Data Driven Decision-Making
Sports4Cast were approached by Sunderland AFC before the beginning of the 2021/22 season. At this stage Sunderland had spent 3 seasons in the third tier of English football, and were exploring options for improving their promotion chances. Sports4Cast developed an affordable solution that allowed Sunderland to gain a clear overview of their side’s current performance in relation to expectations and what prospects looked like for the remainder of the season – updated on a weekly basis – allowing management to realistically assess and plan for the future.
This allowed Sunderland to plan their season, understand their opponents, and track performance better than ever before. Measuring and benchmarking performance was key to evaluating how the season was going beyond the simple points that are seen in the league table. As a result, it was fully understood when performance was slipping and when to act to fix it.
New Head Coach
This was never more valuable than during the run of games in January 2022 that culminated in the need for a new head coach. Performance had fallen and the models showed making the playoffs to be be increasingly unlikely given the current season projections. A change was needed and Sunderland used the Coach Analysis tool to quickly vet over 10,000 candidates across Europe to create a shortlist and evaluate past performance through a statistical lens.
Reversing the Curve
The manager search ended with Alex Neil. The data showed he was proven to statistically improve teams that had been on a downward trend. Further, he had one of the best playoff records on the shortlist, which the data suggested would be of particular importance given the team’s likely finishing position in the league. This decision was vindicated as the season ended with Sunderland on a 16 match unbeaten run, winning the playoffs and securing promotion back into the Championship.