In winter 2017, Georgios Syrianos came to the former second division VfB Stuttgart. Sports Chief Jan Schindelmeiser took the data specialist to the Swabia, under coach Hannes Wolf he should bring his analytical skills to make better decisions at the cadre planning.
Syrianos had dug into the world of data at Columbia University in New York, in practice, he provided his expertise to the Stuttgarten during the scouting and the game analysis. In May 2021, the Lockup followed from England – but not from the dazzling Premier League, but from the second league.
Nottingham: More European politics as championships
Nottingham Forest, a proud club with a glorious past, which more often won the European Champion European Cup (1979 and 1980, against HSV) as the English Championship (1978), Holted Syrianos as a squad planner. Nottingham has been playing in the championship since 2008, the longing goal of all 24 teams there is clearly outlined: the bulging meat pots of the Premier League. Currently, the eleven of coach Steve Cooper is just outside the four play-off places, which at the end of the season next to the two direct operators send another club to the “praised land” upwards. Syrianos wants to help to achieve this goal. About the wie he talked to the Nottingham Forest.
Mr. Syrianos, from Stuttgart to Nottingham. What did she go to go this step?
Stuttgart was an incredibly interesting project. I could help build a young, developing team. The time at the VfB was very precisely, educational, in the end also successful (stuttgart rose in 2017 and was seventh in the following year Seventh, Note d. Red.). The carefree play style of VfB was also noted in England – so I landed in Nottingham.
Many clubs write red numbers, act very uneconomical because everything is subordinated to the climb.
What are your tasks at Nottingham Forest?
The association wanted to improve the recruitment sector in the long term and develop a strategic realignment – give young, developing players a stage to achieve sporting success in an economically healthy basis. At the same time Forest wanted to go an analytical and process-oriented way – a way that previously led Brentford, Brighton and Leeds in the Premier League.
* Sounds theoretically attractive for a squad planner. In practice, the sporting success is about everything. How big is the goal ascent? *
In the medium term, the rise of Nottingham Forest in the Premier League is our great goal. But not only we want us, but every club in the championship. Many clubs write red numbers, act partly very uneconomical because everything is subordinated to the climb. I believe that this is often due to strategic decisions – is important to reconcile the balance and proportionality of short-term to long-term decisions. Sporting success is sustainable only on a healthy economic basis – this must also reflect in the strategy around the squad planning.
* Since 2008, Nottingham plays in the Championship, was last spreadsheet. What has she irritated to go this step, especially since VFB sports director Sven Mislint their data analyzes very appreciated? *
I wanted to take a crucial role in the development of club strategy in a traditional club like Forest. The immediate results in the preseason played less a role, especially since Forest has become seventh in the year before. Currently we want to restore all Nottingham and see us in the medium term on the right way to deliver sporting results that meet this club and the investment of the Marinakis family. The league is very incredibly challenging, because all teams have the most demanded climb in the Premier League.
* Speaking of sporting results. The start went completely wrong, the first victory succeeded on the 8th matchday. What was it? *
In the summer we delivered ten players with an average age of 30 years and ten new guys with an average age of 23 years. The acclimatization requires time, but we have deliberately chosen this path and knew that this process could be accompanied by pain. The way with young, developable players is almost alternative for emerging clubs like us. Internally, the start was a great challenge because the expectations of us were all other.
* The rebuilding was stopped after seven winless league games, coach Chris Hughton dismissed. How does that fit in Nottingham’s new concept? *
Although we believe in the internal processes, we are of course success-dependent. A reconstruction is a continuous process and sometimes these strategic changes require consistent action, so we had to go this step. No matter where you play on this planet professionally football: decide results.
The turnaround is above all his merit.
Georgios Syrianos about Steve Cooper
* Since the new head coach Steve Cooper took over on the 9th matchday, Nottingham took the third-party points of all championship clubs and gloss Arsenal from the FA Cup. Was this turnover show? *
We had hoped for this turnaround, but you can not expect something like that. With a look at our squad, he did not come completely surprising. Since we have a very young, athletic team, we are always able to put our opponents from tactical and individual problems in many ways. Our goal in the summer was to rebuild the squad to one of the fastest and athletic teams of the league – this should help us in long-term ballets and counterpathers against stronger teams.
Brachs forest on course: Nottingham’s trainer Steve Cooper. Imago Images / Pro Sports Images
* Which share has Steve Cooper on the upswing? *
The new coaching team has previously worked very successfully with young players. Cooper had in Swansea (2019-2021, Note d. Red.) A young team, 2017 he won the World Cup with the English U 17. The turnaround is above all his merit. Especially the resulting belief in itself is noticeable in every game. Despite the most recent results, we want to continue to be ambitious internally – but this in all modesty and humility. Because the beginning of the season showed us how surprisingly the football can be.
* Let us talk about what you can not read at the table or looks directly on the square – your data. How are these used? *
Decisions in football are often risky – data and statistical models help us to minimize the risk. We develop an objective view of football, but also on the players, which we explore a lot of targeted probe in the preselection. At the same time, we can give forecasts for the quality of our squad – objective views that help us make informed decisions. Of course, we are not unique in this process – every successful club today makes the same considerations.
In our opinion, we can only develop competitive advantages when we develop your own solutions.
* Data provider is there in the market in the market. Is there a “war” of the data under the clubs? *
Many clubs rely on data analysis on existing products on the market. In our opinion, we can only develop competitive advantages when we develop your own solutions. Finally, as a club, you have no competitive advantage if your competitors use the same products as you. They open up a simpler because digital improvement of the processes, but not a real sporting advantage.
Nottingham’s fans cheer after victory against arsenal – and dream of climb. Imago Images / Colorsport
* How do you manage to make this benefit? *
We buy raw data that exploits with the help of a model with me model and then represented by a specially designed app for all decision-makers. This applies to the scouting of players as well as for the statistical evaluation of trainers. We can create internally and long-term forecasts through players and their services. For trainers, we can assess whether they may find outstanding, fulfilling or exceeding their squad – at the same time we can explore the coach market based on the different gaming styles. Finally, however, each concept must be applied practically. Theoretical advantages do not help you if they are not implemented and applied – we finally want to make better decisions in practice and not only in theory.
* Sports directors like Mislinat hardly exist in English football. Do you have the tasks of a manager as a cadre planner at Nottingham? *
No – the org chart of many English clubs differs from the classic organization chart of a Bundesliga club. The true “manager” is called Klopp, Hasenhüttl, Arteta and Rodgers. Forest, the tasks are distributed over several shoulders. Kyriakos Dourekas is a very experienced director Professional port, in my area we focus heavily on the squad in coordination with Managing Director Dane Murphy, who overlooks all departments and processes. All transfer decisions are taken together and is responsible. But with all processes: the spaghat between short-term success and a financially healthy base remains the most challenging task for us.