Squad age profiles: Championship, 24 Dec 2019

In what will hopefully be the first of many “roughly halfway through the season” posts, here’s an old favourite.

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).

Explanation

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.

Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday have been putting out the oldest squads – both clubs’ starting line-ups have had an average age of over 28 – and neither has given any league minutes to a player under the age of 23.

Brentford have been the youngest side for the last few years but Barnsley have usurped them significantly with an average starting line-up age of below 23. Almost half of the Tykes’ league minutes have been racked up by players aged 21 or under and nobody older than 27 has represented them in the Championship this season.