Fans as scouts?

by   |   28/04/2017  29 Comments  [Jump to last]

I just had a crazy idea. Not for the first time. I was about to post something on one of the rumour threads when it occurred to me how many Everton fans there are who (like me) spend hours and hours watching football matches, other than Everton ones, and how this is potentially an untapped resource....

Obviously the club has a network of scouts, probably a huge network, but think how many games and matches they are physically unable to watch that other Everton fans may have witnessed. From club matches in far flung parts of the world to youth matches that someone's nephew or niece is playing in.

Anyway, I though that maybe the club (and perhaps all clubs) should set up some type of forum or website where fans could pass on their findings and opinions on players that could be brought into the club at whatever level. Now, your first thought, like mine, is probably "Can you imagine how much garbage they would have to wade through?" and that would almost certainly be the case. But surely it would be possible to grade contributors internally so that if 'scout reports' were well written, well argued and ultimately found to be of any use whatsoever then that contributor would be higher rated and their reports given more weighting. Obviously you would block all the RS scum and timewasters.

The first few months would probably be quite painful but after a while you might build up system of reliable and insightful contributors who are essentially acting as free scouts. Obviously no-one is going to be signed on this basis alone but it could become a useful resource that could notify the club of talents that they may possibly have overlooked or been unaware of. It could also be a useful conduit of who the real fans would like to see come into the club, something that may or may not be helpful for them.

Is there something in it? Anyone see what I'm envisaging or am I just going a bit mad at my desk? There must be some way to put the thousands of football loving blues and their thousands of football watching hours to use. I guess the juice would not be worth the squeeze....

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Reader Comments (29)

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Darryl Ritchie
1 Posted 28/04/2017 at 18:02:32
Sam, I don't think it could work. The logistics would be unmanageable. The possibility for crackpots to take the thing over would outweigh any benefits.

There is a tendency for us to believe we can help the professionals, who have much better access to potential signings. We would probably just get in the way. I think we have to keep on touting possible players on TW, and hope somebody who can do something about them, sees the positives and acts.

Chris Williams
2 Posted 28/04/2017 at 18:43:16
Crackpots? On here?

Surely not.

Brent Stephens
3 Posted 28/04/2017 at 18:45:31
Chris, Je suis crackpot.
Chris Williams
4 Posted 28/04/2017 at 18:49:00
You might be talking to the wrong people mate!
Charles Barrow
5 Posted 28/04/2017 at 18:54:34
Excellent idea – most of us think we can do better than the manager – so why not advise him on potential transfer targets?

I've identified a few and I'm willing to let Koeman know in case Steve Walsh is shirking his responsibilities. Griezman, Koulibaly, Keane, Hazard, Kane the list goes on.

Kieran Kinsella
6 Posted 28/04/2017 at 18:58:16
I tried this when I was younger. I kept writing to the club touting unearthed gems like Tony Philiskirk and Gavin Peacock. They never said a word back but did send me an unsigned photograph of Peter Beardsley. I wasn't sure how to interpret that but I quit scouting.
Brian Williams
7 Posted 28/04/2017 at 19:07:58
Kieran (#6),

That made me laugh out loud, cheers!

Darryl Ritchie
8 Posted 28/04/2017 at 19:08:32
We're not "crackpots". There's no-one but intelligent, rational thinkers posting on TW.

No whackos to be seen, here.

It's the rest of them. They're "crackpots"!

("I'm not crazy, everybody else is.")

Rob Halligan
9 Posted 28/04/2017 at 19:15:46
Kieran, I too wrote to Everton recommending a gem of a player.

Eventually... I was asked to come along for trials. Unfortunately, I never got much further than a couple of trial games.

They don't know what they missed out on!! 😞😞😞

Ian McDowell
10 Posted 28/04/2017 at 19:54:17
A lot of clubs actually use the Football Manager game database as a scouting tool. I'm not sure on the actual number but they receive scouting data from thousands of scouts.
Damian Wilde
11 Posted 28/04/2017 at 22:14:57
"...or am I just going a bit mad at my desk?"

Yes.

Try Championship Manager.

Mike Gaynes
12 Posted 28/04/2017 at 22:18:15
Rob (#9), love it. Oh, what might have been.
Mike Gaynes
13 Posted 28/04/2017 at 22:34:14
I've always wondered whether anybody from the club reads TW for ideas. It seems ridiculous, but...

Sometime around 2010 or '11, I wrote a long post about a Costa Rican midfielder named Oviedo who had just ripped the USA apart in a friendly. The same player had been brilliant the year before in the CONCACAF U-20 final, in which Costa Rica beat the USA 3-0. I thought Everton should sign him.

And in 2012, out of nowhere, Everton signed its first Central American player EVER in the history of the club.

Oviedo.

So... well... I just wondered.

Still do.

Brent Stephens
14 Posted 28/04/2017 at 22:58:17
Mike, hat's off to you!
Darren Hind
15 Posted 29/04/2017 at 04:54:13
Rob,

It's never too late...

Ask for a retrial!

Dave Long
16 Posted 29/04/2017 at 10:13:24
There's a Brazilian guy at my lads team, Urawa Reds, here in Japan: Rafael de Silva. Looks extremely good, knowledgeable fans are talking highly of him. He's top scorer, 25. Everton scouts, have a look – he's playing in the local derby tomorrow.
Alan J Thompson
17 Posted 29/04/2017 at 13:52:18
Take a video camera with you and all can see what you do.
Anthony Dwyer
18 Posted 30/04/2017 at 21:56:08
Haha... great idea, but fans have too much common knowledge to be scouts at Everton. I reckon Spurs may use fans though!!

Dele Alli was a no-brainer, lighting up the lower leagues at 18, raved over week-in & week-out on the Footy League Show.

Erickson, ripping up Holland with Ajax, available for 㾷m, scoring free kicks every week and a top assist in Europe.

Toby Alderweireld looked the bollocks at Southampton, represented Belgium at every level from U15 to main team, made available by his club Athletic to the highest bidder who again was Spurs at 㾷m.

Hugo lloris bought for less than 㾶m at the age of 26 and captain of France.

Eric Dier again available cheap (٢m) applied his trade in Portugal, came up with a total different style of footy from the other English defenders and again a very reasonable price and again a no-brainer, at ٢m you simply can not lose on an English player.

Kyle Walker bought for ٧m with Kyle Naughton, again both English, both quick so again you can't lose. Naughton flopped and was sold for ٣m, meaning Walker stands Spurs ٢m!

Most footy fans could point out most of these players; I'm not saying we should or could all be scouts but sometimes I do wonder if scouts tend to over think things a little.

Andy Crooks
19 Posted 30/04/2017 at 22:33:05
Sam, I thoroughly enjoy the posts. You make and respect your formidable knowledge. As for your idea... well, why not?
Jeff Armstrong
20 Posted 30/04/2017 at 23:28:32
Anthony (#18), it's all very well this hindsight lark, but could you just give us the NEXT Spurs eleven, so we could get in early like.
Anthony Dwyer
21 Posted 01/05/2017 at 01:30:40
Jeff, I know what your saying but all that I'm saying is there's players out there all the time who seem no-brainers.

Michael Keane has 12 months on his deal and already has Premier League experience, no-brainer.

Inaki Williams at Bilboa looks the real deal, it's not like Bilboa have the resources to turn down big money.

Betrand as a left back is solid and wouldn't cost no more than 㾻m.

Sessegnon at Fulham looks a prospect.

Will Hughes at Derby looks like hes ready to step up to the Premier League.

Loftus-Cheek is Premier League ready and doesn't play at Chelsea.

Iheanacho doesn't look like Peps cup of tea at City since they have Aguero & Jesus.

Kasper Dolberg at Ajax is awesome.

Josh King at Bournemouth is clearly capable of scoring premium goals.

Tielemans has already been linked with us and again rave reviews are out on the lad.

Wilfred Zaha, Harry Maguire, Callum Chambers all Premier League ready and gettable.

Not saying all these players are same type of price as Spurs lads but the fan scout is just something that's more a joke than anything else.

Ray Said
22 Posted 01/05/2017 at 02:50:09
Years ago, when Moyes was manager, the club announced a link up with the Colyer brothers –both mad blues fans and developers of Championship Manager – in order to use their player database. Does anyone else remember this and I wonder what became of the link-up?
Robin Cannon
23 Posted 02/05/2017 at 17:28:17
Lots of teams use the Football Manager database. Sports Interactive work with Prozone and supply them with data for a recruitment tool that clubs then work with.

In essence that is "fans as scouts"; but with quality control. We started that relationship with Sports Interactive several years early.

Sam Hoare
24 Posted 02/05/2017 at 18:00:47
Andy @19. Thank you, feeling is mutual.

Damian @11 Obviously I already have.

I think there must be a clever way to tap the knowledge and collective viewing hours of football-crazy fans who love their clubs. Obviously whatever way that is, we would need to siphon out the crackpots. Not sure I've hit upon it here, I won't quit my day job yet!

Steve Ferns
25 Posted 02/05/2017 at 18:35:29
Football manager has a team of over 10,000 scouts who contribute to the game. It's that database that clubs, particularly Everton tap into.

Now go back over the great tips for the future that the game has made:

Cherno Samba
Tonton Zola Moukoko
Kennedy Bak... can't remember the rest of his name, he was a Turkish forward

This is a selection that if you Google will lead onto a long list of comedic predictions.

How's about I give you some closer to home:

John Paul Kissock
Jose Baxter
Ryan Ledson
Jon Oster
Ibrahima Bakayoko

The game didn't just say these guys would be good, it was predicting they'd be at the very top.

So in conclusion, leave it to the professionals.

Anthony Flack
26 Posted 02/05/2017 at 19:08:04
I see Ruddy has been released and is only age 30...

I thought he was highly rated?

John Audsley
27 Posted 02/05/2017 at 23:26:30
Steve Ferns

In 2003-ish, I had all 3 of them in my Everton team.

That Bak.... bloke was a Swedish international, great on the right wing. And he spoke 4 languages.

Oh the memories.

Jamie Sweet
28 Posted 04/05/2017 at 22:27:14
I wrote to the club once in my self-appointed role of "Volunteer Scout - Oceania Region" with a scouting report for a young New Zealand player called Marco Rojas.

I got a response from James Smith – Head of Performance and Analysis, thanking me for my message and to say that Marco was already on their radar having seen him play at the Olympic Games. He agreed he was an interesting player and that we were "looking into him and his situation".

He subsequently signed for Stuttgart but got injured early on and never got a look in. He is back at Melbourne Victory, and has been tearing up A-League defences again. The "Kiwi Messi" will be playing in the A-League Grand Final this weekend.

Might be that he has found his level in Australian Football which isn't exactly world class, but anyway, my point is that if you think you've unearthed a gem, why not let the club know... just maybe someone will listen to you.

Erik Dols
29 Posted 09/05/2017 at 12:21:40
Here comes the late train, comment that probably never will be read, but anyways:

Steve Ferns , John Audsley, you guys mean Kennedy Bakırcıoğlu. Swedish player with Turkish roots. I've seen him play as he spent five years in the Dutch competition. He obviously never reached the potential Football/Championship Manager gave him. But he wasn't all that bad. He set the Eredivisie alight for two seasons at Twente, scoring 23 goals and having 16 assists as a midfielder. He was sold to Ajax, where he never really made it, both because of injuries and just not being good enough.

Now the thing is that this player is exactly what bias you will have with fan as scouts. Kennedy scored goals that were absolutely stunning. He had a great shot, he could curl it in from 30 yards and did so on a regular basis. These players look spectacular, especially if you only see highlights of matches. That he is caught out of position a lot, that he is too slow for professional football, stuff like that with which he got away at lower levels but which cannot be disguised at Ajax, you do not see that on Match of the Day or youtube. So if you see a young Kennedy score a couple of absolute screamers, you will think "here is the next Maradona!".

I'm convinced that the Tonton Zola Moukokos and Jon Osters fall in the same category.

Do you guys remember Morten Gamst Pedersen? He scored some absolute ridiculous goals over ten years ago, shooting left and right from 40 yards. I hardly ever saw him for 90 minutes, just the highlights on MotD. I thought he was going to be the next superstar, but as teams learned that you simply should deny him space to shoot at all times, his goals dried up fast. He scored more in his first 2,5 season for Blackburn than in all the rest of his career - over ten years afterwards. He was not entirely useless once his trick was found out but Blackburn was his level and nothing more. I always keep him in mind when I think I see the next Bergkamp. Morten Gamst Pedersen was an absolute wonderkid in CM05 or so.

All those hours wasted on those games...

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