Exploring our performance analysis and sport analytics history

A photograph of one of the 47 shots at goal in the West Europe v Central Europe football game played on 20 june 1937.

Yesterday, I was re-reading Ben Alamar and Vijay Mehrotra’s 2011 discussion of the rapidly evolving world of sports analytics (Part 1).

They have a reference to G R Lindsey’s 1959 paper proposing an operational analysis approach to baseball.

By delightful serendipity, Simon Gleave was tweeting at the same time with news of Jurryt van de Vooren’s discovery of some 1937 association football data.

I do not have any earlier record of notating goal scoring in association football but Simon’s connection with Jurryt has added another piece in our jigsaw about the origins of performance analysis and sport analytics.

We have a record of 47 shots (23 first half, 24 second half) from the game played between West Europe (28 shots) and Central Europe (19 shots).

Ferenc Sas scored two of Central Europe’s goals “with assists from György Sárosi and Italy’s Silvio Piola“. (All three of them played a year later in the World Cup Final.)

A list of the 47 shots at goal in the West europe v Central Europe football game, 20 june 1937.

Another corner piece comes from 24 September 1898. This appears to be the oldest football clip in existence. The film is included in a Daily Mail article from 2014. The teams involved were Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion.

I am hopeful that our crowdsourcing will produce even more genealogy connections. My earliest baseball discovery is from 1910 and Hugh Fullerton’s account of the inside game.

Our timeline in association football now has some important landmarks:

24 September 1898

20 June 1937

… and 18 March 1950 (Charles Reep at Swindon Town v Bristol Rovers).

Photo Credits

Both pictures shared here are from Jurryt’s 17 December 2016 blog post Werden de eerste voetbalstatistieken al in 1937 gemaakt?

Leave a Reply