Dale Vince: Forest Green Rovers using 'Moneyball' model

Forest Green Rovers
Forest Green Rovers were beaten in last season's play-off semi-final

Forest Green Rovers chairman Dale Vince has revealed how he is using his experience of statistical analysis in energy trading to help recruit players.

There are similarities to the 'Moneyball' model used initially in baseball, with players being recruited using computer-generated analysis.

It has since been adopted by Championship club Brentford.

"We take an approach to player development," said Vince, whose side are top of the National League.

He told BBC Radio 5 live's Non League Show: "We've used some of the skills from Ecotricity (Vince's company) in terms of trading of energy using statistical analysis. We thought we would have a bit of a gamble on a couple of young players and see if it boosted our fortunes on the pitch. One didn't come off, the previous one did.

"We are not the only people that do it in football, it's done in the higher leagues. So we do a statistical analysis of a player's history, games played, we look at his strength and weaknesses."

Rovers have taken maximum points from their first eight games.

Their 100% start is a 30-year record for their division and Vince is hopeful the longest-serving "Conference" club can finally earn promotion to the Football League.

From the archive: Can baseball's 'Moneyball' approach translate to football?

"We are having a good time. We are ambitious to go up but we want to do it in the right way," he said.

"We are the longest-serving club in the division, but for a lot of that time it was about avoiding relegation. This is a new place for the club to be. We've spent the past five years building the infrastructure of the club and have changed a lot of things and it has all come together.

"(Manager) Ady Pennock brought in five new players, we have a great backroom staff, a great bunch of lads and fantastic facilities."

And Vince, who has introduced vegan-only food for supporters at the New Lawn this season, says fans are enjoying the new menu on offer.

Since taking over the club in 2010, Vince has introduced:

  • An organic pitch - the first in the world - which is spread with cow manure
  • 180 solar panels which generated 10% of the electricity at the New Lawn
  • A red meat ban for players and vegan-only produce sold on matchdays
  • Plans a new £100m sports facility and stadium

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