There are some great Liverpool FC sites out there, and plenty of excellent writers, bloggers and Tweeters. So why subscribe to The Tomkins Times, in the face of such strong competition?
Well, here are some reasons:
First of all, it’s the only place to read my work on a regular basis (as well as further comments on the articles, as I join in the debate). That’s good if you like my work; if you don’t, well, then that’s not so good. Move along, no harm done.
The average mark given to the site by subscribers who opted to take part in the most recent feedback poll – rating it on quality/value for money – was 8.9 out of 10.
In total, 98.2% voted the site worthy of 7 out of 10 or higher.
We feel it possibly hosts the most intelligent Liverpool FC debate on the web. This is an unexpected consequence of being behind a paywall, where spammers, trolls and wind-up merchants are not stupid enough to waste their money. Also, we expect high standards of behaviour and demand inter-poster respect, and as such, some of the comments can be better than the original posts.
(It’s not a dry, po-faced environment; on the contrary. It’s just not overrun with illiterate teenagers with attention deficit disorders. Not everyone has the same opinion, but if you express an opinion, you are expected to back it up with solid thinking. Of course, you can just read others exchanging their opinions.
What started off, back in the autumn of 2009, as a small platform for my own writing – a blog where I expected a couple of hundred committed readers to pay to read my work, to provide me with a living – has evolved into something much, much bigger. Alas, it’s stuck with the name The Tomkins Times, but it’s about a hell of a lot more than just me.
I now employ a full-time editor/facilitator (author Chris Rowland), and pay several other contributors for their time and effort (a fact that forever seemed lost on those on Twitter who frequently told me it’s scandalous that I charge; I have my own living to make, and I pay others for their time, in terms of writing, editing and maintaining the site).
On top of this, TTT has a number of volunteer writers keen to share their work with like-minded Reds, and pleased to be able to discuss the issues without receiving abuse.
An unspecified percentage of pieces are made free to all to read: in order to gain a wider audience (if the issue dictates), or to attract new readers, who otherwise would have no clue as to the nature of the content. However, each week, subscriber-only pieces are guaranteed.
We try to ensure a wide variety of analytical pieces, ranging from tactical performance and statistical investigations, to a number of off-pitch issues.
As well as the work of Chris Rowland, other regular contributors include Dan Kennett, Andrew Beasley and Mihail Vladimirov. I don’t necessarily agree with everything guest authors have to say, but there’s a shared ethos, based around research and thought.
Subscribers get access to entire website article and comment archive, dating back to 2009. They can download PDFs of some of my books, plus will be entitled to special discounts on future books.