It’s developed particularly fast at Palace over the last four years, since Sporting Director Dougie Freedman changed Ben’s role from a first-team analyst to pulling a recruitment and analysis department together under one umbrella.
With Freedman’s aim being to enlarge and solidify the analysis structure, Ben has grown the team so that today the club has two first-team analysts, two recruitment analysts, two data analysts and Ben, who leads the first-team and recruitment roles. The Academy has its own separate pool of staff.
It’s a wide team with an even wider remit, but Ben suggests the size of the department is secondary to its efficiency: “You don't want to be a bloated department… where you just get more information, cover more things but it doesn't actually impact on decision making. So it needs to be that perfect size of big enough to cover enough but also small enough that you can actually make some impact on decision making.”
For clarity, recruitment analysts are a different type altogether. Their role is to “use video to scout and clip up presentations of players to show to the management and board.”