Home » Manchester United’s new Head of Data operations has lofty ambitions for the club

Manchester United’s new Head of Data operations has lofty ambitions for the club

by Vatsal Gupta
Old Trafford stadium

Manchester United, in the post-Sir Alex era, have been talked about as one of the clubs whom the modern changes have passed by.

Be it proactive scouting, sports science, or using data to find hidden gems in the market, United have gone a step behind their rivals.

For a club that was the cream of England in every department, it is a stark fall from grace.

By hiring Chris Shumba, their new Head of Data Operations, they aim to change that narrative.

Shumba joined United this year, in March, and has already gotten started on making United the “best data platform in sports, not just football”.

Those are high ambitions indeed for a club that was nowhere near when the data revolution was taking over the game.

Talking to BBC Teach, Shumba stressed the importance of making data-driven decisions, and how the scope of it is so much larger than just a single field.

Shumba said: “Data science enables decision makers to make better judgements using data-driven knowledge. This capability results in a data-informed organisation.

“When we think of data enablement, we think of the entire organisation. As a data team, we are not only there to answer questions, but also to help people answer their own questions using data. This is a more scalable approach and one with bigger impact for the organisation and industry.”

Shumba didn’t want to divulge the details of what his job profile is but he laid out his ambitious plans which would come as music to the ears of fans.

He said: “I won’t disclose too much about my average week. However, I will say that we are on a mission to build the best data platform in sport, not just football. My typical week revolves around making this a reality.”

It is Shumba’s first job in football but the decision-makers at Old Trafford have clearly been impressed with his knowledge and ambition.

Hopefully, in time, the fruits of his, and his team’s labour begin to show on the field as United’s wretched transfer history keeps adding names to itself.

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