Once upon a time, football tactics were planned on blackboards and teams scribbled out on the back of cigarette packets at Preston North End.
While football sometimes drags its feet in certain areas of technology – it took an age to introduce goal-line technology for an example – in other cases it has moved fairly rapidly with the times.
Most professional clubs have a performance analyst on their staff.
And the man with the laptop and DVDs at Preston is Ali Lishman.
The 23-year-old Geordie is in his second season in the job, providing DVD analysis, scouting data and statistics to Simon Grayson and the North End squad.
Glance up at the television gantry above the Invincibles Pavilion at Deepdale on a matchday and the lad wearing the PNE tracksuit with a lap top perched on his knee is Lishman.
He is also the one you see hot-footing it in the direction of the dressing room at half-time and full-time, should Grayson need to cast his eye over a key incident in a game.
Lishman said: “To briefly sum my job up, it is to aid the manager, the coaching staff, the medical staff and sports science staff by providing them with DVD data and statistics.
“For a game at Deepdale, we have the action filmed from different angles – the usual wide television angle, one from behind the goal and another focused on the goalkeeper.
“The match can be looked at from those different angles to assess both good and bad points.
“All the footage is live-coded so that if the manager wants to see a specific incident, I can go straight to it at half-time or at the end.
“The manager might want to see a goal which Preston have scored or one they have conceded, or it might be a controversial incident.
“He can have a look at a particular incident before he does his half-time team talk or, for example, before talking to the media.
“In the days after a game, footage can be shown to the players as a group or individually to help them with their game, whether it is to highlight something positive or negative.
“At Preston, it is more video focused than stats focused, with the manager preferring to use footage of the action to get his point across.
“Some of the players like to have the statistics of how they have done in games, especially the younger ones, and are keen to know things such as pass-completion rate.”
Lishman also works in tandem with the chief scout in preparing information about the forthcoming opposition.
He said: “Before every game we prepare material for the team we are playing.
“I work closely with the chief scout, who goes to watch the side Preston are playing next. We prepare written reports from him and other matches we have had watched.
“All the major points which the manager needs to know are provided and that is supported by various DVDs.”
It was at the tail end of the 2012/13 season when Lishman and North End first crossed paths. And after a short trial spell he became full-time analyst in August 2013.
Said Lishman: “I was doing a Masters degree in sport biomechanics at St John Moore’s University in Liverpool. The university had strong links to ProZone and it was ProZone who put me in touch with Glynn Snodin.
“I came here to get some experience for the last few games of the 2012/13 season, finished my Masters degree, then came on board in time for the Wolves game on the first day of last season.
“As a kid I wanted to be a footballer but once that didn’t happen, I wanted to do something which kept me involved in football.
“I played for Ashington Town to Under-19s level and then went to university, where I played for the teams there.”