He belonged to us – but was he any good?

Credit Graham Burrell

Former fan favourite Bruno Andrade today joined Stevenage in League Two and sparked a round of ‘baller’ type comments on their Twitter feed.

Even now, a season-and-a-half after he left the club, I can still hear the chant, “he belongs to us, Bruno Andrade.” I sang it loud as his stunner beat Jordan Pickford against Everton, and moments like that stand out when recalling his prowess for the Imps. The big question I wanted to answer is this – was he any good, or do we remember the sublime and forget the rest?

To answer, I’m turning to the stats once again and comparing his 2018/19 season with two other wingers from Lincoln past – Nathan Arnold in 2016/17, Harry Anderson in 2017/18 and Anthony Scully in 2020/21. To give some level of clarity, Nathan played 3519 minutes in the National League campaign, Harry got 2742 minutes in our League Two playoff season, and Bruno managed 3497 minutes during our title win. I’ve picked Scully (3374 minutes) because I think it unfair to select one of the wingers who came in on loan and because he was perhaps the player we owned who played the most minutes on the flank.

League assists and goals

Credit Graham Burrell

In terms of goals and assists, Bruno’s involvement was certainly on a par with our other star wingers. Remember, I’m using league stats only, and the player who comes out on top is Nathan, with ten goals and six assists, making 16 goal involvements. Bruno and Anthony Scully are level on 14, Bruno scoring ten and making four, with Scully scoring 11 and making three. Harry is behind the others, albeit having played fewer minutes on six goals and four assists.

Star Winger: Nathan Arnold 16 involvements

Crossing and creation

Credit Graham Burrell

A winger is often judged on his ability to deliver crosses with pinpoint accuracy. This stat isn’t affected by the number of minutes a player has played either, as it is worked out by average number per game, with accuracy a factor. The fewest crosses came from Scully, which might reflect our style of play, which often sees the full-back overlap and deliver the final ball. However, Scully has the second-best accuracy, with 29.5%. Harry delivered the next fewest on 2.99 per game and had the worst accuracy on 18.7%. That leaves Nathan second, 3.07 crosses per game and as accurate as anyone with a whopping 38.3%. Bruno tried more crosses, 3.96 per game, and had 25.3% accuracy. To work out who was the best of the four, I’ve worked out the number of crosses which were accurate. Bruno scores well, one cross per game hit the target, but Nathan wins out again on 1.17. Scully scores 0.64, and Harry 0.55. One wonders if having Rheady to aim at improved the accuracy, as Bruno was trying to find big John, which I hear Steve Evans is struggling to do at the minute…..

Star Winger: Nathan Arnold 3.07pg, 38.3%

Progressive runs and dribbles

Courtesy of Graham Burrell

Finally, I’ve gone for the progressive runs and dribbles as a defining stat. A progressive run sees play advanced 30m up the field, so it is a stat that a flying winger will have a good score in. A dribble is a carry of the ball, and a successful dribble sees a positive action at the end. The standout man here is Harry Anderson, who made 7.55 dribbles per game in 2017/18, with a 52.6% success rate. In terms of progressive dribbles, he comes out on top as well, with 2.26 per game. Bruno does score well though – he made 6.33 dribbles per game, with a 52.4% success rate. In terms of progressive runs, he comes out second, making 1.78 per game in 2018/19. As for the other two, I’m quite surprised at the numbers. Nathan ‘only’ made 3.68 per game, with a 41.7% accuracy and just 1.05 progressive runs per game. That could be reflective of our approach at the time or course. As for Scully, he makes fewer dribbles per game, 2.77, but is more successful with 62.3%. He advances us 30m or more, on average, 1.76 times per game.

Star Winger: Harry Anderson, 7.55 dribbles pg, 52.6% success rate, 2.26 progressive 


Courtesy Graham Burrell

I know plenty of your will lash out at these stats, as there are so many variables that could affect them. In the National League, we were a little more direct, and Nathan often played in a 4-4-2. Harry and Bruno are different, Harry is direct, a runner that bullies defenders, whereas Bruno had pace and a drop of the shoulder to beat his markers. Anthony Scully is unlucky as he didn’t always play on the wing, so his stats do show a difference. I guess what I wanted to demonstrate is that although Bruno was a strong winger for us, those amazing moments he produced do give some an enhanced view of his input – he was a solid player, but no better than other wingers we have had before and since.

For the record, Brennan Johnson‘s goal involvements in the league last season amount to 15, he delivered 1.96 crosses per game with a 21.7% success rate, and dribbled 6.54 times per game, with a 55.2% success rate, 2.93 of which were progressive.