By John Cartwright
Today, one sees so many young people at football grounds typing ‘Stats’ figures as the new scouting method that has entered the game here. I am convinced that the info. recorded provides basic details but misses important playing aspects in the game.
‘Stats’ seem to me to register the obvious but is unable to distinguish important issues in the game. Rote numbers that simply display positive or negative outcomes neglects the essential ingredient of correct or incorrect ‘decision-making’ in the game. The experienced Scouts’ ‘football eye’ however, may not have the exact numerical details of a performance of a player or team, but he will, nevertheless, have a general awareness of the overall playing quality of both.
The importance of decision-making relates to life as well as to football matches. Correct or incorrect decisions can mean huge differences in success or failure, greatness or ordinary. ‘Stats’ inability to recognize the issue of decision-making, is compounded by the fact that it does not designate that what is recorded as a positive result is not necessarily the best choice that could have been be made. The ‘football eye’ will note the importance of this alternative option and it will suggest to him/her that there is a weakness in the playing content of player or team. High numbers recorded by ‘Stats’ too often suggests top quality when in fact in many cases it represents over-simplicity and poor game understanding on the part of players and their teams.
I believe ‘Stats’ has over-reached its importance in the analysis of the game. Its coverage confirms generalities and not important specifics. In so doing, ‘Stats’ has created a ‘surge’ towards simplistic decision-making by players who are then judged too frequently on negative numbers and not positive decisions.
‘Robotic’, simplistic performances recorded by computer Analysts is not the way to provide players or teams that will play the game with individualism and deep game understanding. Give me the experienced ‘eye’ of the Scout to distinguish between real quality and false numbers.