Squad age profiles: League 1, 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).


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.

While Tranmere have named the oldest starting XIs on average this season, it’s Burton who have given the most league minutes to players in their 30s: over 40% of their total. Blackpool have put the least trust in youth with just 2% of their playing time being racked up by players aged 21 or under.

Wimbledon are the youngest side in the division this season by a whole year, with over 40% of minutes accumulated by players aged 21 or under and nobody older than 30 having turned out for them in League 1 so far.