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Manchester United ramp up use of analytics as club hire first director of data science

Manchester United ramp up use of analytics by hiring first director of data science who will ‘assist with transfers’ and ‘study patterns of play’

  • Manchester United are looking to improve their use of analytics to help team 
  • Club continue to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and have done so with new hire  
  • Dominic Jordan has skillset similar to those employed by Man City and Liverpool 
  • Football director John Murtough insists it is not about removing human element

Manchester United have appointed their first director of data science as they aim to ramp up the use of analytics to aid Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United, who continue to back Solskjaer amid a turbulent start to the season, have moved to take Dominic Jordan from local online retailer N Brown Group, whose brands include Jacamo.

Jordan has a background in geospatial analytics with a similar skillset to those hired by rivals Manchester City and Liverpool in recent years. The Cambridge University graduate will be tasked with building a wider data team at Old Trafford.

Manchester United want to match the success of their rivals with data analysis 

‘There is so much potential for data science to benefit the club, from assisting with player recruitment, automatically analysing patterns of play right through to using computer vision to extract information from video feeds in real time,’ Jordan said.

‘At first it’s a question of determining which problems are the most important for the club and tackling those to deliver quick but effective results.

‘Over time as you embed good practice, the problems become harder – hence why building a great team is critical, to keep the club ahead in the data space.

The club continue to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and have done so through a new hire

The club continue to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and have done so through a new hire 

‘I have seen first-hand how data used in the right way can transform organisations of all kinds. I would only take a role where the desire to use data to evolve and enhance decision-making comes from the top. So, to get the opportunity to do exactly that for the football club I love was a no-brainer.’

United’s football director, John Murtough, added: ‘This is not about replacing the human elements of performance and decision-making.

‘Coaches will always draw on their knowledge and judgment, and players their experience and instincts. But these things can be complemented by smart use of data.

‘Ultimately, it’s about ensuring that players, coaches and support staff are equipped with the best possible information with which to make the right decisions, quickly.’ 

Data can 'transform organisations', according to United's new director of data science

Data can ‘transform organisations’, according to United’s new director of data science