A RHYL Football Club staff member has played a leading role in the innovative implementation of artificial intelligence to try to get the edge over their opponents.

Dave Norman, who holds the title of Executive Director of Sport and Education at the Lilywhites, has been working on an interim basis at Wingate and Finchley FC, with the club’s permission, who will be using an Amazon Echo system to help choose their team formations and make pre-game and in-game tactical decisions.

The smart speaker will be linked to a computer and use information spoken to it by coaches to make tactical suggestions, conversing with ‘Alexa’ to find solutions to various problems and changes during training and matches.

Norman, said: “It’s been very interesting having an artificial intelligence system working alongside coaches at grassroots level, trying to develop their knowledge and understanding of the game, helping and aiding decision making.

“It’s not going to change football practice, it’s not going to take the place of the manager, it’s not going to take the place of the coach, but what it can do is support infrastructure and technological changes which we’ve seen over the last 10 years.”

The new system has been used in training and will have its first outing in the dugout on February 9 for a crunch clash against Isthmian League relegation rivals Whitehawk.

Norman, who works for the Educate Resource group, will also be showcasing the new idea at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham later this year, and the story went nationwide and even saw the Lilies’ staff member appear on popular Sky Sports programme ‘The Debate’ alongside Geoff Shreeves, Kevin Phillips and Mark Schwartzer.

The AI system was commissioned by the Big Bang Fair, the UK’s largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths, (STEM) to encourage young people by showcasing how it can be used in the country’s most popular sport.

Stuart Haigh of GreenShoot Labs, which created the innovative coach, added: “We’re using pre-existing technology just in terms of what we can leverage through Alexa and its conversational voice AI.

“We wanted to make it nice and presentable and really helpful to the team so we’ve got inspirational quotes at various intervals and advice if your players have been sent off.”