Monday, 10 November 2014

Visualising football analysts on Twitter

Building on my new-found love of network diagrams, I thought it would be fun to visualise a social graph of football analysts on Twitter.

Who should you follow? These guys. They're fascinating.

Click the image for a (much) bigger and zoomable version.

 Large version

Small print:

Lots of users following each other moves those users' nodes closer together.

Following, replying to, or mentioning a user on Twitter gets you linked.

Nodes are sized by number of inbound links (i.e. shouting a lot and following lots of people doesn't get you a big circle, other people mentioning and following you does).

Twitter rate limits mean that once you hit a certain number of followers, you don't get any bigger. That's why all of the core people have nodes that are the same size.

This graph undoubtedly flatters my own profile because it's built from people I follow and talk to.

The starting point for the graph was Twitter users in this list. Who's missing? Let me know!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Visualising 45,000 football transfers

Football's an international business and it's obvious to anybody watching a Premier League game, that players have been transferred in from all over the world.

But which countries' clubs are the most interconnected? Is the old cliché true, that British players don't travel as much as their foreign counterparts? And can we show the relationships between clubs in an interesting way?

I drew the following images with Gephi, using data on just under 45,000 player transfers, taken from SoccerWiki. Gephi clusters teams by the closeness of their transfer activity; a lot of players moving between teams means that they will group together, while teams that are far apart rarely acquire each other's players.

Some of these images benefit from clicking through to the larger version link and zooming in...

45,000 player transfers

Big version. Zoom in and scroll to see detail.

A rough guide to national connections
The UK and Italy stand apart from an interconnected Europe.

Big version

The British peninsular
Note the Scottish spur and island of Ireland.

A few technical notes:

Node sizing is by number of transfers in and out. A larger node indicates more transfer activity.

SoccerWiki isn't a perfect repository of transfer data, but it's more than good enough to draw this sort of network diagram and overall is a really fantastic resource. Although the way that SoccerWiki stores information makes it impossible to put an exact time-stamp on transfers, data covers a range from 2007 to 2014.

I've dropped any team with fewer than 20 player movements - in or out - in order to clean up the diagram. With everything switched on, it renders very slowly and you get a cloud of small, barely attached teams floating around the edges. They're distracting without adding any information to the visualisation.

Views were rendered using Gephi's 'Force Atlas 2' algorithm.