Three At The Back



Discussion, analysis and conversation from OptaPro on data analysis and analytics within professional football.


  • 26 - Launching the 2020 OptaPro Analytics Forum. Proposal.

    18/09/2019 Duração: 26min

    OptaPro Forum judge (and previous presenter at the event) Will Gürpinar--Morgan and OptaPro data analyst Tom Worville are the two guests who join host Ryan Bahia to discuss the upcoming OptaPro Analytics Forum, sharing highlights from previous presentations, advice for future presenters and key areas of interest within this industry. Further information on the OptaPro Forum can be found here:

  • 25 - An introduction to artificial intelligence. Buzzword.

    04/09/2019 Duração: 29min

    Host Ryan Bahia is joined by AI scientist Paul Power (@counterattack9), and Bradford Griffiths, who leads innovation and product development at OptaPro, having initially been part of the staff at Scout7. In this episode, Paul and Bradford provide a clear insight into what AI actually is, and crucially, how it can impact and be applied within the world of professional football.

  • 24 - Interview with Brentford head of performance analysis Luke Stopforth. Bees.

    12/07/2019 Duração: 34min

    Luke Stopforth (head of performance analysis, Brentford FC) joins host Ryan Bahia for an in-depth chat on his role at Brentford and the wider culture that has been developed at the Championship club, along with further insight on the evolution and progression of the analysis industry.

  • 23 - Scouting, talent identification and football intelligence. Structure.

    18/04/2019 Duração: 36min

    Miguel Rios, newly appointed Head of Football Intelligence at OptaPro, joins Ben Mackriell (Head of OptaPro) and host Ryan Bahia to share insight on his scouting career, identifying talent in different cultures and developing young players.

  • 22 – Interview with SL Benfica youth technical director Pedro Marques. Águias.

    19/03/2019 Duração: 21min

    Recorded at the 2019 OptaPro Analytics Forum, SL Benfica youth technical director Pedro Marques shares detailed insight on his role as well as his previous position at City Football Group, the evolution of the football analytics industry and the impact of data on a football club.

  • 21 - Interview with New England Revolution analyst Tim Crawford. Evolution.

    14/02/2019 Duração: 23min

    This Q&A discussion with Tim Crawford took place in January 2019, when OptaPro hosted its second #OptaProSoccer analytics conference in North America. In this episode, Tim discusses his seven years at the club, their processes along with the role of data and analytics in informing on-field decision-making.

  • 20 – Academy analysis at Arsenal and breaking into the football analysis industry. Research.

    26/10/2018 Duração: 41min

    Hosted by Ryan Bahia, Arsenal lead academy analyst James Krause joins the podcast alongside a returning Donald Barron, now at the University of Suffolk. Broken down into two parts, the first half focuses on James’ role at Arsenal and the wider topic of innovation within performance analysis. A common discussion point within this space is how people can break into the sports analysis industry. As well as sharing their own experiences, Donald draws on his thoughts as an employer (from his time at Norwich City) and how his life in the academic world has given a new perspective on this question. James also draws on his experiences, along with sharing what he looks for when bringing in new staff to the club.

  • 19 - Interview with Nick Cushing, Manchester City Women's Manager. Gaffer.

    22/08/2018 Duração: 39min

    Manchester City Women’s Manager Nick Cushing joins host Ryan Bahia and OptaPro Data Scientist Tom Worville for this episode of Three At The Back. In an in-depth discussion, Nick shares detailed insight on his football philosophy and how this is implemented with the team, his relationship with his analysis team and how City approach recruitment.

  • 18 - Data, technology and international federations. Cap.

    11/06/2018 Duração: 25min

    Recorded in the lead-up to the 2018 World Cup finals, host Ryan Bahia is joined by Head of OptaPro Ben Mackriell to discuss how international federations are using data and technology to inform and support performance. In a conversation that explores how federations are using data from first-team through to talent pathways and early identification, the pod finishes by touching on how the presence of technology on the touchline could influence the role of the analyst this summer.

  • 17 - Interview with Wolverhampton Wanderers Sporting Director Kevin Thelwell. Promotion.

    16/04/2018 Duração: 47min

    Wolverhampton Wanderers Sporting Director Kevin Thelwell joins OptaPro for this latest episode of Three At The Back. Also featuring Ben Mackriell (Head of OptaPro) and hosted by Ryan Bahia (OptaPro Marketing Manager), this episode focuses on an in-depth discussion on the role of a sporting director. Alongside the implementation of a club philosophy, Kevin also draws on his background in academy football; with conversation revolving around player pathways and the integration of an academy culture alongside the first-team.

  • 16 - #OptaProForum and interview with Devin Pleuler and Luke Bornn. Insiders.

    20/02/2018 Duração: 44min

    Recorded the day after the 2018 #OptaProForum, this latest episode of Three At The Back features both guest speakers – Devin Pleuler, Senior Analytics Manager at Toronto FC and Luke Bornn, VP Strategy and Analytics, Sacramento Kings. Both Devin and Luke share their Forum highlights, discuss the evolving nature of football analytics and outline their thoughts around the future of this industry.

  • 15 - #OptaProSoccer and interview with Paul Carr. Stateside.

    31/01/2018 Duração: 44min

    This episode sees OptaPro’s Three At The Back become Four as host Ryan Bahia is joined by OptaPro data scientist Johannes Harkins, OptaPro lead for North America Olive Miller-Farrell and special guest Paul Carr, senior researcher at ESPN. The discussion, taking place just after the first #OptaProSoccer event in Philadelphia, revolves around the event in the context of analytics in North American soccer along with exploring the use of data for different audiences, and where there are clear differences and overlaps, looking at how each sectors can learn from one another.

  • 14 - Interview with Arsenal academy analyst Ptolemy Coburn. Gunner.

    05/01/2018 Duração: 53min

    Ptolemy Coburn, Arsenal academy analyst, speaks with OptaPro in this latest episode of Three At The Back. Hosted by Ryan Bahia and also featuring Sam Gregory OptaPro data scientist), Ptolemy discusses how working across other sports has influenced the way he approaches his role at Arsenal, the differences between academy and first team football from an analyst perspective as well as sharing further insight on the Arsenal-StatDNA relationship.

  • 13 - Scout7 becomes part of OptaPro. Signing.

    17/11/2017 Duração: 01h02min

    The latest episode of Three At The Back focuses on Scout7 becoming part of OptaPro. Hosted by Ryan Bahia, Head of OptaPro Ben Mackriell and Scout7 MD Lee Jamison discuss recruitment across the professional football landscape as well as exploring how this industry may evolve in the future.

  • 12 – Interview with former Norwich City head of technical scouting Donald Barron. Canary.

    19/09/2017 Duração: 01h01min

    This latest Three At The Back episode is hosted by Ryan Bahia and features Tom Worville along with special guest Donald Barron. Donald has over 12 years’ experience within the professional game across three different clubs: Leicester City, Coventry City and Norwich City, where he was most recently head of recruitment. In this wide-ranging episode, Donald discusses his own roles across these different clubs, his thoughts on how data can be most effectively applied within a professional environment along with how analysts have to adapt and evolve in the ever-changing world of professional football. Donald also shares his thoughts around the OptaPro Analytics Forum, an event taking place in February 2018.

  • 11 – How data can inform tactical selections. Line-up.

    03/08/2017 Duração: 54min

    Host Ryan Bahia is joined by Ben Mackriell (head of OptaPro) and Tom Worville (data scientist, OptaPro) for this episode. The two guests share how data can be integrated into playing philosophies, and each selects an XI where their decisions have been informed by data.

  • 10 - An introduction to sequences and possessions. Style.

    04/07/2017 Duração: 27min

    Host Tom Worville is joined by fellow OptaPro data scientists Johannes Harkins and Sam Gregory to discuss the new possessions framework, share insight on the process behind creating it and showcase examples and applications of the model in action, with specific reference to RB Leipzig and Mohamed Salah. Read the first article introducing this work: Watch OptaPro’s analytical film on Borussia Dortmund that is underpinned by this possessions framework: Show intro music can be found here:

  • 9 - Five years of OptaPro. Reflect.

    12/05/2017 Duração: 55min

    Host Ryan Bahia is joined by Ben Mackriell and Simon Farrant, who makes his Three At the Back debut. Simon, now VP marketing at Perform Group, was part of the core OptaPro team when it founded in 2012. This episode reflects on not only OptaPro’s past five years, but a wider look at the analytics industry – both inside and outside of the professional game.

  • 8 - German football analytics conference roundup. First.

    29/03/2017 Duração: 41min

    Host Ryan Bahia is joined by Ben Mackriell and Three At The Back debutant, Philipp Obloch. Philipp is the OptaPro lead in Germany and led last week’s first OptaPro football analytics conference in Germany, which is the focus of this episode. Presentations from the day will soon be made available.

  • 7 - Interview with Chris Anderson. Numbers.

    22/02/2017 Duração: 51min

    Host Ryan Bahia is joined by Tom Worville and Chris Anderson for a wide-ranging discussion on the use of data within professional football and how it can be applied most effectively in this industry.

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