Squad churn in League 1

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 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:

L1 churn 15-16

Three of the division’s four new arrivals from League 2 – Southend, Bury and Burton – have retained most of the players who got them promoted last season. Peterborough are the only side other than the Shrimpers to have lost only four of their first team regulars from the last campaign.

Despite the change of manager, Sheffield United still have 16 of their first team regulars from last season in their ranks. However this still represents a loss of six from 2014/15’s most heavily rotated squad, with the Blades deploying 22 different players for 1,000 minutes or more.

At the bottom of the graphic, we can see that League 1 contains the Football League’s two most changed squads in Wigan and Blackpool. Both are virtually unrecognisable from the sides that suffered relegation last season, with Charles Dunne the only surviving first team regular from the Tangerines’ 2014/15 roster. Between them these two sides fielded 91 different players in the Championship last season (50 for Blackpool, 41 for Wigan) but now have only eight each remaining in their squads.


You can view the same graphic for the other two Football League divisions here: