The Pirlo Project: The Big Goalkeeper Fund

“I reckon I will be able to pick up at least 66% of that dividend pot by holding 33% of the pool. That’s a healthy ratio.”

Welcome to a new series on in the shape of ‘The Pirlo Project’ which will delve into some of my ongoing strategies on the index, as well as exploring any potentially profitable new aspects that may arise on the platform.

Episodes will come in different forms whether it be potentially bargain players, picking up on market trends, analysing matrix beneficial team tactics or looking into areas on the index that may be going under the radar. Anything that may gain an edge.

Hopefully it will be informative and help provide some assistance to traders as they go about their business on the Index. Even if it is just to open up new thoughts in areas traders may not have considered. Any gains big or small are good. 😀

Almost exactly a year ago (27th Aug 2019 to be precise) I published the intro article to my ‘Can I make a living from Football Index?’ series and completed the final tenth episode last month.

I was extremely pleased with how it went and was blown away with all the positive feedback it received. Many thanks for all of your comments and I am really glad if it helped you gain a new perspective of what can be achieved on the Index. This thing can be gold!

What do you think of my portiere?

To kick this new series off I am going to start with a bang and share what I have been getting up to since the Index announced goalkeepers were getting their own category as of next season. Short answer: A lot!

Before I go into who I have bought, let’s look at the goalkeeper category itself and what monster FI have created here. Looking at the payouts we are getting 3p Gold, 2p Silver, 1p Bronze.

At first I didn’t know what to think of this or the GK category in general. That announcement was a whirlwind that took a couple of days to get your head around, at least for me.

Once it started to digest in my brain, something clicked. I asked myself the following questions:

How many GK’s are actually on the platform?

How many Gold, Silver and Bronze days do we get over a season?

How much of a guaranteed pot is this shallow pool playing for?

Who in this shallow pool are the most likely winners?

So, I got asking around the great FI community and specifically those spreadsheet/data junkies who may be able to provide some precious info on the matter. They duly delivered.

A big shout out to LuaLua, KBrown and FIDataStephen who I’ve kept in regular contact with and provided mapped out spreadsheets with all that lovely data to see how much dividends are on offer over a season and which GKs would have won the most if GK divs were in place for the 2019/20 season.

They also have provided data for the previous two seasons, however, the PB matrix changed as of the 2019/20 season so I have took that data with a pinch of salt and focussed on how keepers performed this year.

All of this, of course, is to try and decipher who could be the best goalkeepers to get on going forward and how much dividends could you be looking to gobble up for your investment.

How deep is the pool?

“Interestingly, barely any non-PB European keepers won anything”

When it comes the judging how big this pool is I’ve kept it fairly straight forward. I have also separated it somewhat between consistent and sporadic. We have five PB leagues. Four of them have 20 teams with one that has 18.

This doesn’t take a professor of economics to work out that over each typical game week there will be 98 goalkeepers playing and competing for these shiny new GK divs. Every now and then a regular no.1 with be rested or dropped, so lets call it 100. Plus it’s easier. 😀

It gets more tricky when you add into the Europa and Champions League as the likes of Porto, Ajax and Shakhtar Donetsk join the party. Plus some top teams tend to a have a cup goalkeeper who plays instead of the regular no.1 like a Sergio Romero for e.g.

Blimey, just remembered International qualifiers as well. 😀

If you would like to know how many GK are officially on the platform, I had a count up and it sneaks just over 300. But these include every random Saudi Arabian and retired Petr Cech, so it’s a nonsense number when looking at potential div winners.

If you would like to know just how many GKs actually won divs last season I can tell you. Up until mid-July, 90 different keepers would have won a PB div last season if they were active, which included the UEFA club competitions and for their country in the qualifiers.

Interestingly, barely any non-PB European keepers won anything. Non-PB GK’s won on just three occasions, all the other UCL and Europa league participating winners were from PB leagues.

The Galatasaray keeper had a stormer against Madrid, Onana grabbed a win for Ajax and the APOEL keeper played out of this skin once but that was it. The main spoils went to the PB stalwarts and a fair few big ones at that.

So, to work out a pool I am focusing on the bread and butter with a sprinkling of European & International flavour on top.

Given the likely winners are still to come from your top PB goalkeepers I would say the realistic pool is around 120. A fair few of the Europa League and International GK’s aren’t even on the platform.

If some random Romanian gets them who I may not have considered as “in the club” than fair play to him. He won’t win them every week so to add him to a pool of GKs that will play 10 times as many games as he will, just seems a bit odd. Let’s call it 120 and crack on.

How much is the pot?

So, how much of a pot does this shallow pool of GKs play for? Well if we take the season that has just gone by as an example, we are talking about a dividend payout of around £5 over the course of a season.

You must bear in mind, however, that the 2019/20 schedule was the strangest on record and is a bit of a ball ache to use as an example in isolation. Throw in the added fact that FI love of a promotion and to find a true nailed on total dividend pay out to the penny is a tough task.

Using the previous two seasons in addition to last season makes it slightly easier and the figures we come to are around that £5 mark. Going back to last season alone as of mid July we had the following total of each match day:

Gold 65, Silver 73 and Bronze 76.

This of course missed out additional games post lockdown and the August Gold UCL and Europa League rearranged fixtures, but it shows just how many games will be out there for GUARANTEED GK divs to be won per season.

Some stats

“Looking at the data, the top 20 dividend winning goalkeepers won over 50% of the total pot between them.”

If we have established we have a pool of around 120 goalkeepers fighting it out for a pot of £5 match day divs per season, the trick is to own the most likely winners. No Nobel prize will be handed out on that thought process. So who are they?

Below are some screenshots of top winning keepers in terms of divs won and scores. Note this data runs up until before the extended UCL and Europa games that were played throughout August 2020. Data provided by @FootballIndexEdge

Dividend payout (up until mid-July 2019/20 season):

Div winners throughout the 2019/20 season (up until mid July)

Number of wins per top performing goalkeeper:

Number of div wins for 2019/20 (up until mid July)

Top Dividend yield goalkeepers:

Top yielding Goalkeepers (up until mid July)

Keepers with the best top 5 scores to their name:

Gks with the top 5 scores

TOTM entries up until May:

TOTM winners up until May

A lot of info all in one go there but you can see the potential winnings from picking out the best performing GK’s across a season. You can repeat this for two further seasons given it’s a three year bet and the returns add up significantly.

Let’s take Manuel Neuer as an example. This guy was the top earning GK across the season and up until mid-July he would have brought in 31p worth of Match Day divs + TOTM and this doesn’t include any bonus clean sheet IPDs.

If he were to repeat this over a three year bet we are talking a £1 of returns from one goalkeeper. When you consider Trent Alexander-Arnold brought in around 46p of divs last season and is worth over £10, that brings some perspective.

Given the small pool of goalkeepers realistically available to win a pot of around £5 of match day dividend payouts, I have decided to play the numbers game and spread my money around many holds at 300 shares a player.

I could attempt to single out who I think will be the top 5 or 6 and go big but an injury, transfer, loss of form can kill any pick stone dead. What if Neuer loses 30% – 50% of his game time to Nubel from this season on for example?

Looking at the data, the top 20 dividend winning goalkeepers won over 50% of the total pot between them. If you take my pool number of 120, that’s the top 16% taking over 50%. Crazy. The top 33% of the pool took around 66% of the pot.

Who makes the cut?

So my plan is to pick out a top 35 – 45 range of goalkeepers who I think will a) bring home the most bacon and b) are a decent price. I don’t want to over stretch my budget on slightly expensive looking GKs who may not win much.

For example, I would rather have a 25p keeper who snags a random Gold day or a few Bronze days than a 75p keeper with similar or even slightly higher historical stats. I am looking to find a balance between investment and return and a line needs to be drawn at some point.

As of time of writing here is my current pool of goalkeepers that I believe can snag me a good chunk of the pot. This may change here and there with an odd addition over time. There are a couple of omissions that I haven’t snapped up for the right price yet.

There are 40 goalkeepers above. Some are at big clubs, some are in medium sized clubs in Europe, some are at smaller clubs but have the historic PB and stats to challenge for Match Day divs. I may move one or two out and one or two in over time.

As well the stats of who won what, I used IndexGain brilliant set of data to check peak PB scores and average PB scores to come to a list of keepers that have those spikes to win but also the consistency of performance, as there will be lots of small Bronze days that will be there for the taking.

I tried to keep costs down with Donnarumma and Alisson easily being the most expensive entry price at above £1.30. I matched Ederson for £1.03. As for the rest I picked them all up under £1 with Neuer and ter Stegen the best pick ups on the day of the GK addition announcement.

I have my eyes on a few others like Szczesny for e.g which I am timing my entry on and I am waiting to see if Asenjo starts for Villareal. I had some Mat Ryan, Kasper Schmeichel and Rafael Gikiwicz who I may get back on but will depend on performance.

Final Thoughts

40 is a good number I think in a pool of 120 actively dividend winning goalkeepers. I reckon I will be able to pick up at least 66% of that dividend pot by holding 33% of the pool. That’s a healthy ratio.

The average age of my goalkeeper “port” is 28.2 and the average price bought at was just 47p. Total outlay is around the £5k mark. Given my early entry on some and hoovering up most of them via the matching engine, I already have over 40% return in capital appreciation.

Let’s say I bring in £3.33 of the £5 match day div pot per season with an average share holding of 300 per goalkeeper, I should be looking at a return of £1k per season. This doesn’t include the dividends they have already won for me or any clean sheet IPDs I may recycle for.

The plan is to leave them in there and hoover up these dividends in the background on top of my active trading in the market and my outfield player holds that will collect div wins and cap app at the same time.

Goalkeeper dividends are a brilliant addition to the market and people are still sleeping on them in my opinion. I don’t know if many out there have crunched through the numbers and thought about what they can offer.

A small pool with a healthy guaranteed pot season upon season is too good an opportunity to turn down. I shall keep updates on my progress on this and see how it works out.

Some people don’t want to buy keepers as they find them “boring” or can’t be bothered to hope for a clean sheet. I can’t agree with that thought process. These are a bonus on top of your goalscorers and trust me, it gets tense in the final 10 minutes if you’re banking for a clean sheet!

Who would have thought keepers could be so entertaining…? 😀

Reminder to check out my man @IrishFI and his podcast ‘Football Index Weekly’. The home of easy listening, funny and honest football index content whether you are an experienced trader or just starting out. Find the podcast here and on Spotify.

Find me on Twitter @GingerPirlo_FI

Author: The Ginger Pirlo

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