Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines” as Want to Read:
The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  1,741 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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

Kindle Edition, 496 pages
Published June 1st 2017 by HarperCollins
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mixer, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Duncan Geddes Yes. It runs through all the title winners and some of the surprising underdogs too - Allardyce's Bolton, Pulis's Stoke and Pochettino's Southampton.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,741 ratings  ·  144 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines
Bernard O'Leary
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh god, what a joyous, near-pornographic treat for football nerds.

The Mixer really is just 400 pages about things like the difference between 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1, and why inverted wingers can lead to midfield congestion. By rights, this book should be quite boring.

Cox makes it interesting by spinning the whole thing into a narrative that's gripping all the way through. The basic plot is that post-Heysel British football decided in 1992 to reinvent itself, with money from Rupert Murdoch and driven
Ben Cullimore
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Michael Cox, founder of the Zonal Marking website and frequent contributor to the Guardian, has in recent years become the go-to guy for tactical analysis. His intelligent and accessible writing deserves to be commended for the role it has played in improving the standard of football punditry in Britain, helping to move it away from vacuous, hyperbole-laden sensationalism and towards a more in-depth and technical approach. Alongside Jonathan Wilson - arguably the country's finest football writer ...more
Gumble's Yard
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Michael Cox is the author of the football tactics website Zonal Marking

and a freelance football journalist, particularly featured in the Guardian.

This book is effectively a tactical history of the UK Premier League, based presumably on his years of analysis for his website supplemented by many hours of re-watching of past matches, and also (from the index) based on scouring footballer’s (auto)biographies and contemporary
Joe O'Donnell
"The Mixer" is billed as a tactical history of the English Premier League explaining - across 25 years in 25 chapters - how English football evolved from being traditionally backward and inward-looking to become the most international and tactically-advanced league in the world. It takes 1992 as it's starting point - a year significant not so much for the formation of the Premier League, but for the introduction of the law banning the backpass to the goalkeeper (leading to a greater emphasis on ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I thought that this was a bit like watching 25 years of MOTD highlights, including some fairly standard football punditry. You get to see some fabulous players, the big teams (a lot) and have the illusion of being better informed. Its enjoyable, but how in depth is it?
I had a seed of doubt in the opening pages when the author is making some disparaging comments about long ball football, and the fabled 'position of maximum opportunity'. Now I'm no fan of the theories of Wing Commander Hughes and
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: football
It would be challenging to find a 470-page book describing football tactics, concepts, people (some of whom you've never heard) and their actions on field, and keep you hooked to the last page. Michael Cox's The Mixer effectively does that. There's a perfect blend here of an engaging writing style, whilst describing and analyzing that particular football issue the average fan and lover doesn't know (or care) about: tactics. From the abolishing of the back-pass to the keeper in 1990, to Antonio ...more
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not just tactics but descriptions of all the league winning teams, key players and managers and who didn't get on with whom.

A must read for every football fan !
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly, given the nerdy topic, I found this a really 'good read', although the author is no Brian Glanville stylistically. The conceit of the book is to examine the winners of the PL and see what tactical evolution each team brought to the table - although the writer notes early on that the key tactical innovation of the entire PL concept was to abolish the back pass, which then created the need for ball-playing defenders and, in time, sweeper-goalkeepers - hard to believe now that in the ...more
Lol Scragg
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like to think of myself as reasonably knowledgable about football even though I was a bad player, support a suffering Premiership 'giant' and have a season ticket for a lower league Scottish club, but this book gave me a fascinating insight into the tactical changes seen during my lifetime. I'd never really thought about tactics before but reading it made the things I missed seem obvious. I'm still not going to be up to Michael Owen levels of punditry, but I now have a better idea why ...more
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of Michael Cox since I started following his Zonal Marking site. Over the years he has progressed from a niche tactical analyst to a journalist who is able to simplify football tactics for the lay person. I couldn't think of a better person to write this book and it is by far the best football book I have read in a long time. Every chapter is to be savored. There are trends that he points out in the early years of the Premier League that you wouldn't even think of but make so ...more
Vishrut Garg
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: football, non-fiction
Fantastic book detailing the tactical journey of the Premier League from 1992 till 2017, when Chelsea won with Antonio Conte. The only reason I'm not giving it the full 5 stars is that sometimes the book segwayed into history and the drama of the league at the time, while hashing over the tactical revolutions in play. This undeniably made the book exciting, since I have been a regular spectator of the EPL since 2007/08, and remember about 10 years of those anecdotes, and have read about the ...more
Nopadol Rompho
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
If you love football, especially English premier league, I think that this is one the best books you should read. It tells also tactics teams use during 25-year of EPL history. It also had some very interesting opinions and observations.
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book made me feel nostalgic... And I learned so much about tactics! Every football fan should read it, it's a gem.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
The ultimate example came in the dying seconds of Rangers’ European Cup first round tie against Dynamo Kiev in 1987. With Rangers 2-1 ahead on aggregate and building an attacking move, midfielder Graeme Souness received the ball midway inside the opposition half, immediately turned towards his own goal and thumped a 70-yard backward ball to his goalkeeper Chris Woods. Souness, incidentally, would later suffer from the back-pass change more than most.

Cantona was unlike anything England had
Gerard Noipann
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read if you are a football enthusiast.
Vinay Badri
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-read, sports
A fabulous book, a must read for Premier League fans and also for those with even a passing interest in football

Having spent enough time reading through stuff on Zonal Marking, its no surprise that the same level of insightful analysis is applied here at a broader level rather than at an individual game level and the themes work out pretty well

There is a lot of history, a lot of past matches and a whole lot of fond memories of games and this is truly a fantastic read
Tom Wåkkéførd
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fun trip back through Premier League history.
Nigel Kotani
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is ostensibly the story of Premier League tactics, but it would be far more accurate to describe it as a history (with my use of the indefinite article being deliberate) of the Premier League with a particular emphasis on its tactical development.

Amazingly for a book focused on football tactics the author manages to pull it off without it becoming turgid, without it becoming obscure and, most impressively of all, without having to resort to the use of diagrams. That might make it a
Tosin Adeoti
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This afternoon, I finished 'The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines' by Michael Cox.

The book is about the evolution of English football from a lowly sport to one that is remarkably unrecognizable from its humble start. The book covers 25 years of the intriguing spectacle people around the world witnessed.

This book is entertaining! Full of eye-opening detailed analysis into matches and behind-the-scenes which fans are not often privy to.

Right now, the Premier
Michael Sedor
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If Inverting The Pyramid is the football tactics Bible then The Mixer is its New Testament companion, full of insight, lively, exciting, promising and a much much more rewarding and interesting read
Brilliant dissection of extremely complex football tactics. Give yourself a pat on the back, Michael Cox.

Five on five.
Andrew Jaden
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A fascinating insight into the first quarter-century of the English Premier League, and absolutely a book for those interested in football tactics.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines (2017) by Michael Cox is a book that look at the history of the Premier League and how tactics have evolved there. Michael Cox, according to Amazon and Goodreads, was an English biographer and prolific author who wrote many books and died in 2009. This means that the Mixer is possibly one of the best posthumous works on football. Alternatively the book may have been written by Zonal Marking's Michael Cox who also ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: football
A tactical history of the premier league wasn't the most exciting prospect, but it was a lot better than I was expecting, and this is coming from a former reader of Cox's website.

You don't have to go far to find people who are tired of the same punditry cliches, but in my experience there can be too much analysis that gets boring after a while. Cox knows what he is talking about when it comes to tactics, but reading this it became clear he is a football fan who is interested in tactics, and not
Scott Cumming
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For me, this Premier League offseason has been alienating with the increasing transfer fees and wage demands being reported seeming other worldly, so Michael Cox's book came at the right time as he boils down the history of the league to the sport on the pitch and specifically the tactics and evolutions of tactics within the English game.

The book is defined as a history of the Premier League, but it hits upon the travails of English clubs in Europe and the English national team - most
Trevor Kew
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kewsport, kew-nf
It has been a while since I read a really great book on football and so it was such a pleasure to plunge into The Mixer, having had it on my To-Read list for such a long time. Michael Cox is one of my favourite football pundits; I've been listening to him on podcasts for years and always enjoy his insights.

The Mixer was an interesting read for me because of its focus on such a well-known (we thought...) contemporary league, given that I normally read football books that are a bit more out there
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best football books I have ever read. The authors knowledge and research are second to none and it was a pleasure to keep turning the pages. Michael Cox outlines the tactical and developmental changes in the way the game is played throughout the 25 years that the Premier League has been in existence. From the shake-up of the transfer system post-Bosman, the injection of Rupert Murdoch’s millions to showcase English football as elite entertainment and the spread of globalisation ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"I've heard Messi is good. But can he do it on a cold windy night at stoke."
Absolute page turner and a must read for anyone who follows the premier league.

Its fascinating now to look back on when premier league first started and how the league has evolved so far in terms of tactics, players and managers. As of 2019, the premier league has some of the best coaches and players from around the world. In it's formative years however, just the arrival of some remarkable foreign individuals (Cantona,
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, owned
This is a great book for Premier League fans. The book got more enjoyable for me as it got closer to the period of Premier League history that I'm familiar with -- 2012 and onward. The chapters before that were interesting from a tactics perspective but I wasn't familiar with the names of players or managers.

I liked the contrast between different styles of playing across European leagues -- the efficient German game, the disciplined and defensive Italian game, the technical Spanish game, and the
Matt Weir
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A really interesting read.
25 chapters for 25 years of premier league football tactics.

This, obviously, isn't a book for casual sports readers to enjoy. I've been able to pick up some great NFL and baseball books in the past having never seen an entire game of either in my life. Such was the style of the book.
However, this is for the football purists. This is for the premier league nerds out there.
If you're the type of football fan that hates certain teams just for being certain teams, then this
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Two Errors 3 22 Jul 21, 2017 10:17AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Zonal Marking: The Making of Modern European Football
  • The Barcelona Legacy: Guardiola, Mourinho and the Fight For Football's Soul
  • Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics
  • Das Reboot: How German Football Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World
  • Football Hackers: The Science and Art of a Data Revolution
  • No Hunger In Paradise: The Players. The Journey. The Dream
  • Angels With Dirty Faces: The Footballing History of Argentina
  • Bring the Noise: The Jürgen Klopp Story
  • Brave New World: Inside Pochettino's Spurs
  • The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports
  • 250 Days: Cantona’s Kung Fu and the Making of Man U
  • The Nowhere Men
  • Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Football
  • Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona, Real Madrid, and the World's Greatest Sports Rivalry
  • Living on the Volcano: The Secrets of Surviving as a Football Manager
  • How to Watch Soccer
  • Gazza in Italy
  • Behind the Curtain
See similar books…
“A year before Wenger’s appointment, Leyton Orient manager John Sitton had been the subject of a Channel 4 documentary that recorded him threatening to fight his own players in a famously bizarre dressing-room outburst. ‘When I tell you to do something, do it, and if you come back at me, we’ll have a fucking right sort-out in here,’ he roared at two players. ‘All right? And you can pair up if you like, and you can fucking pick someone else to help you, and you can bring your fucking dinner, ’coz by the time I’ve finished with you, you’ll fucking need it.’ That was the 1990s football manager.” 0 likes
“There are two types of coaches. There’s coaches like me who weigh up the opposition and ask the team to adjust. Fergie was similar. José [Mourinho] is similar. Then there’s Arsène, who won’t adjust. There’s Brendan [Rodgers], who looks like he won’t adjust. There’s Manuel Pellegrini, who looks like he won’t adjust … their philosophy is different to ours. Ours is more about who are we playing against. Their philosophy is more, “We always play this way,” and they won’t change, they carry on doing the same thing. That’s why you can beat them.” 0 likes
More quotes…