Colin Chambers is a professional football scout who is an expert in player assessment, player reporting and match analysis at the highest professional level. Colin has been in the game for 22 years working in the Premier league for the majority of those years as a 1st team Scout and Opposition Analyst at clubs like Charlton Athletic, Bolton Wanderers & Middlesbrough plus many other clubs but to name a few.
He has worked at an International level under the guidance of the chief scout of Northern Ireland and just recently for the Polish National team at the world cup. Colin has worked as a European scout and senior scout at various clubs. He is the education director at IPSO The International Professional Scouting Organisation. Through his travels delivering courses and seminars around the world Colin has gathered a vast amount of contacts from many different countries and leagues and in the premier league due to the building of IPSO. These contacts are vast and varied with IPSO now established as the worldwide leader of scouting & analysis courses, breaking through into the USA, China, India, Saudi Arabia and many more global destinations.
Colin gave away some key points about scouting on the webinar session of FOCUS. He detailed how the importance of the scouting department within a club’s strategy. Here are some headlines:
Scouting is the most integral part of a club
It’s the biggest thing that a football club needs. Because not everybody is Manchester City or Newcastle United. With all the money in the world. So, you’ve got to make sure you recruitment’s right, if you get your recruitment right you get players for nothing. You gain players coming through with little or no outlay and you will making the club a lot of money, you’re going to be very successful. So, everything starts at the bottom and the most integral part of a football club the scouts and that’s where it all begins. Without scouts you can’t gain good quality players or the correct players for your club and philosophy.Many clubs don’t use scouting systems?
Some clubs do scouting, but there is a lot that don’t. When we started our courses with our company IPSO eight years ago, we were shocked that Poland didn’t have any scouts apart from Legia Warsaw and Lech Poznan and even then they only one or two. When we went to clubs like Slavia Prague or Ludogorets all playing regular in the Champions League didn’t have a lot of scouts. They have scouting departments but one person just being the scout as they didn’t look into recruitment. They rely heavily on agents and contacts.
Scouting is not easy
People think scouting is easy but it’s not easy, people have got this myth that anybody can scout. Well why don’t we just say anybody can coach, anybody can pick a bag of balls up throw cones down and away you go. That’s coaching whether you like it or not. It might not be great coaching, but it’s coaching. It’s the same with scouting you must be trained to do it properly.
Everybody can scout but there is a massive difference between a professional scout and somebody playing at it or somebody just starting off.
Getting rid off biases on player judgement
They have to be very open-minded and they got to be honest. A lot of people are very opinionated. An opinion isn’t right. It should be facts first. You can’t have an opinion without facts. So the scout has to be observant to see the facts. To be a good scout you have to no biases. As a sports person, a coach as an analyst it’s about not being bias. I’ve done it, you’ve done it. Everybody’s been biased at some point. Not being biased not jumping in with two feet where a lot of people do. People like to show off how good they are. People judge the player to quickly. It takes time to judge a player. I’ve seen people judge in 5 minutes. Some people in 10 minutes, it’s just ridiculous really..Scouts from Southampton proved themselves
If you go back in time Southampton has been really good club. A lot of young kids have coming through. Liverpool’s gone back to Southampton and bought a lot of players over the past 10 – 20 years. If you do your research! Me I’d just go and get the scouts from Southampton. Because they proved they were brilliant. It’s changed now but Crewe Alexandra were once a famous conveyor belt for young kids coming. But if you want me to talk about clubs that are doing a really good job at this moment in time in scouting, I would have to say clubs like Peterborough. They regularly scout from non-league clubs looking to improve them and sell them one or for one or two million. When they have got money back, they’ve invest it back in the scouting department and they go and do it again and again. Accrington Stanley do the same thing. Their scouting system is unbelievable for the size of the club. They get players from non-league and then they sell two or three players a season to keep the club ticking over nicely. That is top business and that is what scouting is all about.