The data for the lower tiers of English football is (currently) few and far between. Allow me to amend that, the data available for the lower tiers of English football is PUBLICLY not as available as the slightly greater amount there for the Championship, and certainly not to the level or depth as there is for the Premier League.
My knowledge of the bottom two leagues is very limited as well, I’ve not seen AS many games as I have of Championship or Premier League, but I’m mildly aware of the top players and talent down there. I think there’s less emphasis on statistical significance as you go down the leagues, as (controversially) the teams by and large play the same way as each other, there’s a lot more transfer activity and it’s less likely you’ll have the chance to build a team (best players always at risk of getting poached by the leagues above) So the issue you have as a League 1 side is that the Championship is always looking to sign up bright, young talent from the lower leagues to see if they can replicated at a higher level. It can be argued that the Championship doesn’t suffer this as much from the Premier League (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the links for Will Hughes to teams like Liverpool ring a bell – otherwise, apart from the summer transfer window, movement from the second to first tier is fairly minimal)
So what happened in League 1 last year? Kenny Jackett’s rejuvenated Wolverhampton Wanderers side stormed to the title, wrapping up the season with an impressive 103 points, and Brentford followed them up with a solid 94 points. The play-off final was well watched, and there were some absolutely cracking goals in the game, but Rotherham prevailed, returning to the Championship.
Since the aforementioned lack of data, all I really have is minutes played, subbed on/off, goals and assists. But this is enough to give the attacking output and scoring contribution of the players. There’s a slight skew in that League 1 consists of a lot of loanees and youngsters who are explosive – so pay heed to the minutes played when thinking woah, this boy can play.
Anyway, here it is – the breakdown of the top 25 strikers in League 1 for the 2013/14 season. NB: Nouha Dicko and Britt Assombalonga are defined as wingers by TransferMarkt – but they played quite a few games up top for their respective sides. And they scored goals, so they’re in.
|1||Sam Baldock||Centre Forward||Bristol City||England||25||3926||5||24||20||0.458||0.115||0.573|
|2||Britt Assombalonga||Right Wing||Peterborough United||England||21||3716||4||23||18||0.436||0.097||0.533|
|3||Callum Wilson||Centre Forward||Coventry City||England||22||3280||8||21||19||0.521||0.220||0.741|
|4||Kieran Agard||Centre Forward||Rotherham United||England||24||3930||5||21||16||0.366||0.115||0.481|
|5||Dave Mooney||Centre Forward||Leyton Orient||Ireland||29||2959||8||19||17||0.517||0.243||0.760|
|6||Ryan Lowe||Centre Forward||Tranmere Rovers||England||35||3895||2||19||14||0.323||0.046||0.370|
|7||Nouha Dicko||Right Wing||Rotherham United/Wolves||Mali||22||1846||5||18||18||0.878||0.244||1.121|
|8||Joe Garner||Centre Forward||Preston North End||England||26||2498||2||18||15||0.540||0.072||0.612|
|9||Cody McDonald||Centre Forward||Gillingham FC||England||28||3222||4||17||17||0.475||0.112||0.587|
|10||Clayton Donaldson||Centre Forward||Brentford FC||England||30||4084||5||17||17||0.375||0.110||0.485|
|11||Kevin Lisbie||Centre Forward||Leyton Orient||Jamaica||35||2873||11||16||16||0.501||0.345||0.846|
|12||Leon Clarke||Centre Forward||Coventry City/Wolves||England||29||2534||7||16||15||0.533||0.249||0.781|
|13||Nahki Wells||Centre Forward||Bradford City||Bermuda||24||1482||2||14||13||0.789||0.121||0.911|
|14||Patrick Bamford||Centre Forward||Milton Keynes Dons||England||20||2008||2||14||14||0.627||0.090||0.717|
|15||Chuks Aneke||Centre Forward||Crewe Alexandra||England||20||3060||6||14||12||0.353||0.176||0.529|
|16||Craig Westcarr||Centre Forward||Walsall FC||England||29||3486||7||14||12||0.310||0.181||0.491|
|17||Marcello Trotta||Centre Forward||Brentford FC||Italy||21||2243||2||13||12||0.481||0.080||0.562|
|18||Nicky Ajose||Centre Forward||Peterborough United/Swindon||England||22||2758||3||13||13||0.424||0.098||0.522|
|19||Leigh Griffiths||Centre Forward||Wolverhampton Wanderers||Scottland||23||1594||3||12||9||0.508||0.169||0.678|
|20||Freddie Sears||Centre Forward||Colchester United||England||24||2076||1||12||11||0.477||0.043||0.520|
|21||James Hanson||Centre Forward||Bradford City||England||26||3071||5||12||12||0.352||0.147||0.498|
|22||Tom Pope||Centre Forward||Port Vale FC||England||28||3500||5||12||12||0.309||0.129||0.437|
|23||Adebayo Akinfenwa||Centre Forward||Gillingham FC||England||32||1565||6||10||8||0.460||0.345||0.805|
|24||Francois Zoko||Centre Forward||Notts County/Stevenage||Cote d’Ivoire||30||2936||3||10||9||0.276||0.092||0.368|
|25||Danny Kedwell||Centre Forward||Gillingham FC||England||30||2041||1||10||5||0.220||0.044||0.265|
Okay – so what have we got;
Sam Baldock, the “bright young thing” (gasp, he’s 25 – I expected him to be 23, never mind) who was formerly of the West Ham academy scored 24 goals last season, and topped both the overall goals and non-penalty goals chart. Played a lot of games as well, which meant his p90 stats suffered slightly, but that shouldn’t avoid the fact that he’s a real talent and a goal scorer. With Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’s hulking figure behind him, creating, firing from range and contributing to the Bristol City goals, it was disappointing that they didn’t finish higher than they did. Indeed, they were struggling with relegation at one point, so mid-table must have been a good season for the Ashton Gate side. 5 assists isn’t bad, but (I say with bated breath, very hesitantly given my lack of wider knowledge) League 1 is where long balls and scrappy goals thrive. So assists might not be as poignant without other data such as key passes, pass length or touches to back up and paint a broader picture. This data has painted with quite a thick brush – incidentally, this seasons data will be similar.
Britt Assombalonga moved only a few days ago (played for Wealdstone on loan from Watford – Magic! The Raider must have love him and his 6 goals) to Notts Forest for another record fee – after Peterborough shelled out above £1.1m for him. Had a good season in League 1; 18 NPG’s and 4 assists – apparently is a bit of a beast! Still just 21 years old so has some years ahead of him and will be one to watch.
Callum WIlson finished third in the Top Scorer list, and looking at his minutes (less than BA and SB) this is where you’d like wider data to explain – is he this good? What else does he bring? Anyway, at face value – a good young striker (just 22) who chipped in with 21 NPG’s and 8 assists – top return.
Notable others, I guess are the excellent Kevin Lisbie, who chipped in for Leyton Orient with an impressinve 16G and 11A – though he played less games, naturally given his age. The monster, the best that is Adebayo Akinfenwa, now 32, came in with a return of 10G and 6A – his strength surely playing a part when bringing team-mates into the game. Nakhi Wells tore the league apart in the first half of the season – with Huddersfield coming knocking for his services; a scoring contribution of 0.911 per 90 showing his worth to Bradford.
Nouha Dicko, who was at Wigan for the first half of the season, was loaned to both Wolves and Rotherham, playing 5 games for each and scoring 6 in 10, before moving outright to Wolves in January, netting 13 times before the end of the season. finishing with a scoring contribution (18NPG, 5A) of 1.121, which meant he had a goal or assist in every 90 minutes. Very impressive, and looking forward to seeing him in the Championship.
Anyway, that’s the top 25 strikers (plus Dicko and Assombalonga) – I’ll upload the full tables as a dump for the top 50 players in terms of Scoring Contribution later on this week for both League 1 and the Championship.
As ever, feedback is always welcome, as are questions, debates etc. @Scribblr_42 on Twitter.