Well Brian, It's a Game of Computer Analysis

Article excerpt

THE sight of England soccer coach Glen

Hoddle scribbling notes on players' performances may soon be history.

Software devised to analyse rugby has been adapted for football and is attracting the attention of top clubs.

The StatsMaster system was given a trial at Middlesbrough to analyse the team's performance during their 1-0 defeat by Newcastle last month.

StatsMaster is a two-in-one system that allows computers to be used to analyse videos of games.

It can produce sophisticated match analysis on videotape, plus statistical breakdowns of every aspect of play. Match of the Day is in the Dark Ages by comparison.

By half-time StatsMaster can highlight an individual player's performance, singling out success rates in any area of play, such as passes, tackles or free kicks.

After the match every player is given an individual video of his contribution to the game, highlighting strengths and weaknesses.

At [pounds sterling]15,000 for the software and strategically placed video cameras, the system costs less than one week's wages of a Premiership star.

Ian Brunning, StatsMaster's UK distributor, expects clubs to keep analysis confidential. Middlesbrough, struggling against relegation despite foreign stars such as Juninho and Ravenelli, asked for specific aspects to be looked at, but video nasties of team performances will stay under lock and key.

Brunning says that the system can be an important psychological tool because it can analyse opponents' specific weaknesses from TV footage. …