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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)

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What listeners say about The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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!!

6 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

3 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!

3 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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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Good football book!

If you like The Premier League. This is a must read. The narration is really good, where the narrater mimics the acutal dialect of ther person beeing quoted.

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Wonderful from min 0-90

A great history of tactical styles and how they have evolved through the years, but more than that the back story’s to players and managers alike and there influence on these tactical changes is fascinating, all very well narrated.

I’ll be starting it again straight away!

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Not bad at all

It’s interesting enough, a snapshot of tactical development from the premier league. Not the encyclopaedia of the inverted pyramid but perhaps better dip in for the topic .

But... I really struggle with the accents and impressions of every quoted voice. I don’t need a faux Italian accent for a quote from Zola !

Otherwise well read and good speaking voice but the jumps in accent weren’t really needed..

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Premier League Revisited

A really excellent deep dive into the history of the Premiership, it's managers, teams and tactics .

Clever, insightful, funny and entertaining.
Loved it.

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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!