At Football Victoria’s Community in Business Full Time Luncheon event, special guests discussed Ange Postecoglou’s brilliant start at Tottenham Hotspur and explained his journey through the coaching ranks.
Postecoglou’s incredible 27-year coaching resume started at South Melbourne FC, the team he played 10 years with in the old NSL. Ange’s stint at the Roar was memorable, most notably his record-breaking 36-game unbeaten run which saw them win multiple titles during his reign.
After spending time managing the national team and Japanese club Yokohama F. Marinos, it wasn’t until his Celtic managerial move that contributed to the positive reputation spike of Australian managers in the world game.
The Celtic appointment was faced with lots of criticism from the Scottish media and Celtic supporters, but his success made sure that simmered down quickly. It was a huge milestone in Australian football as it was the first time an Aussie manager not only managed a major team in Europe but also won a league title in Europe.
Former South Melbourne FC player Paul Trimboli and Melbourne Victory legend Archie Thompson were on the panel that told their personal anecdotes about how he was on and off the field. This has opened up a wider discussion about Australian coaches in general and how there is quite a lack of success in that area.
Archie Thompson, who played under Postecoglou for his short stint at Melbourne Victory, spoke about his coaching style at the Community in Business event recently.
“He is a little bit difficult to read at first for sure but what I admire is how he was able to evolve. He came into Victory and changed the way he played the game from his Roar days, and it worked. We scored heaps of goals and had success,” Thompson said.
“Ange was solely focused on the team first over any individuals. It was never Thompson 1 or 2-0; it was Victory 2-0 and that’s why he has been so great. He has a knack of appreciating individuals but always keeping the team-first mentality.”
Ange’s incredible journey does paint a picture however of the struggles that Australian coaches have breaking into European football, which is increasingly becoming an issue as more Aussie coaches succeed in both the men’s and women’s game domestically and in Asia.
Gary Cole, President of Football Coaches Australia (FCA) has previously discussed in length about the significant hurdle that these coaches face, which is acquiring the UEFA pro license.
Despite Postecoglou’s deep football coaching resume, his move to Celtic could have been derailed because of the system and rules set in place in order to attain the license, which review the coach’s ability to manage a professional football team.
However, there is no doubt that Ange’s incredible journey and early Manager of the Month success at Tottenham Hotspur will open doors for fellow Aussie managers to be firstly given a chance but to also succeed in Europe.
Kevin Muscat had a small stint at Belgian club Sint-Truiden in 2020, whilst Patrick Kisnorbo managed ESTAC Troyes and became the first ever Australian manager of a team in a ‘top five’ European men’s league. Kisnorbo’s move to fellow City group club Troyes, thanks to his success at Melbourne City, also presents as a future opportunity for A-League managers who impress.
Whilst the results from both weren’t or haven’t been fantastic, the opportunity was granted to them due to recent success and the foundation potentially laid for the future of Australian coaches in Europe. These moves only increase the validity of the A-League and Australian coaches, especially because of the long journey a lot of these managers go through just to reach that sort of level.
The future is brighter for the reputation and validity of Australian football, a country that is quickly latching on to the sport especially after Men’s and Women’s World cup successes.
Ange Postecoglou continues to shine in the Premier League and his impressive story has no doubt created its own pathway for more Australian coaches to follow with hopefully less obstacles and difficulties.