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The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines

Narrated by: Colin Mace
Length: 14 hrs and 24 mins
Categories: Sport, Football
4.5 out of 5 stars (627 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Drop the accents

The generic accents are quite irritating to people who know what these people actually sound like. Whilst I'm not sure the actor has heard all of them. For example Leon Brittan is from East London not Wales!!

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 people found this 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!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good book, spoiled by a weird reading

It took me a long time to get through The Mixer. I'm a big fan of Michael Cox's writing, and thinking, on football, but Colin Mace's decision to do accents when quoting footballers and managers consistently took me out of the narrative and had me blinking in amazement at the weird, stereotypical accents. He does a handful of the voices rather well, to be fair, but more often than not he simply puts on a generic Dutch or French or Spanish or Italian voice. Even if the voices were well-observed impressions, I suspect I'd still have found them distracting, but as they're often entirely unlike the actual people's voices, it was very hard to listen to.

If that's not an issue for you, this is otherwise a typically well-researched and insightful long-form look at the evolution of tactics in the Premier League era.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Just the highlights

The narrator's impressions were a bit...under researched/bordering on stereotypes but that can be glossed over...it's just a history of the Premier League. Nothing any more revealing than that. I'm not sure who'd be interested in listening to this. I'm being a tad harsh but I just lost interest by the end!

2 people found this helpful

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Thorough and well laid out

Thorough and well laid out.
The read flew by with interest throughout, along with surprises at each juncture

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Ironically a mixed bag

Some excellent chapters with real insight followed by some bizarre sweeping generalisations, assumptions and statements of “fact” that don’t hold true.

The author clearly does not rate English football as a whole and that is the under current through the whole book. No praise is given to the English leagues for adapting to change.

Also the narrators performance is average at best. His “accents” are in some cases ok, in others his attempts are almost parody’s or bad impressions of who he wants to replicate.

In all the book is ok, but feels (mainly due to the performance of the narrator) like a chat in a pub with wanna be coaches.

A shame as there is a lot to like.

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Highly Recommend

Excellent read, lots of detail and hugely enjoyable. I see what others are complaining about with the accents but I didn't mind them too much.

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Brilliant book - annoyingly read.

Such a brilliant book, really interesting, but the narration kills it. The narrator does an impression with every quote, so you have his attempt at French, Dutch, northern English, you name it, he thinks he can do it - and he can’t. We’re talking world famous football folk, reduced to awful takes. And it’s infuriating. Wenger - a man who can speak six languages - reduced to “err, ow you say” style impressions from the narrator. There’s just no need. Just read the book, man, it’s brilliant, save your crappy Allo Allo style impressions for someone who cares.

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The Mixer - 5 stars. Can’t recommend enough~!

Excellent detail and great stories in this book. My favourite book covering football that I have read.

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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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-03-19

The Mixer

Brilliant book, really learned a lot about the prem and the reader’s performance was really good apart from a few pronunciations of names. Highly recommend!