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Pay As You Play: The True Price of Success in the Premier League Era Paperback – 9 Nov 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: GPRF Publishing (9 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955925339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955925337
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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,

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"

About the Author

Paul Tomkins is the author of several highly-acclaimed football books, and has contributed columns to some of the sport's most popular websites. "Dynasty: 50 Years of Shankly's Liverpool" spent a full year in the Amazon/FourFourTwo Football Top 10. Graeme Riley is the author of the annual statistical reference book, Football In Europe. This is Gary Fulcher's first book.

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pebble888 on 8 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
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 on 1 Nov. 2010
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 By Sam121_UK on 8 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
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 By Oliver L on 25 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
Although I am only mid-way through reading this book, I feel sufficiently impressed to give it a 5-star review already.

In the heavily congested world of football books, this one stands out for being completely unique in its subject area: there are a million player and club biographies, but as far as I'm aware, this is the only book that investigates the relationship between financial outlay and on-the-pitch success in such extraordinary detail.

After an interesting analysis of the book's findings, there are extensive sections devoted to every club which has featured in the Premier League since its inception in 1992, breakdowns of every individual season, and five of the most successful managers (in terms of number of points scored): Mourinho, Ferguson, Wenger, Benitez, and Ranieri. Statistics for all other Premier League managers are included, too. Then there are revealing lists, rankings and trends to mull over; fascinating for stats geeks like myself.

It must have taken a phenomenal amount of work to compile this book, and that is reflected in its quality. At no point does it feel too heavy, however, and the authors' enthusiasm for the project is clearly visible. One other thing about the book which I like is the way it is connected to the online community of amateur football experts: every club has a designated "expert", with their Twitter username and website given credit. It feels all the better for being a joint effort.
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