Ange Postecoglou — the Greek-Australian head coach of Spurs ignites fans’ hopes and dreams

Ange Postecoglou — the Greek-Australian head coach of Spurs ignites fans’ hopes and dreams
Ange Postecoglou, manager of Tottenham Hotspur, looks on during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on 3 December 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo: James Gill - Danehouse / Getty Images)

Ange Postecoglou's ascension to the upper echelons of soccer has been far from orthodox. However, he is ready to dance with the heavyweight managers of the game.

Greece-born Australian soccer manager Ange Postecoglou has taken the English game by storm since taking over the reins at London-based Tottenham Hotspur.

Since he arrived in England in June 2023, on a four-year deal, Postecoglou has captured the imagination of Spurs fans, as well as rival fans alike.

Mostly for the ultra-attacking style of play he favours. But also for the parched tone of his voice that he uses to express himself eloquently and charismatically. Not to mention that intrigue brought on by his Greek name, which is accompanied by a thick Australian accent.

Dream start

Despite naysayers questioning his pedigree and ability to make his mark in a league as competitive and cutthroat as the Premier League is, Postecoglou quickly hit the ground running. He was undefeated in his first 10 games in charge of the London club.

That is until Spurs came unstuck against Chelsea, who walloped Postecoglou’s men 4-1 during an intriguing London derby at the beginning of November. In spite of being reduced to nine men during the clash, the Lilywhites remained true to the new manager’s attacking style instead of falling back and “parking the bus”.

They were severely punished for this as the Blues bundled in three goals in the last 15 minutes of the game. Post the game, some observers accused Australian Postecoglou of being naïve. He defended himself, saying he would never compromise on his style.    

“It is just who we are, mate,” he said. “It is who we are and who we will be for as long as I am here. If we go down to five men, we will have a go.”

Ansu Fati of FC Barcelona

Ansu Fati of FC Barcelona during the Friendly Joan Gamper trophy match against Tottenham Hotspurs FC at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on 8 August 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo: Dax Images / BSR Agency / Getty Images)

A steady rise

This is how the 58-year-old has made a name for himself in his career. A career that has seen him earning his stripes as a coach in his adopted country, which he moved to when he was just five years old. Along with his family.

Before a knee injury ended his playing career just before the age of 30, Postecoglou had made his name by making over 150 appearances for boyhood club South Melbourne. So revered was he by the club, that the former defender was named in its team of the century in 2000.

Capped four times by the Australian senior national team, Postecoglou also made his managerial debut with South Melbourne. He enjoyed a fruitful four-year spell as he won the National Soccer League twice with his boyhood club. He also managed to pick up the Oceania Club Championship before his departure in 2000.

Following that he further honed his coaching skills as he took charge of Australia’s junior national teams — the Under-17s, as well as Under-20s. After he departed from that seat in 2007, he worked as a pundit for some time, sharpening his analytical and oratory skills in the process.

He then enjoyed more domestic success from the sidelines. This time with Brisbane Roar. He led the side to consecutive A-League Championship titles in 2011 and 2012.

Not long after that, he landed what was the biggest managerial gig of his career at the time. Being appointed to coach the senior national men’s team in 2013. It was the culmination of many years of paying his dues and earning his stripes.

During a four-year spell he took the team to the 2014 Fifa World Cup, won the Asian Cup a year later and qualified Australia for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He would not be in the dugout for that particular tournament as he resigned at the tail end of 2017.

He enjoyed some success with Japanese outfit Yokohama F Marinos before moving to Scottish side Celtic in 2021. He hit the ground running as he bagged two trophies in his first season. He added a treble during his final season in Glasgow. Winning the Scottish Premiership, Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup.

Djed Spence

Djed Spence of Tottenham Hotspurs during the Friendly Joan Gamper trophy match against FC Barcelona at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on 8 August 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo: Dax Images / BSR Agency / Getty Images)

To the big leagues

Then Spurs came calling. Now Postecoglou has been firmly thrust into the global spotlight and he is thoroughly enjoying the canvas handed to him to further demonstrate his craft.

He is the complete opposite of the man he replaced at Spurs — Antonio Conte. Whereas Postecoglou employs a paddle-to-floor approach, Conte is more pragmatic.

Those associated with the Lilywhites are hopeful that the Australian tactician can enjoy a successful spell and bring with him the success he has enjoyed everywhere he has been.

“Ange brings a positive mentality and a fast, attacking style of play. He has a strong track record of developing players and an understanding of the importance of the link from the academy. Everything that is important to our club,” said Spurs chairperson Daniel Levy when the club announced Postecoglou’s appointment.

Though that loss to Chelsea ended the manager’s honeymoon phase and was followed by two more defeats on the trot (to Wolves and Aston Villa), Postecoglou’s charges showed immense character and personality in their last game. They held off defending champions Manchester City in a scintillating 3-3 draw.

It was a result that the side desperately needed to arrest their recent slump. It was a result that Spurs’ Australian manager would have enjoyed too. He is a major fan of City boss Pep Guardiola, even going as far as saying he “just copies Pep” when he was once quizzed on his tactics.

Guardiola is just as much of an admirer when it comes to Postecoglou. During their recent butting of heads, the Spanish mentor waxed lyrical about “Big Ange”.  

“He makes football a better place,” Guardiola stated. “I’ve said many times that I am a manager, but at the same time a spectator. And I enjoy a lot the way they [Spurs] play. The approach they have.”

How successful Postecoglou will be at Spurs remains to be seen. Especially with the pressure of a trophy drought dating back to 2008. Nevertheless, Postecoglou will undoubtedly have made enough of a name for himself to remain entrenched in the European market when he departs. DM


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