New Newsletter Format: The Tomkins (Mostly) Daily
Altering the newsletter to try and make better use of what it can offer.
Okay, so I want to change the way I use this newsletter, with a few situations different to a year ago when I launched it.
I'm renaming this The Tomkins (Mostly) Daily, with the content published here (via emails to anyone who subscribes to this Substack and on the Substack website) also sent automatically onto Twitter, so that I can also maintain some kind of albeit one-way connection with my followers on there without having to log on and get into the muck (which is not good for my mental health, with the people I really like outweighed by the frothing masses; plus, I tend to froth a bit on there too!).
The idea will be a small, daily newsletter, that highlights a thought or two, and maybe includes a comment from a TTT subscriber that I like, and something from an article someone has published on the site. Obviously my physical health fluctuates, so I don't want to promise reliable daily missives, but the intention is to do my best (with no set time; it could be early or late).
As a result, I'll get rid of Free Friday, as people don't seem to engage with it as much as I’d like, for the work that goes into collating it by the guys. I will replace that with an in-site way of highlighting the best posts on TTT, and people can get their posts highlighted from time to time in this newsletter.
So, for example of what I might do in the new newsletter format: today I liked an observation from Sujeet about Donyell Malen, a player I was wowed by last season and thought the Reds should be interested, until I saw that his agent was Mino Raiola. (Raiola is a red flag, just by himself.)
Sujeet shared a couple of paragraphs from an article about Malen's struggles since moving to Germany in the summer, and the recent calling to question, at Dortmund, of his attitude. It was a simple post, but an important point that Sujeet made:
"The last bit about mindset would have been a definite flag, another dodged bullet by LFC transfer committee!
So important to not just get the right players but avoid the wrong ones."
Indeed, if you're having to convince a new signing that he is required to press, and he doesn't see why he has to, then that's something that should almost have been highlighted well before the contract was signed.
It shows that things like attitude and poor work-rate make such players worth avoiding. He may yet come good, but it's alarming to hear that a striker in a hard-pressing team doesn't see the need to do that.
Finally, a graphic from Mizgan Masani's most recent piece, that stands out as pretty breathtaking:
While in the replies, Daniel (Rhodes) noted that the Reds' underlying defensive numbers are actually in keeping with the title season of 2019/20, which was a big surprise to me, as this season has felt far more open.
It shows that the data can help fix faulty perceptions; sometimes the underlying numbers can correct emotional perceptions when watching games, and I feel that's what's happened to me here. Obviously we have to analyse the data, not just blindly accept it, and the Reds’ fixture list has been a bit easier than the overall balance of a full season (given just three Big Six head-to-heads, two at home, and no derbies yet). Even so, I feel the xG trends are impressive, especially as Virgil van Dijk is clearly only 80% at best (but getting better), and the midfield has been a mess due to injuries.
It's a high-risk/high-reward strategy, but sometimes the very same approaches can be less fruitful, as well all know. The randomness of finishing, luck, goalkeeping, etc, alters so much. But as seen throughout Mizgan's piece, the underlying numbers are utterly bonkers.
Anyway, feel free to email me with any feedback on the new newsletter format, albeit as ever (given that I don’t have the energy), don't expect a reply! I’ll also set up somewhere on TTT for people to discuss the newsletter – as ever, I’ll keep this Substack comment-free, to make sure I only have one place to interact with readers (i.e TTT subscribers).