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Publisher's 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

Average Customer Ratings

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Fantastic Book

This was a wonderful book. A different look into the history of the Premier League. It was a pleasure to know how things panned out in the previous years from a tactical way. The rise and downfall of teams.

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A fine summary of EPL tactics & nostalgic moments.

A fine summary of EPL tactics & nostalgic moments. The narrator's Dutch impressions are a highlight.

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  • Teo
  • 11-12-2017

One of the greatest football books

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

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  • Oye
  • 18-08-2017

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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-07-2017

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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  • Gs Greaves
  • 16-08-2018

Flew by, excellently performed and very enjoyable

Really enjoyed listening to this, really great book, just the right balance of entertaining, historical, educational.

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  • Kieron Casey
  • 11-08-2018

highly enjoyable

great insights, anecdotes and explanations - brilliant detailing if the premier league's first 25 years. not just what happened but why.

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  • Chris Milburn
  • 09-06-2018

Great!

Incredibly fascinating, detailed overview of the influence of foreign imports and idealistic managers on English football. Amazing!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-06-2018

Complete account of the Prem

Can't recommend it enough. If you love football you'll love this. A A A A.

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  • D W Carrington
  • 22-05-2018

Enjoyable and informative

I’ve been a fan of Michael Cox’s work since hearing him on the Guardian’s Football Weekly and the Totally Football Show podcasts.

This book is excellent and well worth getting the audio version of for a flick through the history of the Premier League from the POV of tactical shifts over the years.

It’s brought up some good memories and put some of the shifts that have taken place in how football is played in England into perspective.

The performance is good too, occasionally a little off-putting when the accents affected are a little too arch or occasionally wrong (his Brendan Rogers sounds more Glaswegian than Northern Irish and Leon Britton is from London not Wales, but I’m really just splitting hairs on that!).

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  • AT
  • 07-05-2018

Fantastic story full of football nostalgia.

It'll take you back to the start of the Premier league with fabulous detail. Very interesting to explore the game I love in so much detail.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-05-2018

Brilliant content! Narration needs research

Really really good listen and the content’s really engaging. The narration by and large is decent but when it’s wrong, it really grates.

I would assume that Mace isn’t a football fan, which is fine but maybe then do a bit of research instead.

Cases in point; Mark Hughes isn’t a gruff Londoner and is in fact Welsh & therefore has a Welsh accent, Bobby Gould in spite of having managed Wales is in fact English, Leon Britton who gets profiled considerably is English & not Welsh in spite of playing largely for Swansea. And finally, most Dutch players aren’t the caricature liberal Amsterdam cops from Harry & Paul.

Focusing too much on the negatives here as Michael Cox takes you on a brilliant, sweeping journey through the history of the PL equipped with some priceless quotes from some very interesting figures. Whilst it is a bit petty to be focusing on the accents, the book was presumably written for people with a certain basis of knowledge of the subject matter and so it mars the overall experience a bit

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  • nigel laverick
  • 04-05-2018

For the football fan

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the inevitable updated version of it to reflect how Pep adapted and conquered.
But in all honesty if you’re not a football fan, close the book and walk away quickly, it’s just not for you. If you are though it is a fantastic revealing book of how English top flight football has changed