Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This Blog Is on Hold

If you've checked in regularly, you have probably noticed the lack of posts. I thought it proper to make an announcement and give an explanation as well as some parting thoughts in case things become more permanent. For now, I am putting on hold all work on the blog for at least the next couple months. The short of it is that I now need to put full effort into writing my dissertation so I can finally finish grad school. After moving back to my home state a year and a half ago, I have come back to school for this semester to get the work done and finish up. Both personally and professionally, the stakes are high and I need to produce.

As far as the blog itself, I'm quite happy with the way it has turned out. I didn't have an overwhelming number of readers, but far more than I expected given that I didn't do much to promote it. I was encouraged that traffic seemed to be growing up until early-to-mid January when I stopped posting frequently. Something else I liked was that I had readers from a variety of countries all around the world. I am confident that there is a market out there for a website with a more analytical approach than what you'd see at soccernet, or the website of your favorite European sports newspaper. The same goes for developing, or even just putting up, player and team stats. The audience for that will naturally be smaller than the mainstream stuff, but football being the most popular sport in the world I think there are easily enough thinking fans out there to support a full-blown website. I think the same would be true of a general book about the sport or even a detailed season preview each year like you see in other sports like baseball and American football. It's still just a pipe dream, and I'll be busy with other stuff for a while, but I still have some hope that in the next year or two I'll be able to expand from this blog to a full site and maybe work on the publishing stuff as well.

A stereotype of Americans is that we're overly obsessed with stats. While I could be accused of fitting into that, I would like to think I did a pretty good job of using them judiciously. The nice thing about stats is that they show you how useful they are if you put forth the effort to look. For example, I was surprised to discover that there is little relationship between the number of corners for each side in a match and the outcome, however looking at a whole season the number of corners won and conceded by a team are solid indicators of how well they did. Several times people whose opinions about football I highly respect told me that my articles on a league they follow closely were accurate and insightful. For some of these, I wrote the article without having seen any matches from that league, only a couple Champions League or Europa League matches with clubs from there. That is a very strong sign that stats can tell us a lot more than most fans think and that they provide a great deal of insight. I don't want to go too far. I'm aware of the challenges that football presents compared to other sports, especially those that are more popular in the US. I don't think it's possible to become an expert on the game without ever watching or playing it. However, it does seem clear that statistical analysis can improve your understanding of the game, no matter how much of an expert you are or how many matches you watch.

I won't be writing about football for at least the next couple months. For that matter, I won't be doing anything football related other than watching Sevilla (COPA DEL REY FINAL, WOOOT! PALOP QUE GRANDE ERES) when I can. While I lost steam the last couple months, I still have several ideas and topics that I want to write about. For example, I have some ideas related to +/- in other sports for trying to tease out a player's contribution to his team. Before deciding to come here for school I was also planning a several-article series on shooting stats, both player and team. While I am pleased with my work, there is obviously a hell of a lot more that could be done. Hopefully all goes well and I finish my work for grad school, find a job teaching and get back to writing articles here in my free time. As I said above, I have still not given up on the dream of building a proper website and maybe even publishing. I wouldn't say it's likely. It would take a lot of work and good fortune, but it is well within the realm of possibility.

Huge thanks go out to all you readers, especially those who gave me feedback here and elsewhere. I learned a lot about the game, data analysis and myself in the course of writing the 100 or so articles. I am not a great writer and the content of my work is far more technical than most anything written about the sport. Me being American but for some reason using a few British words and grammar rules probably made it tougher to read no matter where you're from or which version of English you learned as a second language. I very much appreciate you putting in the required extra effort. I hope you were able to get something out of this blog and that you'll come back if I start writing again in two months time or further on up the road. Mil gracias.

If you wish to contact me, you can use the email address I set up for this blog. It's analyticalfootball at gmail dot com.

Until we meet again,



  1. Good luck with that my friend. I hear you as I am in the exact same situation!!

  2. This is a really good idea that you have going on. manufacturing