Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane will be doing some work with one of his other passions – soccer. Dutch club AZ Alkmaar of the Eredivisie has hired Beane as an adviser with an eye towards helping them compete in the top-rated Dutch league against competition like Ajax, Feyenoord, and PSV Eindhoven.
The Guardian has some of the relevant quotes.
Alkmaar’s general director Robert Eenhoorn, who played for the New York Yankees and Anaheim Angels in the 1990s, said: “AZ was already very interested in the Moneyball principle before I got here. I have known Billy for a while, because of my history in baseball. When we approached him for this role with AZ, he was immediately enthusiastic.
“He has been able to close the gap with the big-market teams, by being innovative. We are very excited and look forward to working with him. Billy will give his advice from the States and he will visit Alkmaar a few times a year.”
Beane told the club’s website: “I am truly excited for the opportunity to be part of AZ Alkmaar in an advisory role. Despite being a great football club with a storied history, they face many of the challenges we have with the Oakland A’s. My love for football and AZ’s vision of the future of the club made this an attractive pursuit.”
Alkmaar has only won the Eredivisie twice in their history, with the last title coming during the 2008-09 season. They’ve only won three trophies over the last 15 years. This year, the club is in fourth in the Eredivisie with 47 points, and are clinging to dreams of competing in Europe next fall.
As a baseball and soccer fan, I’m interested to see what Beane could come up with to help Alkmaar compete in Dutch football. What’s the current market inefficiency in Dutch, and European to a lesser extent, football? Maybe Beane won’t come up with anything unique or all that revolutionary, but the possibilities are intriguing.