on my standing is due to savvy transfer window dealings, Frank Fielding my goalkeeper remembering he's good and Kieran Agard deciding to score loads of goals for no real reason. All these factors also lead to my first award on this save.

Manager%20of%20the%20month_zpsafrdjpw3.jpg

About bloody time as well to be frank. I was tearing up the league in January as well but got overlooked. I feel a lot of Bristol City players have been overlooked for Player and Young Player of the month as well, it's a conspiracy I tells ye!

Transfers

Ok I said this could be a long update, but I've had a change of heart. I was going to give my appraisal of my signings and tell you guys WHY I bought them now. However it just makes much more sense to do this at the end of the season. So for now, you can make do with just my ins and outs screen.

Transfer%20center_zpstgv1lnbt.jpg

I'm happy that I've managed to bring in more than I've spent as this is really the essence of what I'm trying to do. Be successful without bankrupting the club, I was actually loathed to sell that one player but he came to me asking to leave and Wigan were showing interest. I cashed in and upgraded him with a Boyata which was such a coup, the press even said so! I will refrain from giving my full opinion on the matter though until the end of the season when I can blind you all with stats before you point and laugh at my terrible signings!

YOUTH TIME

Full%20Youth%20Intake_zpst8cztkrj.jpg

Youth intake deserved its own colour, that's how exciting new Youth Intakes are. Look at some of those names! LOOK AT THEM! Ray Vivesh, I so want to turn you into a star, why did you have to be so bad. Anyway, two stand out kids, who actually look like they might make the grade if I don't speed my way to the Prem.

Youth%20Maylon_zpssfphlabm.jpg

Youth%20Millard_zpsfpkozz9d.jpg

Even if I do make it to the Prem these boys will be developed, "Championship Potential" equals money potential. Whilst eventually a Bristol City production line would be amazing, it would render Moneyball "complete" if you will as we will be totally fee free. However in the meantime, I think there is again "hidden potential" in developing kids. Seems a daft thing to say, we all love developing kids(I sound like I'm grooming), but a lot of people may look at these guys and say "they're not good enough" and you know what, I agree! They probably aren't good enough for where we want to be, they are good enough to earn me a few million pounds though. I think a lot of people release kids when they should actually sell their kids. Turn a quick profit, re-invest the profit into better youth facilities.

Anyway, that's all for now, next update will be season end and transfer summary/stats. Until then wish me luck in the league! I just drew 1-1 away with Leyton Orient so I'm apparently trying to throw it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the use of loans in the January window. Much better business than splashing out money on 3 panic buys who end up being mediocre for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was a serious update! Seems like things are going very well for you and you're spot on about youth. Most people love developing their young kids but in reality they're better off moving them for money. I always forget to invest in my youth facilities as well so that's something I should focus more on in my own saves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like the use of loans in the January window. Much better business than splashing out money on 3 panic buys who end up being mediocre for you.

Thanks mate, I felt like we only needed to improve the depth rather than go out and lavish money on a first team player.

That was a serious update! Seems like things are going very well for you and you're spot on about youth. Most people love developing their young kids but in reality they're better off moving them for money. I always forget to invest in my youth facilities as well so that's something I should focus more on in my own saves.[/Quote]

I usually go big on youth every save, I'll invest heavily on buying kids spending whatever I please. I'm going to TRY and curb it this time in accordance to the Moneyball theory, we'll see if I can! :)

Quick Update

Season's ended, brace yourself for a mega long indepth update in a short while. However if you can't wait

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

End of season review

SkyBet%20League%20One_zps5gnc2a7e.png

Part One

I know long indepth analysis isn't what everyone wants, so for those of you who don't Part One is a concise overview of our season.

League Table

We won the league, hardly at a sprint though, we had hideous form and actually drew our last 3 games of the season. Still, can't complain at going up as Champions.

Luke Freeman - easily my player of the season, he got an incredible 22 assists in League One which was actually double his nearest assist rival who got 11. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas carried games early on in the season, Luke Freeman took over and ran with the ball. The teams quarterback, he will have the club built around him.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas - Top scorer and arguably my best player, its a toss up attributes wise between him and Luke Freeman. Early on in the season when we hadn't really settled into any sort of rhythm Jay was winning games on his own with outrageous goals. Definitely will be a first team player next season, he and Luke Freeman are definitely my stars.

Greg Cunningham - The guy who plays just behind Luke Freeman had a big job to do, he did it and exceeded it. He was the highest average rated player in League One for a while before dropping off due to other players having staggering late season form. Still a League One average of 7.18 is not to be sniffed at and he popped up with a few important goals as well!

Squad - Needs improving but everyone played well in their own way this season, no real stand out dead-weight. A few contracts won't be renewed but they are by no means players that are being kicked out the door, more given a handshake and wished all the best in their future endeavours.

Part 2

Ok so for all you stat hungry, information starved remaining people who want a more in depth summary of how things went and the Moneyball philosophy, here we go.

Transfers

I won't bother linking the image again, its in an above post I haven't made any further signings. How did they do you say? Very well. Here is a run down player by player.

First of all, the loanee's. Every single one didn't cost me a penny in wages or in transfer fee's, so I'm not even going to bother trying to justify anything they did. All 3 where a success, they contributed with a lot of playing time(115 games between them) in a League winning side. So for absolutely £0 money, I gained a Championship winning return, that is a Moneyball success!

Sergio Garcia - Why did I sign him? Alex Kiwomya on loan from Chelsea had hit a very poor run of form, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was injured, Scott Wagstaff needed some competition. Sergio looked a quality player, he had 3 stats that fit in with our tactical philosophy. He could pass(12), he could dribble(13) and he could run(13 pace, 15 acc). He came in on a free transfer getting 1.4k a week with backup status, it made him one of our lowest paid players. I don't have a big enough sample size to show you how he did statistically but he did exactly the job he was brought in to do, he backed up Scott Wagstaff very well. He probably would have got more games but some kid cracked his ribs soon after joining in a u21 game against QPR when he was trying to get match fitness.

Fran No - Yes, I have instantly taken to calling him Dr. No. Why did I sign him? 2 of my center backs in January said they wanted to leave, both citing bigger clubs who were interested in them as the reason. I needed to replace Karleigh Osbourne who was Wigan bound so I brought in Fran No as back up for free on £825 a week. He only played 0(3) times for us, but he cost me nothing and his wages practically cost me nothing. A justified signing who would have been needed had injuries hit us, better safe than sorry.

Dedryck Boyata Ahhh finally a player I can give you tangible evidence as to why I signed him. A staggering 82% tackle success rating in League One makes Boyata have insane value to me, as a defender your priority other than to stop the opposition scoring, is to get the ball off the opposition. Being successful in that 8/10 times is wonderful news and a great platform for our attack. If you don't have the ball you can not score its that simple. A little disappointingly, he only has a 60% passing average, there's no point winning the ball if you are going to give it away. However, I will chalk this down to him being a center back, he has 2 passing options, short to another defender or long to the flair players. The longer the pass, the harder it is to convert that into a successful pass. We paid 100k for Boyata, which looking at his high determination(16), his age of 24 and his immediate success at the club, was definitely a sound investment. If I was to sell him right now at value, he would net me a profit of 550k. Stunningly, his move was not motivated by money either, taking a huge pay cut to come on 2.8k per week, making him earn less than half of our top earners. Finally, he gives us an option now to consider tutoring players with his professional personality, something that I kept in the back of my mind whilst searching for my first team replacement of Karleigh Osbourne. Overall, I can see why Manchester City transfer listed him as he isn't Manchester City standard, however we are more than happy to have him here and I think he could even be with us if we make the Premier League in the next 2-3 years.

Dani Aquino Was my first signing in the summer before the season started. He was initially brought in as cover for 40k. He quickly established himself with some incredibly competent performances. He cost me not a lot of money, he took a small contract of 1.9k a week, however I'm struggling to decide if he was a success or not. In 11(6) league games he bagged 6 goals from midfield which was a great return. He had a fantastic shot on target average of 63% with a staggering 78% passing completion average. He came out with an average league rating of 7.14, successful for 40k yeah? I agree, was he an OVERALL success however? I'm torn, whilst on the field he was great, he wasn't actually ON THE FIELD for that long. 17 games means he missed 29 games through injury. That's 29 games I had to pay his wages, replace him and hope for similar quality he was producing. Sometimes, players who are good are transfer listed because they have an issue, I am willing to take risks on the controversial figures, the injury cast offs and the overweight players who haven't played for 2-3 years. However I can't call them a success until I know which player it is I have bought. Therefore, I'm going to ask you guys if you think he was a success or not? He definitely will be staying for next season barring a stupidly good offer or 2-3 big players coming up unexpectedly pushing him down the pecking order.

Squad Summary

Wisdom%20of%20crowds_zps8tjilcof.jpg

We need major investment for next season as you can see through the wisdom of crowds my coaches point to obvious holes in my side. In the summer I will have to strengthen and probably bring in another goalkeeper, I've been given a huge £1.8m and 40k additional wages to do it!

Salary%20per%20anum_zps9omnwohn.jpg

Our salary commitments compared to other teams in our division shows us that we probably finished around the position we should have done, it will be interesting to see this table next season when facing relegated sides with big budgets and parachute payments.

Stat%20me%20up_zpsthltqjyp.jpg

If Luke Freeman is half as good this season coming as he was this season just gone, I honestly feel like we can go up. An insane 37 of our goals came from left wing, a mere 11 came from the right. Also, most our goals we conceded came from the right hand side weakness. Part of soccernomics is only replacing your weakest aspect, in this case my midfield and right hand side is my weakest aspect, so I won't be looking for a left winger or a left back. Common sense really, but how many times have you bought that 20m striker when your 2 other strikers just scored 20 goals each? It's an easy trap to fall in but if you improve your strongest links to be even stronger are you getting a significant gain in the overall quality of your side.

Luke%20Freeman%20stats_zpskvprruiv.jpg

Bonus Luke Freeman stat screen to just show you how ridiculous he has been.

FINAL screenshot for you here, another little brucie bonus for staying with me all this way. If you're going to secure promotion, may as well do it in the 93rd minute with an equaliser to make it 4-4.

Promotion%20game_zpsmriqnsnx.jpg

Next Season

I need a new keeper. Just for back up, Fielding is good enough to start.

I need a striker. Strikers are overpriced, so if one doesn't appear, I will try and loan back Dwyer who was fantastic scoring 13 in 13.

Midfield needs strengthening, most our best midfielders are going back to their parent clubs. So we may have to sign some depth rather than 1 quality player.

I'm going to be honest with you here, I think we can challenge for back to back promotions and anything less than a play off challenge and I'll be disappointed. We have some players that are Premier League quality and that's not an over exaggeration.

Thanks for reading the long winded post. If you'd prefer these to be more concise, do say so and I'll do more "Part One" type updates rather than "Part Two". I've also reigned it back a little not wanting to go TOO in depth and bore people, but if they want even MORE stats and analysis then please say so and I'll include more!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd have to say that first season is an absolute success! It looked like you made perfect moves in the transfer market and didn't spend any money you didn't have to. Bill James would be so proud of you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading through I will be following as it seems like an interesting concept.

Jet is one of my favourite players in game somehow scores almost constantly even in the Prem to bad he can't do as well in real life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd have to say that first season is an absolute success! It looked like you made perfect moves in the transfer market and didn't spend any money you didn't have to. Bill James would be so proud of you!

Thanks mate, it was a successful campaign but I think my incredibly poor end of season form skewed my views and made winning the League seem a bit of an anti-climax. Felt more as though we won due to other's being bad rather than us being good. Overall though, in retrospect, we were just magnificent. :)

After reading through I will be following as it seems like an interesting concept.

Jet is one of my favourite players in game somehow scores almost constantly even in the Prem to bad he can't do as well in real life.

Hey mate, thanks for reading and joining me on the journey! JET was on fire at the start of the season, I started him as a lone striker and he started to run away with the Leagues top scorer, the goals dried up after about 20-25 games and I moved him back into an AMC role. If he had any sort of long lasting consistency other than bouts of consistency followed by 10 games of dross, he'd easily be a Prem mainstay. I must say, I was gutted when my Oldham fan mate told me Bristol City had released him! I hope we pick him up at Bolton ;), might even write Neil Lennon a letter.

Things I forgot to tell everyone!

Aquino ended up getting voted 2nd in the Leagues signing of the season poll. Still not convinced!

Luke Freeman was ROBBED of player of the season, it went to Paddy Madden who scored 26 goals.

I was robbed of Manager of the season, the accolade going to Swindon Town's boss.

Luke Freeman walked fans player of the season, unsurprisingly.

Freeman/JET where our top shirt sellers, Cunningham in 3rd! Fielding 4th and Aquino 5th.

Messi won every world award ever. Shock horror.

Arsenal won the Prem.

Southampton got relegated! I'm not looking forward to getting tonked by them next season.

Sneak transfer peak

I signed Larnell Cole 200k from Fulham and brought in Sami Ameobi on a free thus far. Explanation as always in more depth in a proper write up.

Last update for a while whilst I play through the start of the season and spend/sell wisely!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...