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A lot of experts on how we’re playing
at 20:59 16 Nov 2021

in a game they can’t be watching
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Full strength side then,
at 14:03 6 Nov 2021

NT
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In every game
at 20:01 28 Aug 2021

we’ve fallen away badly after about an hour. Couldn’t recover after giving a goal away against Morecombe (also trying clever play in the wrong areas) failed to recognise we were vulnerable to the counter against Burton, allowed pressure against Cheltenham leading to the late goal, with same today (more trying to be clever in the wrong areas too) , and against MK, simply outplayed. If formations don’t win games, then why be so rigid in the way we set up - it’s been clear in every game we get outnumbered in the centre too often in the last half hour or so, yet PC does little to address it.

I’m losing patience with him, either it’s the way we set up, or it’s the players, since he was and is in control of both, it’s his fault
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How many attacking options?
at 13:19 9 Aug 2021

Jackson must be going and surely Dobra is going on loan, he won’t get many chances with the options we now have
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Ifollow back to pre COVID rules
at 19:53 4 Aug 2021

No Saturday games being streamed this season for UK based fans


Ignore me, missed Phil’s earlier story
[Post edited 4 Aug 20:05]
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Interesting article on EFLtransferd
at 08:44 17 Jul 2021

From the Athletic

It is nine o’clock in the evening and Brian Howard’s phone lights up — one of his players is finally getting back to him after a long day of pre-season training.

At this time of year, former Barnsley midfielder Howard’s phone is never switched off because he and business partner Phil Korklin are in the middle of a busy transfer window working as agents at their company, Momentum Sports Management.

The pair represent around 50 players throughout the football pyramid in England, Scotland and overseas and know the realities of this time of year mean they are unlikely to take a day off or go on holiday unless they have their phone in tow.

“We probably make about a hundred calls to each other a day and send god knows how many WhatsApp messages,” Howard jokes. “As the players start returning for pre-season, clubs and managers are busy with sessions and you can’t get hold of the players so they’ll be ringing you back whenever they get chance; it’s long days.”

So far this window, those long days have paid off with the agency having completed at least eight deals but the realities of being an agent with a large portion of your clients in the EFL involves much more than just taking phone calls.

Usually, it can mean thousands of miles a week travelling around Britain to visit existing and potential clients — by car, rather than private jet as might be the case for international superagents — brokering boot deals, arranging accommodation and transport for players at their new clubs, providing services such mental health awareness sessions and enrolling players on courses to prepare them for life after football.

As soon as the summer window closes, planning begins for the winter one. Increasingly for Korklin and Howard, that means turning to data analysis to understand how their players are performing and where they might thrive best if they do move on from their current club.

“We try to give players the most information possible so that they can make an informed decision rather than doing it on a whim and if it doesn’t go right then blame gets thrown everywhere,” says Korklin. “It’s a structured decision and if a player wants to stay put, then they’ve done that with all the information and then that is the best decision as well.

“There are two arguments for using data. One is so that you can sell your player to a club, but if a club are doing their homework then they will know all the important numbers anyway. So then it’s about us knowing which clubs are doing their homework so we know which players will suit them.

“If a club is playing a more direct style and don’t want their defenders coming past the halfway line then Rob Atkinson, one of our clients who we just moved from Oxford United to Bristol City, is not going to be for them. But if you’ve got a manager who wants someone to bring the ball out of defence and start creating attacks from deeper, then he would suit them.

“It might narrow down opportunities for players but then they are narrow anyway — they are never going to have 30 clubs that all want to sign them. There will be a limited number, based on salary, transfer fee, geography.”

“It helps with our players when you are trying to give them the information as to why a club is or isn’t interested in them,” Howard adds. “For players that haven’t got a club yet or players who think they should be getting a move, we can say to them that they have only played X amount of minutes and, if you’re a full-back, you have only got forward so many times for so many crosses, which is why another player has moved and you haven’t. Once they understand it, they understand where they need to go to improve.

“We just helped Scott Twine move from Swindon Town to MK Dons, and that is a career move for him. At 21 years old he needs to be playing regularly so, after last season with his progress going uphill, we didn’t want that to stutter. People might have felt that he could have got a move to the Championship but at MK we felt that, with the data, he fits perfectly. When we looked at it and they looked at it, we saw that with the situations that they create, if Scott keeps getting into the positions that he does then he’ll get more goals and assists. Then he will either go to the Championship with MK Dons or higher on his own with his performances — it was next step on the ladder.

There’s so many things you can look at (in the data) but xG is the one that everyone jumps on. Harry Kane did one in the Euros as a pre-assist, creating a goal (the own-goal equaliser in the semi-final win over Denmark) by playing a through-ball for the cross. He won’t get the assist but he’s got a secondary assist. You used to have players that pulled all the strings and without the credit but now they are.

“Players won’t like it, because there’s no place to hide if you are not performing.”

Korklin and Howard are not alone in using data, with bigger agencies now also making use of analysts to source players to sign or to help their current clients. At EFL level, equipping players with data about their performances can help seal the deal with prospective clubs, as Korklin explains that clubs want buy-in from players “so they know if they are going to work tirelessly to provide information to the players and work hard to give them the platform to succeed, they are getting the same engagement from the player”.

While arranging loan deals for players means hours spent working on contracts for little or no fee for EFL agents, clubs are increasingly using presentations to woo new loan and permanent signings. So a player having awareness of what data or tactical analysis shows about their strengths and weaknesses can be key.

“When we moved Jacob Brown last summer to Stoke from Barnsley, they showed him at a presentation what he was brilliant at but also what he was not so good at,” says Howard. “They bought him for an undisclosed fee at 22 years old and were investing in his potential. They knew that he was not the finished article and that he would need to work hard to keep developing so they set him targets that they knew he could achieve. He kept doing that over the course of a season and ending up scoring goals, getting assists and he won the player of the month towards the end of the season which showed how the work behind the scenes at the club helps support the players.”

“You can’t be data-led by only believing data,” Korklin adds. “We are football people who have an eye for a player and understand what clubs are looking for but, if you can use data as a secondary foundation for clubs and players to understand where they are at, it enables people to see the picture better. Data enables us to back up what we do because we kind of know it already but then you can have an even better track record or prove what you are saying is true.”

Wyscout, Opta and WhoScored are some of the key tools available to players, agents and clubs and while data is becoming increasingly important in transfers at EFL level, in the current financial climate other factors, like budgets and location, can be even more important.

Last summer we just talked to the players about staying in the game, because there was coronavirus and there was the implementation of the salary cap for League One and League Two,” Korklin says. “Sometimes we have to act as a best friend or a parent to the player, but we are also there because we tell them what they need to hear. Sometimes we have to say, ‘This is the best offer and you need to take it now because as the summer goes on there will be more players desperate to take those lower wages because they want a contract’. At the start of the summer, clubs have got their budget and they’re more likely to be able to offer those better contracts.”

As the summer window rumbles on, Howard and Korklin expect a ripple effect in the market following the conclusion of the Euros which should see top stars get their moves and a filtering down of both money and loan signings from Premier League clubs.

“You used to be able to move at any time,” says Howard. “The transfer window came in when I was in my early 20s, so I’ve seen many of them and been involved in deadline-day deals as a player and as an agent.

“It’s always exciting for everyone but for us it’s very stressful trying to get those last deals done. This window is going to be the same.”
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Town the most watched League One club on IFollow
at 18:00 2 Jun 2021

according to the email I’ve just had from IFollow. Followed by Portsmouth and Plymouth.
[Post edited 2 Jun 18:01]
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Pitch looks in good nick
at 18:27 13 Apr 2021

Can’t use that as an excuse then....,
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Just let Sears go now
at 16:40 10 Apr 2021

useless
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Time for Cook to take a hostage and shoot him
at 16:53 5 Apr 2021

Maybe shock the rest of ‘em into a positive reaction. There’s plenty of candidates
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Passes
at 21:38 16 Mar 2021

Too often lack the right weight, the receiving player is too often stationary, facing the wrong way and happy to knock it backwards. When we don’t have the ball, how much could we do with a Shaun Derry type player to make life difficult for the opposition
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This isn’t about formations
at 21:21 16 Mar 2021

It’s about those much used phrases “earn the right to play” , which we haven’t and “up for it” which we aren’t. We’ve dipped out of virtually every 50/50. played with no tempo and as for partnerships.........
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It’s getting worse
at 21:10 16 Mar 2021

Prima Donna performances from far too many, we look fragile and frankly afraid of them
[Post edited 16 Mar 21:11]
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Talkeover news
at 14:22 26 Feb 2021

THe Athletic are reporting a £17.5m takeover for Town has been agreed with Paul Cook to take over as Manager
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Netflix recommendation
at 13:52 20 Feb 2021

If you’re avoiding football, can I just recommend a film - “News of the World” on Netflix, Tom Hanks at his best and a remarkable performance from his child co-star. It really is excellent.
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Abject
at 19:45 16 Feb 2021

It’s a summary of everything that’s wrong this club currently, a complete lack of urgency, no sense of personal responsibility, no ambition etc etc
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It’s a tough time for us optimists....
at 21:10 9 Feb 2021

NFT
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How much space are we allowing them
at 20:40 9 Feb 2021

We seem unable to restrict them on the flanks in particular
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Some tackles flying in here
at 16:29 6 Feb 2021

A bit of edge in this game
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Ifollow when I’ve cancelled my direct debit
at 20:01 3 Feb 2021

So I’ve cancelled my DD, but I’m still getting a code, guess I’ve paid enough to keep getting one for now
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