Ange Postecoglou to Spurs - what to expect

Published on 8 June 2023 at 16:32

Alistair Gordon

In the managerial merry go round that is the Premier League, Ange Postecoglou is the latest to have a bite at the cherry. With successful stints in Australia, Japan and Scotland, could the Aussie be the man to finally bring back silverware to the white side of North London?

Born in Greece, but emigrating to Australia by boat at the age of five, Angelos Postecoglou's rise to the Premier League has been an unconventional one.

Success Down Under

As a player, Postecoglou was a one club man, staying at South Melbourne his whole career. During this time he was managed by Hungarian legend, Ferenc Puskas, who he says is his biggest inspiration in football. He won two Australian League titles with South Melbourne and later in his career became captain, due to his leadership qualities.

After suffering a knee injury, his playing career was cut short but as expected, it didn't take the Aussie long to get into management. He was assistant at South Melbourne for three years before finally getting the main job in 1996. He steered them to consecutive National Soccer League titles in 1998 and 1999.

Postecoglou's next notable job was at Brisbane Roar in 2009, after spending years coaching Australian youth sides. He lead The Roar to back to back A-League titles, becoming the first team to do this since league reformation.

His success at club level then bagged him the Australian National Team job in 2013. He took the Socceroo's to the World Cup in 2014, then won the Asia Cup the following year. He qualified them for another World Cup in 2018, but left for Yokohama Marinos in Japan shortly after, where he won them their first J-League title in 15 years.


'Ange who?'

Despite his impressive track record, when Postecoglou was linked with the vacant Celtic managerial job, he wouldn't have been top of the list amongst Hoops fans. When he secured the role in June 2021, by his own admission he was a 'nobody'. Celtic were ridiculed by rival fans for having a manager that sounds like a 'wifi password' and even Talksport's Alan Brazil said, "this has got be a wind up" when he was appointed.

However, it didn't take him long to silence these critics as 'Angeball' became increasingly popular at Celtic Park. The team he inherited was one in disarray, after coming 25 points behind Rangers the previous season. A rebuild was needed and with a brand of football Scottish football had never seen before, Postecoglou's Celtic won the Premiership and League Cup in his first season. From there, Celtic have gone from strength to strength domestically and last season won the treble, meaning Postecoglou won five trophies of a possible six during his tenure.

'Ange who' may be a phrase uttered by Tottenham fans just now but if he proved the doubters wrong at a big club like Celtic, who says he can't do it at Spurs?


'We never stop'

Ange Postecoglou's playing style can be summed up in three words. 'We never stop' has been his catchphrase whilst at Celtic and perfectly describes how he wants his teams to play. Celtic's high intensity pressing game when out of possession has been instrumental to their success over the past few seasons. When signing players, Postecoglou likes work horses, that will sacrifice themselves for the team and won't rest until they get the ball back. Because of this aggressive style, substitutions are also a big part of an Ange Postecoglou side and he will more often than not make five changes in a game.

In possession, he wants his teams to have the same intensity. In dead ball situations at Celtic Park, it sometimes seems as if the balls back in play quicker than when it went out. In attack, he looks for players with good movement and pace, a prime example of this is Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi, who is well-known for always making runs in-behind and making space in the box. Tottenham fans can also expect to see inverted fullbacks next season, another integral aspect of Postecoglou's tactics.

Off the pitch, he has also been known to be unfazed by the media. While being Australia U20s coach, he had a famous heated debate with Craig Foster, a highly regarded Australian pundit. Foster was telling him to step down from the role, however looked surprised when Postecoglou stood up to him in what has now become a viral interview. In Scotland, his refusal to be bothered by the media has made him even more popular at Celtic Park.


A good fit for Spurs?

As we all know, the Premier League is a completely different kettle of fish from Scotland. When it comes to the way football should be played, Ange Postecoglou is a stubborn man and won't change for anyone. He had a shaky start at Celtic, losing to Hearts in his first game and losing his first old firm derby but the club stood by him and success came later. Premier League fans and owners have a reputation of being ruthless, so it will be intriguing to see whether he gets the same respect south of the border.

In recent years, Tottenham have appointed big names such as Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte but still haven't won a trophy since 2008.

Perhaps it could take a 'nobody' to stop the rot.


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