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.
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.