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The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines Paperback – 5 Feb 2018
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‘A compelling examination of the evolution of tactics in the Premier League. A fine read, and a powerful reminder of how much has changed.’ – Matthew Syed, The Times
‘Thanks to his meticulous research and his focus on strategy, Mr Cox finds a fresh perspective on a story that football fans will think they already knew’ – The Economist
‘The Mixer, by Michael Cox is a very unusual football writer in that he specialises in the game as it’s actually played, rather than the gossip or folklore around it. The Mixer is a tactical history of the English Premier League, with telling anecdotes on every page. It’s deeply informed and a pleasure to read.’ – Financial Times
‘If you’re in mourning that the footie season is over, this is for you. Delving deep into the beautiful game, it’s a look back at how the sport has changed over the years. Nostalgia will hit as you’ll remember iconic matches, too’ – The Sun
‘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 & Psychology of the Perfect Penalty
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Top international reviews
Whereas other books simply look at tactics through the lens of tactics, this adds a whole new context to subject by looking at the who, why, and how of tactical innovations through the Premier League years. It will enhance your understanding of not just the tactics, but the reasons for them and context in which they came to be, and may also change your perspective of some of the personalities you love or loathe that have been a catalyst for these movements.
Entertaining and interesting throughout, this book was a far quicker read than I anticipated. Despite being about tactics, it never felt dry or overly complicated.
Would thoroughly recommend to any football fan.
The inception of the Premier League just so happened to arrive around the time I developed my football madness as a young kid. If I wasn’t playing football, I was swapping football stickers, or reading about football on Teletext.
So not only has this book been an informed, and even at times an enlightening read, it’s also been a magnificent trip down memory lane.
If you’re in any way on the fence, just get it. It’s the best £5 I’ve spent in a long while. It would also make an absolute belter of a gift for the football fans in your life.
Update: Just finished the book, and it’s a thoroughly great read from start to finish. Even the post script gives pause for reflection. I would recommend this book without hesitation. The only thing I think the book could have included are diagrams, like the one on the cover. It can be quite difficult to visualise two opposing formations and the movements within them - having an illustration would have made some sections a lot easier to digest.
I hope the author writes more books. I would love to see one focused purely on tactics, roles, formations, and philosophies.
There are some good things in this book but there is some stuff that is simply plain wrong. Two examples: at the beginning of this book, the author tells us that Kenny Dalglish and Alex Ferguson were principally motivators rather than tacticians. Then he goes on to discuss Ferguson's tactical sophistication in the 1990s and 2000s leading Manchester United to European Cup triumphs. Dalglish, meanwhile, created several sophisticated Liverpool teams; the last to win the league title for the club and he won the title in three of his six seasons as a manager as well as doing it in a different way for Blackburn Rovers.
The author also tells us, early on, that British defenders did not contribute to attacks prior to the advent of the Premier League in 1992. What about Tommy Gemmell, Tommy Smith, Phil Neal and Alan Kennedy? All British defenders, all goalscorers in European Cup finals of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s! How did they do that without joining the attack?