Andrew Beasley was a big part of getting me in to the online world of football analytics. I first joined Twitter shortly after I finished writing Soccermatics, in September 2015, and I soon found Andrew’s account. I am a Liverpool fan and Andrew was doing some great Liverpool stat stuff. I followed him and was very pleased when he followed me back. He was also the first ‘big’ Twitter personality to retweet one of my Tweets: a heat map comparing Rodgers and Klopp’s press.
Twitter and other social media allow us to share our observations, ideas and opinions with each other. When we designed Twelve, we saw sharing and talking about football as the key. We have created tools that allow you to share every pass, shot, block and header your favourite players have made during a match and discuss them with friends. Our idea is that the fans should drive the discussion around the numbers.
So it is with great pleasure that I can announce that Andrew will be Twelve’s World Cup editor. He will be writing about the matches for the blog, editing contributions by guest writers and interacting with other fans on Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to ask him anything stat related, and he’ll do his best to answer.
I caught up with Andrew and asked him a few questions before he gets going.
David: How did you get in to football stats?
Andrew: I’ve always had an interest in football trivia, and I’m numerically minded, so when early stats started to come in around 2010 I took an interest. Noticing in the summer of 2011 that Liverpool were signing all the players who topped the chance creation table for the previous season started connecting dots in my mind.
David: What matches in the World Cup are you most looking forward to?
Andrew: The obvious group stage ones are Portugal vs Spain, and England vs Belgium. It will also be interesting to see how Iceland fare against Lionel Messi et al.
David: Who are the players to look out for that we don’t usually talk about and why?
Andrew: I wouldn’t say we don’t usually talk about him, but I think Leroy Sané could light up this World Cup given the chance. I’m also interested to see how Kelechi Iheanacho gets on – he has 8 goals in 15 caps, and Nigeria could get through their group.
(I ran a comparison of these two in Twelve over the last six matches of the premier league. They are both on great form.)
David: Do you think England have any chance at all of winning? And who do you think will win?
Andrew: No – they’re seventh in the betting, which feels about right. They have talented players, but not much experience at this level. I’m afraid I’m not as passionate about the national team as I once was, but I still want them to do well.
In terms of who will win, European teams usually win it when it’s held in Europe, and I like the look of France. If only England had that much quality!
Andrew is a stats expert, but more than anything he is a massive football fan. And it is that quality that we hope will characterise Twelve going forwards: we are doing sophisticated player evaluations, but we are doing them for the fans.