Squad churn in the Championship

With the transfer window finally closed I wanted to look at how much each squad had changed since last season. While we can’t predict which of the summer’s new signings will win – and ultimately hold down – a place in the first team this season, we can quantify the hole left by the players who have departed since the previous campaign.

For each club I added up all the league minutes played by each player last season, which for a side that played in the Football League last season is usually around 49,000 (46 matches x 97-ish minutes per match including added time x 11 players usually on the pitch at any one time).

I then subtracted all the minutes which were racked up by players no longer at the club (whether transferred or out on loan) and divided what was left by the total to get a percentage. The higher this number, the more of last season’s playing minutes were accumulated by players still in the squad and the smaller the gap to be filled by new arrivals and players making a step up to the first team.

This number should be more representative than just counting players as the departure of a fringe player will make less of an impact than that of an ever-present, although I’ve also added a slightly less esoteric measure of how many “first team” players departed. I counted up how many of a club’s players featured for at least 1,000 minutes last season (which feels like a reasonable cut-off) and which still remained.

The result of all this is the rather tall graphic below, which you can click to enlarge:

CH churn 15-16


At the top, we can see that newly-promoted Bristol City look to have kept the faith with the squad that got them promoted. While they and MK Dons (who are also near the top, suggesting a similar level of continuity) relied on a relatively small core of players, with 14 and 15 racking up at least 1,000 minutes respectively, Preston used a whopping 21 different players for this long and shed a third of them over the summer.

Ipswich dispensed with the fewest first team regulars of any side in the division, with just two such players – Paul Anderson and Tyrone Mings – moving on. The club that saw the most leave was Charlton, who dispensed with ten.

As you might expect, the bottom of the graphic contains more of the sides that struggled last season and hence were more likely to ring the changes. Rotherham, who finished 21st last term, are the only team to have retained fewer than half of last season’s minutes in their 2015/16 squad.

Given the change in philosophy at Brentford, it’s perhaps not surprising that their playing staff has seen a lot of turnover.


On the whole, squads have changed a lot less than in League 2, which I looked at last week.