The Tomkins Times (TTT) was created in 2009 by Paul Tomkins, originally intended to be just his own paywalled blog on Liverpool FC. The site was designed as a way for Paul to support himself financially due to being unable to do any other form of work due to chronic illness (having been diagnosed with M.E. in the 1990s), and with the income from writing books sporadic and limited.
At the time, Paul had been the weekly columnist for the official Liverpool FC website for four years, having also written several books on the club; to date he has written over a dozen, and some of them have been read by actual human beings.
The aim of TTT was, and remains, to use facts and data, along with a knowledge of history and and awareness of context – plus a dose of passion (but not the point where it’s self-blinding) and humour, while acknowledging some obvious biases here and there – to provide high-quality insight wherever possible, and to accept a few mistakes will be made along the way, given that no one is perfect.
The site quickly developed into something much more wide-ranging than Paul’s own blog, and before long, Chris Rowland, Daniel Rhodes, Gary Fulcher and Andrew Beasley had become part of the freelance staff, and others were writing for the site on a freelance basis.
With all commenting taking place behind the paywall – and thereby free from trolls, spammers and time-wasters – a vibrant, intelligent and respectful community emerged, and from this, new writers joined the roster. Some left to work full-time within the game, at Premier League and European football clubs. Several have written their own books, or contributed to TTT publications.
As well as writing about Liverpool, Paul worked with Graeme Riley in 2010 to devise the Transfer Price Index, which calculated “football inflation” for the Premier League. It was first used in their book Pay As You Play, and has been used by Premier League football clubs, referenced in academic papers and studied in an EU look at the transfer market.