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A Lesson to be Learned: Ange Postecoglou wins J-League Title

On Saturday, former Socceroos head coach Ange Postecoglou completed the amazing feat of taking the Yokohama F.Marinos to the mountaintop of Japanese football.

The 54-year-old, who also coached the Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory, hasn’t had it all his own way in Yokohama.

After a tough 2018 campaign which saw his side finish 12th, the club backed him in to turn it around this season.

He has delivered in spades and following a comprehensive 3-0 win over FC Tokyo, he took Yokohama to an unlikely fourth J-League title.

It is a great story of redemption and perseverance from a man who has had his fair share of doubters over the years.

Postecoglou was responsible for our 2014 World Cup campaign, our qualification for the 2018 tournament and the infamous 2015 Asian Cup success.

Related Articles: Ange Postecoglou’s trail blazing J-League success finally silences the critics

We, as football fans, can very easily forget the good in which has come from coaches and players alike in their pasts.

Ange was thrown straight out of the frying pan at the Victory and into a white-hot fire as Socceroos coach, tasked with a near impossible feat of qualifying for the round of 16 against Chile, Spain and the Netherlands.

The Dutch were inches away from reaching the Final, falling short in a penalty shootout against eventual runners-up Argentina. Spain were the defending champions at the time and despite not reaching the knockout stage, were still a very formidable team.

Chile, perhaps deemed our easiest opponent at the time, were no slouches either. They defeated Spain 2-0 in the group stage and in the coming years, won back-to-back Copa America titles.

When your ‘easiest’ opponent was capable of outstanding achievements such as that, the job of Australia’s head coach was anything but enviable.

For the most part, he did a fine job making us competitive against some of the best in the world, despite three losses.

His finest hour came during our Asian Cup triumph against South Korea. Being the hosts of the tournament, Australia was expected to perform well and maybe even win the entire competition.

That kind of expectation brings about a lot of pressure. Ange coached his boys to perfection, showing his prowess as a manager and he led the Socceroos to a deserved trophy.

But the following few years began to take its toll on Postecoglou, with his resignation coming only a few weeks after leading the Socceroos to a fourth successive World Cup campaign.

In his press conference, Postecoglou spoke of the pressure that came with being an international coach and how it had “taken a toll both personally and professionally”.

Postecoglou was announced as coach of Yokohama one month later.

He reportedly received offers to coach Greece’s national side but instead opted to extend his contract in Japan, with hopes of surging up the table.

As we now know, he did more than just that.

Following his incredible title-winning season at Yokohama, Postecoglou’s name has been thrown into the hat for managerial opportunities in Europe.

Rumours are circling that he will take a job somewhere in Europe, with some of the biggest teams in the continent reportedly considering him.

All of his success following his departure as Socceroos coach goes to show something.

Ange Postecoglou was extremely underappreciated as head coach of our national team.

He faced enough criticism during his tenure to last a lifetime and it came from all angles.

Former players and fans were consistently on his back when things slightly went awry, with little-to-no margin for error as far as some were concerned.

In his athletesvoice.com.au column back in June of 2018, he spoke of how he wanted more out of us as a footballing nation.

He wasn’t going to settle for the Socceroos forever being, what he described as “battlers”. In his eyes, we weren’t going down without a fight.

This was resembled in the way he coached during the 2014 World Cup.

“Let’s now stand up and show that we could conquer that last bastion of our sport.” His own words.
He also claimed that many of those close to him at the FFA lost faith in him for his aggressive and ‘go down swinging’ style of play, believing this to be the catalyst for his eventual departure.
Now, following his successful ventures elsewhere and our forgetful 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup campaigns, his words need to be heeded now more than ever.
Perhaps he was right on the money, that we often settle for ‘giving it our best’ or ‘being that one step below the best’.
We should all take notes from him because, after all, he could be head coach of a top team in Europe not long from now.

 

Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

Queensland football legend Matt McKay appointed to FQ Board of Directors

McKay announcement

Football Queensland has announced the recruitment of former Brisbane Roar captain Matt McKay as an Appointed Director to the Football Queensland board.

A former Socceroo who was capped a total of 59 times for his country, McKay enjoyed a stellar playing career at both international and domestic level.

McKay’s time with the Roar saw him lead a historic Brisbane team to their first-ever A-League Premiership and Championship in 2011 under Ange Postecoglou.

Spells with Scottish giants Rangers, Korean side Busan IPark and Chinese side Changchun Yatai preceded a second Premiership and Championship double with the Roar in 2014. McKay is currently the Roar’s record appearances holder in the A-League.

McKay shone on the international stage with the Socceroos as he took on the likes of Spain at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and won the Asian Cup on home soil in 2015, having continued to thrive within the Postecoglou setup that he had come to know earlier in the decade.

McKay’s earliest footballing roots can be traced back to playing youth football with the QAS and AIS. From there, McKay went on to feature in the National Soccer League for current NPL Queensland side Brisbane Strikers before eventually excelling in the A-League.

“Matt is a proud Queenslander and brings extensive knowledge of the football landscape and the player pathway in our state, as well as his unique experience as a player on the national and international stage,” FQ Chairman Ben Richardson said.

“We’re delighted to welcome Matt to the FQ Board, and his appointment is timely as Football Queensland implements new league structures to connect competitions across the state as part of the Future of Football 2020+ reforms.

“The FQ Board is confident that Matt will play an instrumental role as we strengthen community clubs, player development and opportunities for aspirational clubs by connecting the football pyramid in Queensland, and we look forward to working with him.”

Football West welcomes $35m major investment from WA Government

Football West have welcomed the West Australian Government’s announcement of a major investment into football.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has revealed that HBF Park – the home of Perth Glory – will receive a $35 million upgrade in preparation for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, following the commencement of works for a $32.5m State Football Centre in Queens Park.

The upgrades at HBF Park will include replacing the halogen lights with a shift to modern LED lighting, upgrading the pitch through removal, levelling and turf replacement, new player bench areas, and upgrades to the existing power supply – including a new switch room.

In addition, the funding will cover temporary infrastructure, such as additional seating and facilities for players, media and supporters to cater for the World Cup.

The range of upgrades will allow the historic Perth venue to meet FIFA requirements to be a host venue in the upcoming World Cup, as well as providing benefits for future events.

The State Government also confirmed that work on the State Football Centre had commenced, with the $32.5m facility jointly funded by Federal and State Governments.

WA’s first ever Home of Football is due for completion before the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The elite facility will be the capable of hosting visiting international teams as a training ground, as well as grassroots football and junior development programs. It will also be the new headquarters for Football West.

McGowan spoke on the potential positive impacts of the planned improvements to HBF Park.

“Securing games in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is a massive win for Western Australia. This investment in HBF Park will provide some much-needed upgrades to our premier soccer and rugby venue, while also enabling further temporary fit-outs for the World Cup games,” he said.

“This will be the biggest football event Perth has ever seen – providing global exposure for Western Australia and giving fans, young and old, lifelong memories of the world’s best in action.”

Football West CEO James Curtis added: “The State Football centre will support all players across Western Australia as they progress on the pathway. Hopefully we can see future players like Sam Kerr come through and train at that facility and make their way to the Matildas.”

“When we look at the investment for HBF Park, we know that when the Women’s World Cup comes here in 2023 the experience for football fans across WA will be something else. What it is all about is seeing some of the world’s best footballers come here to play in Perth, and we are looking forward to hosting them and having the community turn up and really get behind the sport.

“We know on the back of the Olympics, we know how popular women’s football is, and people are very excited for 2023 to happen.”

Artist Sketch
A detailed artist’s impression of the State Football Centre was released along with the announcement.

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