Beane, best known for his “moneyball” approach to player recruitment while general manager of the Oakland Athletics Major League baseball team, could seek a minority stake in Anfield for his new RedBall Acquisition Corp. venture to acquire.
If he does, Liverpool will find that they have another smart operator behind the scenes. Beane is friends with FSG through their baseball connections, and their philosophy isn’t all that different from how the club has handled things in the transfer market over the past few years.
Anyone who’s seen Moneyball, the Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt as Beane, will be familiar with the story. The Oakland Athletics used Sabermetrics to star unfashionable, relatively unknown players, and in 2002 won 20 straight games as a direct result.
Beane was at the heart of that transformation and proved so influential that John W. Henry, Liverpool’s owner, tried to convince him to join the Boston Red Sox with a $ 12.5 million offer in 2002.
So there is history and obvious parallels between Bane’s previous work and what Liverpool is doing now.
The Premier League champions’ recruiting approaches have been equally analytical. Sporting director Michael Edwards used data to identify greats like Virgil van Dijk, Naby Keita and Mo Salah.
This has contributed significantly to the rise of the Reds from relative darkness to the top of the European game under Jürgen Klopp. Beane is undoubtedly an admirer of everything that happens in Anfield.
He’s seen everything in sports too. Beane, who had just graduated from high school, played baseball for the New York Mets, a promising teenager who appears to have had a long career at the top of the game.
At the age of 27, his career stagnated. He was with the Oakland Athletics (the A’s, as they are called in the US) and decided to become a scout instead. After eight years in this role, he was promoted to General Manager. It was 1998 and baseball was about to change.
In 2003, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, which shows how Beane succeeded through innovative statistical analysis, was published and the book became a bestseller.
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Then came the movie, which only added to Bene’s fame. He was revered and honored as the man who single-handedly transformed not just a fighting team, but an entire sport.
Beane is 58 years old and general manager of the A’s for 18 years. It ended in 2016 when he became executive vice president of baseball operations.
That clearly cleared Beane for other potential ventures, one of which could invest in Liverpool. He is interested in football and is probably working on a system for the objective analysis of players. He was also hired as a consultant by AZ Alkmaar in 2015.
“We end up trying to find undervalued assets and hope that player value continues to rise. The challenge in Oakland is that there were a lot of good decisions that cost a lot of money that we weren’t allowed to make, ”Beane said in a recent interview with the echo.
“In Liverpool, Salah is a good example. They spent about £ 40 million on him from Italy which is a lot of money. At the time, people thought that was too much, but it turned out he was worth far more than they paid for him.
“To me, this is a great example of realizing a data advantage – spending a lot of money but getting far more value from it than people expect.”
Liverpool probably don’t need too much help in this regard, but having someone with Bene’s experience at the club can only be an asset.
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