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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.