Brentford FC's owner Matthew Benham, the closest thing to 'Moneyball' in football | 10 PEOPLE WHO GOT RICH ON SPORTS BETTING

Matthew ‘Moneyball’ Benham

Although Matthew Benham has stated he dislikes the comparison between himself and the movie ‘Moneyball’, let’s be honest, he’s about as close as it gets! 

Matthew Benham (left) also has an interest Danish club Midtjylland. Credit: Søren Palmelund - The Guardian

Matthew Benham (left) also has an interest Danish club Midtjylland. Credit: Søren Palmelund - The Guardian

Benham’s footballing beliefs revolve around KPI’s, statistics and algorithmic philosophy. 

For example, instead of looking at how many goals a striker scores, he bases his judgements on the number and quality of the chances created by the striker, and how the team perform collectively within the context of the individual’s performance. 

Manager sacked after promotion

His mathematical approach to football was most evident when he sacked former Brentford manager Mark Warburton, along with his assistant manager and sporting director after being promoted to the Championship in 2015.

He believed that competition tables are hugely inaccurate due to the amount of randomness in a competition.

When Borussia Dortmund famously fell into the Bundesliga relegation zone halfway through the 2014/15 season, Benham still had them as the second best team in the league statistically, they were just terribly unlucky.

The Braemar Road stand at Brentford’s home ground, Griffin Park.

The Braemar Road stand at Brentford’s home ground, Griffin Park.

Taking over his childhood love

In 2012, Benham took over Brentford after bailing them out of a £500k financial hole.

Since then he has invested almost £100m into the club, creating everything from academies, and facilities, to a new stadium which is currently being built.

Brentford finished mid-table in the 2018/19 Championship season, but Benham is aware that all the money spent on the club will pay dividends in the future. 

The supporters have fallen in love with Benham over time after many years of success, you’ll often hear a few songs of praise for Benham from the stands.

But how did he get rich?

Similar to Tony Bloom, Benham’s involvement in the football world was only possible due to his success as a sports bettor.

Of course his strategies as a bettor are a secret but his triumphs in the industry are through heavy use of statistical data and modelling. 

He is the owner of betting exchange website Matchbook and betting advisor Smart Odds.

Brentford playing in their 2014/15 League 1 season where they gained promotion to the Championship.

Brentford playing in their 2014/15 League 1 season where they gained promotion to the Championship.

Matchbook is one of the best betting exchange websites in the world, giving Benham further industry knowledge and an understanding of the ‘other side of the fence’.

Smart Odds is the same concept as Tony Bloom’s Starlizard, a statistically-based model providing betting advice for customers and professional bettors. 

Although they don’t bring in the same numbers as Starlizard, it was reported in 2017 that Smart Odds’ revenue for the financial year hit £12m from clients in the UK and overseas.

After two weeks of highlighting UK football club owners who got rich on sports betting, we take a turn to the Greek-Canadian Haralabos Voulgaris next week, a man who made his wealth through betting on the NBA.

Check out Article 1 of 10 People Who Got Rich On Sports Betting series featuring Brighton FC owner Tony Bloom here!