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Summary

An absolutely essential book for every modern football fan, about the development of Premier League tactics, published to coincide with 25 years of the competition.

Back in 1992, English football was stuck in the dark ages, emerging from a five-year ban from European competition. The game was physical, bruising and attritional, based on strength over speed, aggression over finesse. It was the era of the midfield general, reducers, big men up front and getting it in the mixer; 4-4-2 was the order of the day. Few teams experimented tactically.

And then, almost overnight, it all changed. The creation of the Premier League coincided with one of the most seismic rule changes in football history: the abolition of the back-pass. Suddenly defenders had no get-out-of-jail-free card, goalkeepers had to be able to field and play the ball and the pace of the game quickened immeasurably. Tactics evolved dramatically, helped by an increased foreign influence.

The Mixer is the first book to delve deep into the tactical story of the Premier League and take a long view of how the game has developed over the last quarter century. From Ferguson's directness to Keegan's relentlessly attacking Newcastle outfit to Mourinho's cagey, reactive Chelsea, all the way to Ranieri's counterattacking champions, The Mixer is one of the most entertaining, rich and knowledgeable football books ever written.

©2017 Michael Cox (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"Intelligently written. Impressively researched. Fascinatingly addictive. Michael Cox is like a cartographer, remapping the landscape of the Premier League so we see the contours of it afresh. That's some feat." (Duncan Hamilton, two-time winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year)
"Michael Cox provides brilliant tactical context to our favourite moments of Premier League nostalgia. The Mixer is as entertaining as a Wanchope dribble, with the authority of a Shearer finish and the panache of a Cantona celebration. And you may even learn to love Tony Pulis a little bit.' (Ben Lyttleton, author of Twelve Yards: The Art and Psychology of the Perfect Penalty)
"This is more than the impeccably researched and authoritative account of the English game's tactical evolution over the last quarter of a century you'd expect from a master of the genre. It is also packed with anecdotes and stories - some familiar, others far less so, a number of them hilarious - which give it flesh and ensure this book will be revisited many times, not just by those looking for imaginative and sometimes profound analysis, but by any football fan who enjoys a good tale well told." (Philippe Auclair, author of Cantona: The Rebel Who Would Be King)

What members say

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  • Oye
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 18-08-17

Excellent review of Premier League history

This was very informative and quite humorous. Really enjoyed listening to it. Fans of several teams, especially Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool will learn a lot about their teams' tactics over the last 25 years.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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One of the greatest football books ever written!

Perfectly connects tactics within the English game from 1992 to the present day. Very easy listening and thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, fantastically written & well read

Absolutely loved it, really well written and read fantastically, some cracking accents for each quote but most importantly for me, the reader actually pronounces all the names etc correctly (anyone else who listens to many football biographies will understand how much it can ruin a book when not done right!). Would highly recommend if like me you've been a long term Premier League fan and find yourself drawn in by the coaching, tactics and systems that have evolved our beautiful game.

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Would 'read' again. Would recommend @zonalmarking

I would 'read' again. I would recommend to anyone who is interested in, or obsessed with, football.

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A level of insight not provided by other football literature.

The Mixer provides a level of analysis that I have not found in other football literature. The level of depth, starting with the Premier League's inaugural season and finishing with the celebration of 25 years and an interesting set of afterthoughts, make it, in my opinion, the best analysis of football tactics available to purchase. Many concepts are covered from 'getting it in the mix', through to false nines, through inverted wingers. A MUST read / listen.

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  • D. Frost
  • Middlesbrough, England
  • 01-02-18

Cracking.

Great voice acting, information and delivery. will listen to it again. The accents could have been cringeworthy but they were very good.

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European football, at it's best!

If you could sum up The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines in three words, what would they be?

Well I never...

What other book might you compare The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines to, and why?

Das Reboot was similar in nature, but this was better.

What does Colin Mace bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

When reading a quote, the voices of the key people may have appeared in my mind if I knew before hand who the quote was from, Colin Mace does this for you and does it very well.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No moments particularly moved me, it's not that kind of book, but there were a few gasps of "ah, I never knew that"!

Any additional comments?

Some of the descriptions of tactics and formation play were complicated, required a rewind a couple of times to grasp the picture. In the book I guess you might have had pictures.

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very interesting

Who knew just how tactical and evolving football really is. Tactics and memories over the premier league click into place when listening. Really helps you understand just why some managers stick to their philosophical master plans even if at first they don't succeed.

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Excellent listen and great insight

This is a wonderful listen, and if you are a fan of tactics and the history of the Premier League then this is a must!

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Great narrator

Not perfect, maybe a bit anecdotal but all the better for it. Boosted my tactical knowledge in a very accessible book with a good level of detail, overview and entertainment. The narrator interpreting accents of players and managers could be a problem but it was actually superb and brought this great book to life.

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  • Teo
  • 11-12-17

One of the greatest football books

Even if you are not very into the Premier League, this book is absolutely mind-blowing