Squad age profiles: Championship, 2016/17

Continuing today’s onslaught of end-of-season graphics for the Championship, here’s an updated version of the squad age profile graphic.

These are intended to give a quick visual overview of the age of players that each club has fielded in league matches using a technique very similar to “population pyramid” graphs, although I’ll freely admit that they’ve come out with shades of the Rorschach test (or as someone observed on Twitter, the Habitat lighting range).


Hopefully they’re fairly self-explanatory, but here’s a quick summary anyway:

For each club I’ve added up all the league minutes played by every player this season and calculated the percentage accumulated by players of every age, rolling up “18 and under” and “35 and over” for neatness’ sake.

Each vertical “step” on a club’s chart is a year, with the major age milestones denoted by slightly thicker lines (as per the labels on the left). The width of the coloured graph at each step corresponds to the percentage of minutes accounted for by players of that age.

I haven’t labelled the percentage values as the graphs were already getting pretty busy and I figured that the general shape and proportions were sufficient to compare teams against each other. I may revisit this (and a few other tweaks) later in the season once I’ve done a bit more tinkering.

I’ve also calculated the average age of each club’s starting line-ups this season and used this to sort all the clubs in a division from oldest to youngest.

Hopefully that’s enough to give you the idea, so let’s dive in.

The title race makes for an interesting comparison: Brighton put their faith in experience while Newcastle opted for youth, with starting line-ups with an average age of almost three years younger. Nobody under the age of 23 got much of a look-in for the Seagulls, whereas the Magpies seldom fielded anyone in their 30s. For what it’s worth, neither side had much truck with under 21s.

The most youthful sides were those of Brentford and Barnsley, with the Tykes the only club not to field a single player aged 30 or over this season.

While Norwich fielded slightly younger line-ups than Brighton on average, the 41.1% of minutes given to players aged 30 or over has been the highest in the whole of the EFL this season.