Squad age profiles: League 1, 2017/18

Continuing today’s onslaught of end-of-season graphics for League 1, 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.

Southend were the oldest team in the division this season: their starting line-ups were almost 29 years old on average and a whopping 44.3% of their minutes were racked up by players aged 30 or over. This wasn’t the highest however, with Bradford giving 45.1% of theirs to players in their 30s – you can see how their graph is “pinched” in the middle, with very few players at peak age.

Blackpool, Portsmouth and Wigan meanwhile were notable for their rampant ageism reluctance to deploy players in their 30s, with each giving only around 4% of their minutes to those north of 29. Pompey had the youngest squad of all and over 30% of their minutes went to players aged 21 or under.