The Full TTT Suite of Substacks – Now Live! Explanations and Links
All aboard TTT Substack, as we get ever closer to putting www.tomkinstimes.com into cold storage
With the necessary impending demise of the technical nightmare of www.tomkinstimes.com, you may have seen that I have devised a suite of sites – a series of sub-Substacks, or spokes – to work in conjunction with (this) the Main TTT Hub. (That said, I’m constantly amazed by how many people who say “why haven’t you mentioned X before?!”, after 15 articles, 11 emails and 73 tweets about the subject.)
I am partnering with different TTT stalwarts who will help run/manage each spoke.
The TTT crew will then be able to make their own income (in some cases, payments go directly to them), as it had got the point on legacy TTT (www.tomkinstimes.com) where the site was too costly to run and also maintain the same level of paying work for the same people who've been with TTT for a dozen years.
Content will be spread across the different spokes, each of which will cost in the region of £3.50 (the cheapest allowed by Substack). The Main Hub will be slightly cheaper than the old version of TTT (and even more cheap, relatively speaking, given inflation).
The sub-Substacks will be like optional bolt-ons, albeit anyone could subscribe to just one of those and nothing else. No one needs to have a subscription to the TTT Main Hub to subscribe to the others, but the Main Hub is where I hope people will congregate.
The more of the TTT sub-Substacks people subscribe to, the more it helps us to keep producing content across the whole network – albeit if there is really little or no interest in a particular spoke, we'll put it into stasis.
Obviously we appreciate that it all costs money, and this is not a great time for the global economy – but if we’re to keep doing what we’re doing, it needs to be funded somehow (and I refuse to have anything to do with external advertising; plus I only answer to subscribers, and even then, paying for content doesn’t mean I alter my opinions to suit the customer base, as long-time readers will know full-well. None on gets to tell me what to say, but if you don’t like what I have to say, or what TTT as a whole says, it’s very easy to cancel).
The aim is to create some really bespoke content, but just like a bespoke tailor who creates silk suits laced with rubber dildos and dead armadillos, we may find that we've gone a little too bespoke...
In some cases it will be like we're creating digital books that you get to read, with no commenting. You read, you digest, you get on with your day.
Then, if compelled to discuss, head back here to the Main Hub.
The sub-Substacks are now ready to start taking free and paid subscribers, and paid content will start appearing at the end of this month or early next month (October 2022). We will continue to add to, and flesh out, these separate sites after launching, but they’re ready to start joining now.
Here’s what you can expect from each:
TTT Main Hub
All preexisting paying TTT subscribers have been granted access to the TTT Main Hub, corresponding to the time they had left on www.tomkinstimes.com (although we need to tweak the expiry date of some of annual subscribers).
The Main Hub will provide:
A full Debate section (accessible through the top menu) and debate/comments on all articles, with the Community tab (further down the homepage) another way to access the articles/threads with the most recent posts. (If you’re unsure, click the links and bookmark both of those URLS);
New-style in-depth match-previews that I've been devising with Andrew Beasley, Daniel Rhodes, Robert Radburn (data viz expert) and Gary Fulcher;
Detailed post-match reviews which will follow the style I introduced on legacy TTT a couple of years ago, where I almost always join various TTT scribes in sharing thoughts and analysis – often up to 3,000 words – usually within an hour or so of the final whistle (whenever possible);
And the occasional article from me, especially one that I feel needs the biggest audience, which may involve me losing my shit over something, which will be very un-Zen of me...
Note: I will also be writing for most of the sub-Substacks/spokes (which are listed and explained below), but possibly one article a month for each different one, depending on my workload, health and what there is to be said. As I plan to not write any more football books (it's too much work condensed into too short a period of time), this will be the spread of my football writing. Some of the sub-Substacks will be quiet zones: i.e. no commenting at all.
Anyone who has a subscription for the old TTT and hasn't been able to access behind the paywall on the TTT Main Hub can email us and we'll look into it. (Access to Substack is based on email addresses, and we used the ones people paid their PayPal or Stripe subscription with; if it is now a defunct email address, you won't have got your access.)
The aim for the Transfer Hub, launching October 2022, will be to provide paywalled articles, scouting reports, data visualisations, video analysis and financial analysis, as well as detailed pieces on our work relating to the Transfer Price Index, the Premier League inflation model I co-created with Graeme Riley in 2010 (for the book, “Pay As You Play”).
No transfer bullshit, or any claims for insider info. Just good analysis.
In addition, freelancers will be paid to write for the Transfer Hub, and the various scouting tools cost money. As such, of the spokes, this will be the costliest to run.
This Red Planet
This Red Planet is being led by Daniel Rhodes, and will focus on the issues I covered in my 2022 book of the same name ("This Red Planet", not "Daniel Rhodes"), and will flesh out some of the ideas raised, in terms of mental health and the way it disrupts our enjoyment of football.
It will also look at the global appeal of Liverpool FC, and hopefully will share stories from fans around the world.
In addition, it will include chapters from my book, and chapters that were left out of the book for reasons other than quality (such as keeping the book to its 100,000-word limit).
Note: Debate will occur on This Red Planet, but in specialised forms, limited to specific topics at specific times. How popular the site proves will determine whether additional moderation is required.
The Zen Den
“Cultivating a healthy approach to football and Liverpool FC, with positivity, gratitude and joy.”
Human psychology means we focus much more (up to five times as much) on the negative than the positive. Social media makes it all feel worse, as it ramps up fear, anger and outrage.
To help counter this, the Zen Den is a simple Tomkins Times newsletter in which I will provide brief, fairly regular lists of positives, given that the negatives and/or shortcomings will be discussed elsewhere on the internet (and elsewhere on the TTT network, such as on the Main Hub).
Some of the posts will just be about football, but others will be about ways we can help be more calm and rational, and less triggered and outraged. While it will be designed to help with our collective mental health, it won’t be as detailed on the topic as This Red Planet.
I'm no expert and certainly no guru (although I am bald, bearded and bespectacled, which gives me a slight guru-esque vibe), but I can share what wisdom I've accrued, as someone who has had to think deeply about football, but also spent decades wrestling some demons, chronic health issues, and also writing what I feel is reasonably deep fiction involving the human condition (or should that be the more serious-sounding Human Condition? Second novel due in 2023, btw, delayed by the chaos of 2022).
Disclaimer: This is not a case of burying heads in the sand at any negative aspects, but just a quiet zone - via newsletter emails - to ruminate and work on gratitude, which helps with overall mental health, as part of my own attempt to find football less crazy-making and stressful. Also, as such, there will be no commenting on this Substack.
Author of the first-hand Heysel account "From Where I Was Standing" and long-time editor of TTT, Chris Rowland will be leading Dynasty (named after my 2008 book on what was then the 50th year of Liverpool FC since the arrival of Bill Shankly).
The Dynasty spoke came about from my desire for somewhere for older fans to reminisce and to focus on the Reds' history, but where younger fans (if any are remotely interested!) could also learn about the halcyon days, as well as the years of decline and despair.
All being well, I intend to revisit and update my book “Dynasty” as part of the process.
Note: Debate will occur on Dynasty, but in specialised forms, limited to specific topics at specific times. How popular the site proves will determine whether additional moderation is required.
The Long Term Aim
The TTT Main Hub will hopefully continue indefinitely. Or for at least as long as we can keep doing this – I'm nearing 25 years of writing about Liverpool FC, and despite what some crazy psychic told me on Twitter, I'm not getting any younger. To be honest, 13 years of TTT already feels fairly mad.
The sub-Substacks, or spokes, will continue for as long as there's interest – and at this stage, it's a stab in the dark (or a Substab in the dark).
The sub-Substacks can be easily paused, where people are not billed until the hiatus ends, or permanently closed, where the remaining subscription is automatically refunded. Existing TTT benefactors are entitled to two months’ free access to The Zen Den, This Red Planet and Dynasty. (Contact me if you’re eligible.)
We'll see how they all go, as to whether or not we continue with the full suite, aka the TTT Network.
Note: while the old site will continue to exist for a while yet (until everyone is fully settled in over here), commenting on the old site will soon be switched off, so as to encourage people to now start using this, the Main Hub, for a conversation.
I’m bound to have forgotten various things, including to get dressed, but I’ll update this post if there’s anything I’ve overlooked.
(Also, apologies to any staunch royalists for sending this during the Queen’s funeral! TTT waits for no man, no woman and no Monarch 😉)
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