Author Topic: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers  (Read 12441 times)

Offline The Bill Hicks Appreciation Society

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The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« on: July 22, 2009, 02:06:25 pm »
If Paul Tomkins new book Red Race is anything to go by then that's what I'll be calling him from now on. Just like our manager Tomkins has an exemplary work ethic, this being his 8th published book in just five years.

The first thing that grabs you about Red Race: A New Bastion to give it it's full title, which I began reading at 9 O'clock yesterday morning and finished at around 9 O’clock last night, besides the fact it's the first book I've been able to read from start to finish in less than 12 hours since George Orwell's Animal Farm 13 years previous, is how utterly up-to-date it is, including such recent signings as Glen Johnson, the arrival of the two King’s; Aaron and Kenny as well as a young kid who whilst having to live up to being labeled an ‘extra-ordinary talent’ also comes with the impossibly high expectations of being named Jesus.

Red Race like the game of football it so meticulously analyses (another Benitez trait) comes in two halves. The first as you might expect reviews the season just gone; highlighting important mile stones, marking out specific players for praise and drawing comparisons with other clubs and previous eras, as well as looking to the future and the improvements made recently at the club, but as always just like Mr Benitez and the dirty mac’d one before him (that’s Columbo not the Cardiff City manager) Tomkins sticks loyally to the facts.

The second half of the book hypothesises what it is a football club needs to have in place before being able to make significant improvements such as winning the league or loosening the stranglehold of the top four; breaking these achievements into their component parts Tomkins researches the money (transfer values, wages), age and experience aspects of a number of clubs, most tellingly those that have managed to win the league in the last 20 years with very interesting, although not entirely surprising conclusions.

What separates Tomkins from the numerous other writers out there is his ability to remain pragmatic, detached and at times almost emotionless in regards to the clubs fortunes, perhaps this is what angers some fans, although this is in stark contrast to the accusations of Liverpool bias and excuse making levelled at the writer himself. If anything Tomkins is systematically unbiased, constantly checking himself to make sure he’s being fair to all concerned, such as when calculating the rotations made by the top four teams over 2008/09 he emphasises Manchester United’s final match where Ferguson’s fielding of a team of youngsters in the final game of their season, once the league had been wrapped up, skewed the averages for their season, although the point being made in this case was still valid.

It’s the final section of Red Race that really captured my imagination and where my main motivation behind the title of this thread came from. As like the underrated Spaniard (in these Isles at least) he is at the forefront of his field, not content with simply analysing the statistics we’re normally exposed to by the mainstream media, which are often misleading anyway, Tomkins has scrutinised telling contributions, which often go unnoticed by players but which greatly impact results. Tomkins has devised a system to calculate the normally unquantifiable contributions made by players through out a match.

Just as in Dynasty with his patented Relative Transfer System, Red Race throws up some very interesting revelation for instance through this points system which as Paul himself recognises isn’t 100% fool proof, we find that Javier Mascherano has 11 ‘assists’ or rather eleven meaningful contributions in the build up to goals, making him joint 5th alongside our ‘razor elbowed’ Israeli. Who would have believed that our out and out defensive midfielder could have that much of a say towards our attacking play? Of course these could simply be an interception followed by a short pass which in three moves leads to a goal but this kind of input often goes unnoticed.

Coming out on top (not including goals scored) is one Xabi Alonso, perhaps a perfunctory look at these result tables could convince Real Madrid and/or Barcelona (although after reading this I’d rather they stayed) to pay the asking price of £35mil whilst making Liverpool revise their own appraisal to something closer to the value of Kaka as realistically with 38 assists between them over the season using this system, which I believe is a fairer indication of the value that the player has to the team.

All in all the first half of the book has the unfortunate side-effect of a stiff neck as you’ll catch yourself nodding in agreement at almost every point Tomkins makes, whilst the second half of the book (separated into 3 parts) could result in you doing a sterling impression of a venus fly trap as you find yourself open-mouthed at some of the conclusions drawn.

Red Race: A New Bastion is available from http://www.paultomkins.com

pre-orders apparently receive a swanky limited edition box.
Please take a look at my latest blog for theredmentv "Dispelling the Rodgers/Martinez myth" http://www.theredmentv.com/blog/p/263 All other blogs can be read at www.theredmentv.com/blog Let me know your thoughts

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2009, 02:09:07 pm »
:wellin

Offline stoa

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2009, 02:46:40 pm »
The only thing about Paul Tomkins' writing I would criticise is that his articles and books (at least the early one's I've read like "Golden Past, Red Future" and "Red Revival") seem to lack structure at times which makes them quite hard to read.

Offline JackWard33

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2009, 03:06:14 pm »
I'll be buying it

I like his writing but my one criticism of his writing is that he sometimes seems to forget that this is a results business
For example the reason Ferguson 'gets away' with rotating more than rafa is that he's won the PL year after year

I love statistical analysis of football but it shouldn't ignore the outcome and I hope this book has some criticism in it as well as justification

Offline The Nihilists

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2009, 03:18:33 pm »
I'll be buying it

I like his writing but my one criticism of his writing is that he sometimes seems to forget that this is a results business
For example the reason Ferguson 'gets away' with rotating more than rafa is that he's won the PL year after year

I love statistical analysis of football but it shouldn't ignore the outcome and I hope this book has some criticism in it as well as justification


Not sure you're giving credit on his views on rotation:

http://tomkins-blogs.typepad.com/paul_tomkins_blog/2009/03/the-worst-lfcrelated-newspaper-article-ever.html

Offline The Bill Hicks Appreciation Society

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2009, 03:27:19 pm »
I'll be buying it

I like his writing but my one criticism of his writing is that he sometimes seems to forget that this is a results business
For example the reason Ferguson 'gets away' with rotating more than rafa is that he's won the PL year after year

Yeah but the myth is that Rafa is the only one that rotates which isn't the case, and this debunks that myth. The book is pragmatic in  that it looks at what it takes to win the league, how hard it is to win the league. It's not critical of Benitez and nor should it be, he gets enough grief as it is, but neither is it simple justification of Rafa's methods. What it does do is cut through the lazy mainstream media proliferated theories on how Rafa should have won the league by now with 'all the money he has had' and makes you appreciate how far we've come and how miraculous Rafa's achievements have been thus far. It also postulates that it would take a miracle to win the league but that we likely have the only man at the helm of the club capable of performing such a miracle.

There's a nice little section on how Roy Hodgson should have won manager of the year ahead of Moyes if we're going to be fair in calculating worth via relative achievements.
Please take a look at my latest blog for theredmentv "Dispelling the Rodgers/Martinez myth" http://www.theredmentv.com/blog/p/263 All other blogs can be read at www.theredmentv.com/blog Let me know your thoughts

Offline Dr Cornwallis

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 03:35:31 pm »
I don't get why people buy these books. 

Offline The Bill Hicks Appreciation Society

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2009, 03:39:42 pm »
I don't get why people buy these books. 

Now I can't speak for everyone else but personally I read them, I once tried using one to fry an egg but the egg slipped off and the book went on fire. So nowadays I just stick to using themas reading material.
Please take a look at my latest blog for theredmentv "Dispelling the Rodgers/Martinez myth" http://www.theredmentv.com/blog/p/263 All other blogs can be read at www.theredmentv.com/blog Let me know your thoughts

Offline vicgill

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2009, 03:45:16 pm »
I don't get why people buy these books. 

Because they are very good.


Didn't realise that it was out already, I will be ordering a copy
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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2009, 04:13:15 pm »
Now I can't speak for everyone else but personally I read them, I once tried using one to fry an egg but the egg slipped off and the book went on fire. So nowadays I just stick to using themas reading material.

Can't even cook an egg with it, what a shit book.

Offline peelyon

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2009, 05:08:52 pm »
Im yet to read any, any recommendations where to start or their favourite?

Offline The Nihilists

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2009, 07:36:09 pm »
Im yet to read any, any recommendations where to start or their favourite?


Dynasty, I think?

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2009, 07:53:02 pm »
Have just pre-ordered it online. Quite looking forward to it to be honest.
'Going back to the topic, I wouldn't worry about Rafa. He's a big stubborn bingo apricot shitstain twat arse rimming dongsucker'  -  Cassiel 5/02/09

Offline liverpoolfan1970

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2009, 10:48:55 pm »
I don't get why people buy these books.

Probably because they find value in them.  Otherwise they would not buy them. 
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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2009, 10:50:58 pm »
Im yet to read any, any recommendations where to start or their favourite?
I've only read two, but the one I truly enjoyed was Dynasty.  I started that book in the morning and was done by the evening.  I simply could not put it down.  The good thing is that my wife was down with strep throat at the time, so I had nothing else to do but read.  :)
YNWA

Offline shanklyboy

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2009, 01:24:05 am »
Now I can't speak for everyone else but personally I read them, I once tried using one to fry an egg but the egg slipped off and the book went on fire. So nowadays I just stick to using themas reading material.

I knew I was going wrong somewhere!



Great post mate.
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

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Offline Garstonite

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2009, 01:26:34 am »
Im yet to read any, any recommendations where to start or their favourite?

Golden Past, Red Future was his first. Might well be dated now, but could also serve as a nice reminder to the fans' first impressions of Rafa and see how things have changed/developed.

Offline dannymc

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2009, 02:47:35 am »
Didn't he used to post on here ?
If he scores more goals than Torres this season ill change me name to Carol.

Offline The Nihilists

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2009, 08:07:39 am »
The good thing is that my wife was down with strep throat at the time, so I had nothing else to do but read.  :)


Lovely that you took good care of her ;)

Offline The Nihilists

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2009, 08:28:03 am »
See that Royhendo posted the introduction in another thread, might be worth including here too:

http://tomkins-blogs.typepad.com/paul_tomkins_blog/2009/07/introduction-to-red-race-a-new-bastion.html

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2009, 09:07:31 am »
Didn't he used to post on here ?

Yes, he was a pretty active member. Stopped about two years or so ago.

Offline proud_red_norwegian

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2009, 09:18:26 am »
I don't get why people buy these books. 

I don't get why people read at all.
And could he play!

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2009, 09:23:47 am »
Just as in Dynasty with his patented Relative Transfer System, Red Race throws up some very interesting revelation for instance through this points system which as Paul himself recognises isn’t 100% fool proof, we find that Javier Mascherano has 11 ‘assists’ or rather eleven meaningful contributions in the build up to goals, making him joint 5th alongside our ‘razor elbowed’ Israeli. Who would have believed that our out and out defensive midfielder could have that much of a say towards our attacking play? Of course these could simply be an interception followed by a short pass which in three moves leads to a goal but this kind of input often goes unnoticed.
I hope Paul hasn't been robbing my stuff...

I can smell royalties.



http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=233116.msg5082676#msg5082676

I'll be buying this book as well but am gonna wait until I've got a holiday planned.

Offline The Nihilists

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2009, 09:30:58 am »
I hope Paul hasn't been robbing my stuff...

I can smell royalties.




Well, you have a different figure for Mascherano than that quoted by Bill Hicks from the book. Maybe the royalties won't be heading your way?

royhendo

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2009, 09:45:28 am »
I hope Paul hasn't been robbing my stuff...

I can smell royalties...

I'll be buying this book as well but am gonna wait until I've got a holiday planned.

Can't we all just work together? ;D

Seriously though Greg, I think we should be working on a 'wikinomics' driven Internet database. If we defined the schema right and got enough grunts involved to drive it... [thinks 'stop there Roy before their eyes glaze over'] ...then all we'd need to do is think of interesting questions to analyse.

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2009, 10:11:45 am »
I want to enjoy Tomkins' writing but I just can't get past the rose-tinted, justification-for-everything, happy-pills mentality that his stuff is laced with. A bit here and there is ok, but when it's everywhere it's cloying and makes me nauseous. Bit too much of the statto mentality as well.

Still I can appreciate why people like his intelligent work, I'm just not one of them.
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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2009, 10:17:34 am »
Can't even cook an egg with it, what a shit book.

Shit book? can you imagine the smell?

A book made of shit? that'd be a strange poo-blication.
Why do people quote other people for the sigs?  What' the point?

Offline Greg

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2009, 11:20:18 am »



Well, you have a different figure for Mascherano than that quoted by Bill Hicks from the book. Maybe the royalties won't be heading your way?


That is true, but I forgot to update it over the last few games. I am gonna do a new post in the next week or so with all the 2008/09 PL stats in it - watch this space. Has a bit more detail in than my other stuff.

Can't we all just work together? ;D

Seriously though Greg, I think we should be working on a 'wikinomics' driven Internet database. If we defined the schema right and got enough grunts involved to drive it... [thinks 'stop there Roy before their eyes glaze over'] ...then all we'd need to do is think of interesting questions to analyse.

I agree la. But hopefully won't need too many grunts (what are they anyway? Gruesome cuunts?) contributing with these stats, because there's always someone else doing it elsewhere for us. I think you remember what I mean.

I want to enjoy Tomkins' writing but I just can't get past the rose-tinted, justification-for-everything, happy-pills mentality that his stuff is laced with. A bit here and there is ok, but when it's everywhere it's cloying and makes me nauseous. Bit too much of the statto mentality as well.

Still I can appreciate why people like his intelligent work, I'm just not one of them.
I can see how he rubs people up the wrong way. I sometimes wish he'd somehow leave it open whether or not Rafa is open to criticism or not. He doesn't have to directly criticise him (not that he would cos Rafa has read some of his stuff before) but he could create a 'grey area' sometimes. For instance, if he was writing about yesterday's game, he might possibly come up with some positive justification for Rafa leaving El Zhar on the field for an extra 5 minutes - when he was clearly injured - in a meaningless friendly where the result doesn't mean anything. To me, nobody is perfect and all humans can make errors of judgement - including Rafa. Wish Paul could incorporate that into his writing.

Offline The Nihilists

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2009, 11:40:17 am »
I can see how he rubs people up the wrong way. I sometimes wish he'd somehow leave it open whether or not Rafa is open to criticism or not. He doesn't have to directly criticise him (not that he would cos Rafa has read some of his stuff before) but he could create a 'grey area' sometimes. For instance, if he was writing about yesterday's game, he might possibly come up with some positive justification for Rafa leaving El Zhar on the field for an extra 5 minutes - when he was clearly injured - in a meaningless friendly where the result doesn't mean anything. To me, nobody is perfect and all humans can make errors of judgement - including Rafa. Wish Paul could incorporate that into his writing.



I've seen these grey areas in his blog and books. But official site obviously limits what he can say.

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2009, 12:36:22 pm »
His writing makes my eyes bleed RED.

Offline The Nihilists

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #30 on: July 23, 2009, 03:02:25 pm »
His writing makes my eyes bleed RED.


Ouch....

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #31 on: July 23, 2009, 03:08:00 pm »
His writing makes my eyes bleed RED.

What other colour would they bleed?

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #32 on: July 23, 2009, 03:27:07 pm »
What other colour would they bleed?

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #33 on: July 23, 2009, 07:05:29 pm »
top bloke tomkins, not many people around in his field that i've got some big respect for.

all the best mate and keep em coming!
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Offline The Nihilists

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #34 on: July 24, 2009, 10:57:33 am »

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #35 on: July 24, 2009, 11:40:38 am »
Just seen this sample chapter on LFC History:

http://www.lfchistory.net/redcorner_articles_view.asp?article_id=2836

Thanks for that it was a good read, I would say it was one of Tomkins more balanced pieces. Hopefully as Liverpool improve Tomkins will have to spend less time debunking the Myths and defending Rafa and more time actually analysing the football.
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Offline The Nihilists

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #36 on: July 24, 2009, 12:02:34 pm »
Thanks for that it was a good read, I would say it was one of Tomkins more balanced pieces. Hopefully as Liverpool improve Tomkins will have to spend less time debunking the Myths and defending Rafa and more time actually analysing the football.


Generally more representative of his books and blogs, the stuff on the official site is obviously limited.

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #37 on: July 24, 2009, 12:36:33 pm »
Hopefully as Liverpool improve Tomkins will have to spend less time debunking the Myths and defending Rafa and more time actually analysing the football.

He's not exactly defending Rafa, he's just not attacking him for playing defensive, cautious football because as has been proved, he doesn't. More goals than any of the top 4 show that, more times I believe were 4 goals or more have been scored by any of the top 4. He has had to debunk the myths in order to give Rafa his fair hearing, there's few out there that do, they just see the money spent column, don't take into account the vast amount of time the historical title rivals (Man Utd & Arsenal) had to develop, including the greater amount of talent left behind by their predecessors. These aren't excuses, these are facts that had to be addressed or Rafa may well have been out of the door with the snowballing effect a couple of bad results have. It's plain to see Rafa has been up against it in terms of money, board room unrest, the talent of the squad, on top of it all he's had a xenophobic (unless it's Wenger) media baying for his blood with every bad result. The fact he's reached his century of games won in less time than some of our greatest managers (the actual figures escape me) and Ferguson as well as having to put up with a climate far less hospitable to new challengers than it was in the 90s proves Tomkins 'opinions' based on FACTS have been well and truly validated. I'm not saying that without Tomkins writing that Benitez wouldn't be here but without the few journalists and writers out there that don't simply regurgitate the sky rhetoric then perhaps the mob might have been easier to manipulate and there'd have been a few more people calling for his head. I mean even now there are cockheads that believe we can do better than Benitez, in terms of character and talent there is no-one better than our current encumbent at the moment.

Getting back to the book for a moment, Tomkins shows that the only teams that have won the league first time have been substantially bankrolled to at least put them on a par in terms of spending power, the only team to buck that trend was Arsenal with Wenger introducing brand new continental methods of fitness and training as well as having a experienced title winning back line to start with.

So in fairness Rafa's achievements way surpass what our expectations should be.
Please take a look at my latest blog for theredmentv "Dispelling the Rodgers/Martinez myth" http://www.theredmentv.com/blog/p/263 All other blogs can be read at www.theredmentv.com/blog Let me know your thoughts

Offline The Nihilists

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #38 on: July 25, 2009, 11:55:55 am »
My book arrived today, anyone else got theirs yet?

royhendo

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Re: The Rafael Benitez of Football Writers
« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2009, 12:10:51 pm »
^

Me.

Harry Gallenti food for thought, and I do enjoy me some food for thought! Looking forward to getting some time to read it.

:)