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Pay As You Play: The True Price of Success in the Premier League Era

Pay As You Play: The True Price of Success in the Premier League Era [Kindle Edition]

Paul Tomkins , Graeme Riley , Gary Fulcher
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"An ingenious and intelligent look beneath the surface to reveal what the headlines too often don't tell us. Fascinating." Jonathan Wilson, author of 'Inverting the Pyramid: A History of Football Tactics' "For years we've judged football and football people without the analytical tools to do it properly. Finally a book that attempts to do so intelligently. Hopefully a harbinger of more to come!" Gabriele Marcotti, author, journalist, broadcaster"

Product Description

As billionaire 'super-benefactors' fight for the right to own English football clubs, "Pay As You Play" takes a detailed look at the correlation between success and transfer spending. Tactics, motivation, fitness and luck play a part; but is an expensive squad increasingly essential for success? Which managers have excelled in the transfer market? And who blew their budgets on bad buys? Which clubs punched above their financial weight, and which ones punched well below theirs? What players proved to be great value for their price tag, and who ended up as a shocking waste of money? By converting all Premier League transfer fees since 1992 to current-day prices - using our specially devised Transfer Price Index (TPI) system to give precise 'football inflation' figures - teams could be accurately assessed against one another, whether from 1993 or 2010. How would the prices paid for Dean Saunders, Roy Keane or Frank Lampard compare with Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney or Robinho? All 43 clubs to have played in the Premier League up to May 2010 are analysed, with noted writers and journalists - including Jonathan Wilson, Gabriele Marcotti and Oliver Kay - also providing their views on the club they support or report on. All in all, it makes for an entertaining and revealing read on the world's most popular game, and its most appealing league.

"An ingenious and intelligent look beneath the surface to reveal what the headlines too often don't tell us. Fascinating." Jonathan Wilson, author of 'Inverting the Pyramid: A History of Football Tactics'

"For years we've judged football and football people without the analytical tools to do it properly. Finally a book that attempts to do so intelligently. Hopefully a harbinger of more to come!" Gabriele Marcotti, author, journalist, broadcaster"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2007 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Publisher: GPRF Publishing (29 Oct 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004A14TO8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #237,897 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Formerly a London-based designer, Paul has been writing full-time for over a decade. To date he has written eleven football books, some of which have topped the sports chart, as well as making the overall top 40. 'Dynasty' spent a full year in the FourFourTwo/ football top 10.

On top of this, Paul has written for a number of prominent football websites, including five years as a weekly columnist for the official Liverpool FC site, and also runs the highly-acclaimed subscription-based The Tomkins Times (, for which thousands of dedicated readers pay a monthly fee.

The Girl on the Pier is his first novel. More can be found at Paul's personal website,

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dissects the modern English game perfectly 8 Nov 2010
An outstanding piece of analysis which confirms what we've always suspected that, other things being equal, the more a team spends on players the greater it's chance of achieving success. The authors have used a methodology called Transfer Price Index (akin to the retail price index but using a "basket" of each player bought and sold each season since 1992) as the cornerstone of their analysis.

The book takes the last two decades of transfer data in the premiership and piece by piece, argument by argument, tries to answer two fundamental questions:
(a) has the way been structured in the last 20 years both in the English league and Europe caused too much disparity?; and
(b) is there now a lack of competitive balance in the Premier League and is the problem growing worse?

Along the way it shows the under and over achieving managers; the Newcastle effect (i bet you can guess what thats about) and makes other fascinating pitstops.

Whilst it will fascinate the inner Statos in all of us Paul Tomkins and his co-authors have done a remarkable job in explaining potentially difficult concepts in a straightforward and entertaining way. Anyone who has read previous Tomkins' books will recognise his witty, relaxed writing style which makes what could have been a very dry book un-put-downable.

It should be required reading for the powers that be at the FA. Perhaps it may help to introduce a system which returns some sense of equality and fair play amongst the 20 clubs competing in the premier league. Journalists and the lazy TV pundits could do as well to read through this outstanding, dare I say, seminal piece of work
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By fairdes
Format:Kindle Edition
As a rule, I'm not a huge fan of facts and figures. Anything with lots of numbers and statistics generally bore me to tears. However, this book manages to be that rare beast; one that provides hard facts and figures, but also manages to be both interesting and entertaining at the same time.

If you've ever tried to debate that the 'bigger' clubs are more predetermined to succeed because of the vast amount of money spent on their players, this book provides conclusive evidence to support your argument. It also shows which managers have underachieved and overachieved given the money at their disposal. But the most incredible part of this book is how they have managed to convert the money spent on players from the past into current monetary figures. Some people have far too much time on their hands!

If you have ever read the book Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski (also available from Amazon and highly recommended), you will love this. And that is the best compliment I can pay it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Football's New Age of Enlightenment 8 Nov 2010
With the release of Inverting the Pyramid, Soccernomics: Why England Lose and now Pay as You Play, football has started to find a new reasoned and inquisitive voice. One that has been missing for far too long in an age of rushed, ill-conceived journalism and football pundits that appear to have come fresh from a lobotomy to the studio.

To quote Immanuel Kant in relation to a book that is essentially about football seems a little much, but authors Paul Tomkins, Graham Riley and Gary Fulcher pursue an approach the German would have recognised immediately. One that is grounded in empiricism, scientific rigour and a questioning of orthodoxy. Kant described this as simply the freedom to use one's own intelligence, coined in a phrase he used, "Sapere aude" (Dare to know). Anyone who has had the pleasure of baring witness to the analysis and discussion that takes place on the BBC and Sky weakly, or in the papers daily, will know that this approach is one that has been almost completely abandoned in the discourse surrounding football currently.

Pay as You Play uses the sharp impartial tools of economics and a large body of detailed research to shine a light on the last twenty years of the Premier League. Charting the effects of an unprecedented rise in investment that have come to define the upper echelons of the modern game. Perhaps its greatest achievement though, is to do so in a way that has the reader turning the page in curiosity, caught up in a well written combination of inquisition and passion for the sport that has become truly the world's game. Football deserves an approach that rewards the passion and love millions of people hold in it, an approach that questions those so desperate to peddle received wisdom and "common sense", it deserves an enlightened discourse and Tomkins, Riley and Fulcher deliver that in spades.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 9 Dec 2010
By LFC123
Pay As You Play is simply the best football book that I have ever read. The detail with which Paul Tomkins,Graeme Riley and Gary Fulcher delve into is amazing. This is the kind of analysis that football fans need to be hearing about and reading, instead of listening to lazy cliched analysis from the various football pundits regularly seen on our TV screens. The book itself shows a clear correlation between spending and success since the inception of the Premier League, and how the gap between the bigger and smaller clubs has widened considerably in recent times. Various perceptions that people have about managers are dispelled in relation to their records/spend etc. Overall, a great read, and a book that should be on the shopping list of every football fan around the world this Christmas!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars a good book, but not on kindle
Whilst an enjoyable read, this is a book which relies heavily on tables and statistics, which it was difficult to view in kindle format. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rob
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book for any football fan
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is quite informative and easy enough to jump in and out of, and the facts and figures aren't too heavy that they'll give you a headache. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Barns
3.0 out of 5 stars Should be a free PDF
Good data but not a great book. You get the premise in he first few chapters.
Should be a free PDF AND NOT A BOOK.
Published 16 months ago by Daniel Kerkel
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor I'm afraid
My reasons for writing this review are slightly unusual. I've just finished "The Numbers Game" and have been pondering why Football Clubs in England seem so reluctant to fully... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Grumpy Old Analyst
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money
Far too simplistic and there are a fair few mistakes in the book. The only thing it's good for is transfer prices over the years but a lot of them were guesswork and you can get... Read more
Published on 26 Dec 2012 by AC
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious about Moden Day Premier League Football
Pay as you Play is a must for all premier league fans, if you thought you knew about premier league football then think again. Read more
Published on 30 July 2012 by f mohammed
1.0 out of 5 stars Nice concept, but not written for the general fan
This is probably one of the most disappointing books I've read. The concept of comparing transfer fees over time, as well, measuring changes in how the Premiership has developed is... Read more
Published on 25 Oct 2011 by Dave
2.0 out of 5 stars Stats, stats, stats........!
Looked forward to reading this book, but i'm afraid it is very much more of a reference book with lots of statistics - one that you might use to look up a quiz question. Read more
Published on 6 April 2011 by Saltydog
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB, JUST BRILLIANT
Pay As You Play is just a superb book and a brilliant read. Once you start, it's very hard to put the book down and it is so well researched that you feel like thanking the author... Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2011 by David H. Hargreaves
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality read
This book is a fantastically well-substantiated insight into the cost of success in the modern Premier League. Read more
Published on 7 Dec 2010 by camdnz
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