Squad age profiles: Championship, 2017/18

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.

Derby secured a play-off spot with the oldest average age in the EFL – their starting 11s have typically clocked in at around 29 and a half. A whopping 55.9% of their playing minutes have been racked up by players in their 30s compared to just 1.1% by those aged 21 or under – the highest and lowest in the division respectively.

Cardiff also didn’t do much in the way of blooding youngsters this season: while they were far from the oldest side in the division (almost two years younger than the Rams), they were the only club not to field a player under 21 and gave just 2.1% of their minutes to those under 23.

There’s no clear relationship between age and success though, with three of the next four oldest sides all battling relegation this year. The youngest team of all was one of those who failed to avoid the drop: Barnsley‘s line-ups were a shade over 24 on average – the joint-youngest in the EFL – and the 2.6% of minutes they gave to players in their 30s was the joint-lowest in the division (along with Brentford).