Squad age profiles: League 2, 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.

Newly-promoted Salford have put out the oldest starting line-ups so far, with almost 40% of their minutes having been racked up by players in their 30s and under 2% by those aged 21 or under.

At the other end of the scale are Forest Green with an average starting line-up aged a shade over 24 and the only club in the division with less than 10% of minutes going to players in their 30s. Crewe are the only club to have given a higher share of their minutes to players aged 21 or under (with nearly 40%), while half of Macclesfield‘s minutes have gone to players aged under 23.