On the surface, The Expected Goals Philosophy is the type of publication that I warn others against. I could not identify the publisher and the author was not a person I had encountered elsewhere. After a few chapters, it is easy to get the impression that the author is the type of person that the publishers might be inclined to avoid and the type of person that might not be too impressed with any publisher. As I started reading I got the impression that this was a man angry with the mentality of the average football fan. The main source of his anger seemed to be what he perceived as their unwillingness to critically evaluate the game. Nor is he impressed with the sports broadcasters and their choice of pundits. Or to use James Tippett's words, "Less intelligent ex-professionals dominate the inner relams of sport, whilst the smarter analysts find themselves struggling to have their voices heard".
As the anger subsides, The Expected Goals Philosophy developes into a well structured and clear explanation of the use of data in football. Figure 3-1, and the surrounding dicussion, mark a turning point. Figure 3-1 presents on the Google Search for expected goals after an outburst against the statistic by Jeff Stelling. After this the anger at the pundits, broadcasters, and fans subsides. What follows is a step-by-step explanation of the construction of the expected goals and expected assists statistics. This is combined with illustrations familiar to Tippett. Hence the sizable chapter devoted to Brentford.
The book includes just enough data to illustrate the points that Tippett wants to discuss, e.g. the best player in the world according to the statistics on goals and assists. It is also presented in a way that makes it easy to understand. It is one of the best introductions to the use of statistics in football. It is the polar opposite of those textbooks that carry titles like "Statistics for Sport" where the authors write books about statistics and illustrates them with some data from sport (often the data is hypothetical). This is a book that is worth reading for anyone unfamiliar with the calculation and use of the term "expected" in football analysis.
Tippett, and others, might remember that the purpose of pundits is NOT to predict scores or results. Their purpose is to engage the public (customers). A team mate explained this to me as a teenager. After one particular game, it seemed to me that everyone believed I had given one of the better performances. However, the newspaper report did not mention my performance. Instead the reporter focused on the poorer performances of two of my better known colleagues. Decades later I can still remember the words of my team mate, "The readers don't want to know who played well or badly. They want to know how well or badly the players that they know played." The newspaper reporter understood.