At the onset of their 2022/23 campaign, Burnley FC were confronted with several uncertainties. Would the club's 16 new signings easily integrate into the wider squad? How would the squad adapt to the new attacking playing style? And could Vincent Kompany steer them back to the Premier League?
Undeterred, Burnley tackled these challenges head-on. New signings such as Manuel Benson, Anass Zaroury and Nathan Tella swiftly embedded themselves into the first team and contributed to Burnley being the leading goalscorers in the division with 87 goals.
The wider squad also swiftly embraced their new manager's philosophy and tactics. And guided by Kompany, they clinched promotion with a record-breaking seven games remaining, finishing the campaign with an impressive 29 wins, 14 draws, 3 losses, and a remarkable 101 points.
A crucial factor contributing to Burnley's success in the 2022/23 season has been their astute player recruitment, which played a vital role in their squad rebuilding efforts following their relegation to the EFL Championship in 2021/22. George Foster-Vigors was an integral part of last season’s success having joined Burnley as a Technical Recruitment Analyst in 2019, before being promoted to Head of Technical Scouting at the end of the 2021/22 season.
Before joining Burnley FC, George worked at Newcastle United and Middlesbrough FC in a variety of performance and recruitment-focused roles. He is now responsible for leading the first team scouting department strategy and its implementation from talent identification through to player acquisition.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with George about the role StatsBomb’s products have played in his day-to-day role, Burnley Football Club as a whole and the club’s title-winning season.
StatsBomb (SB): Prior to using StatsBomb Data and analytics what did your analysis workflow look like? Within this what were the biggest challenges you faced?
George Foster-Vigors (GFV): “Our analysis workflow brings together data from all kinds of sources. Each source offers strengths and weaknesses. Some have great coverage but are low on quality and accuracy. Others show real value-add but are only available in a handful of competitions. A big part of our process is proving the strengths and weaknesses of various datasets and tools to make the most of them in our daily processes.
Following a detailed data science review of the market, we found the StatsBomb event data and the IQ platform to be more accurate and sophisticated than other market offerings. The Statsbomb IQ platform also enables us to manipulate the data, aligning with our playing philosophy and individual player profiles. The IQ platform provides a solid foundation for all kinds of on-ball analysis, and via the raw data API we’ve created powerful bespoke models.
When we want to extract small amounts of raw data through the API it works great. We’ve found the movement of large volumes of raw data to be one of our biggest challenges, but we’re working with StatsBomb to help solve that and the support has been great.
(SB): Since signing up with StatsBomb what are the biggest changes you have seen?
(GFV): “It’s given us security and predictability around on-ball data analysis. We know that we can quickly and reliably access the data we need. We work proactively to screen markets and create lists of players that align with our positional profiles. Sometimes we need to work reactively and quickly - so having tools that give us the speed and the flexibility to handle “unknowns” is hugely valuable.”
(SB): What role has StatsBomb played in these changes?
(GFV): “Constant evolution of the Statsbomb IQ product, new event data metrics added regularly. Also, lots of development in key metrics such as the xG model to provide greater context.”
(SB): What is the biggest success you’ve had since joining as a StatsBomb Customer?
(GFV): “I wouldn’t say there has been one specific success based purely on Statsbomb Data, but it helps inform our workflows in various parts of the player acquisition journey. From the initial stages (talent ID), deeper analysis of targets and when presenting a player to the senior management team.”
(SB): What internal / external decisions have been influenced by using our data and products?
(GFV): "Statsbomb Data has played a key role in various different stages of player recruitment. It adds objectivity to subjective observations by members of staff."
Burnley FC's remarkable success in the 22/23 promotion winning campaign can be attributed to shrewd player recruitment, smart integration of new signings and rapid adaptation to a new playing style under the guidance of Vincent Kompany.
The implementation of StatsBomb's Data and analytics provided valuable insights into player analysis and acquisition. By leveraging StatsBomb's products, Burnley FC made informed decisions and added objectivity to their recruitment process.
Ultimately, their success highlights the importance of data-driven strategies and the significant impact they can have on a club's performance and achievements.
With a clear philosophy, a distinct playing style, a well-built squad, and a manager who is a serial winner, Burnley are returning to the Premier League looking to build on the success of last season.
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