Nicky Clark's career Goals Above Average rates
written by @TheGersReport
Goals Above Average (GAA) takes a forward's non-penalty goals per 90 & looks at it in relation to the average output of forwards in that given league over the past four years. For example, the average goals per 90 for forwards in the Scottish Championship has been 0.353 goals per 90, while in League One it has been 0.356. Those rates are basically identical. But if you look south to England & at the rates at the same levels the average rates drop to 0.303 & 0.288.
I used a similar stat to justify Kyle Lafferty's signing with Hearts this past summer by looking at what his goal output meant at the various levels he had played at.
To determine a player's GAA, you simply take the average scoring rate in that league & subtract it from their goals per 90. For example, Lafferty's Goals Above Average rate this season was a +0.021 [0.363 (G/90) - 0.342 (avg. rate for Premiership forwards over past 4 years)]. His output was very much aligned with the scoring of the average Scottish Premiership forward.
How about Nicky Clark? In his first couple of seasons in League One (actually known as Division Two at the time) he was a below average forward. He was also a teenager playing first team football for the first time.
His first promotion into the second tier of Scottish football in 2011/12 was a flop, scoring zero goals in 2011/12. He wasn't ready for this level of football...yet.
The next season, back in League One, was that peak season in which he scored 32 goals for Queen of the South. His subsequent season in League One, this time with Rangers, saw him continue to score at an elite rate for that level. He was too good for League One.
Clark's next two season in the Championship with Rangers, saw his form dip to the level of an average forward at that level with Goals Above Average rates of +0.008 & -0.094. Not bad, just kind of....meh.
His move to Dunfermline saw him finally develop into a very good goal scorer for this level (top 20%).
Clark turns 27 this summer & still has a couple of years left in his prime as a very good Scottish Championship forward.