Tottenham fans, you may not know Ange Postecoglou yet, but you’ll love him soon

Plenty of managers have taken charge of more Celtic games. Countless managers have won more trophies with Celtic.

But very few will leave such a lasting impression as Ange Postecoglou.

It’s worth re-emphasising the absolute mess that Celtic were in when the Australian arrived two years ago.

2020/21 was supposed to be the Hoops’ greatest-ever season, chasing a tenth successive league title, setting a new Scottish record.

However, the behind-closed-door campaign was a complete nightmare, finishing a whopping 25 points behind Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, with manager Neil Lennon sacked in February.

Captain Scott Brown, who’d been the talisman for 14 years, was out of contract, while key players Kristoffer Ajer, Olivier Ntcham, Odsonne Édouard, Leigh Griffiths and Ryan Christie would all depart too.

The club then spent the next five months wooing Eddie Howe, only for him to unexpectedly turn down the job at the 11th hour.

In-stead, the club appointed Ange Postecoglou, a complete unknown to the Celtic support and the British media, with some, naming no names, infamously exclaiming he’d ‘be gone by Christmas’.

At first, they looked like being right, with Celtic dumped out of Champions League qualifying by Midtjylland in Postecoglou’s first games in charge, before losing each of their first three Premiership away games of the season, beaten at Hearts, Rangers and Livingston.

But, if you dug a little deeper, positive signs were there, with the Celts scoring six against both St Mirren and Dundee, whilst also kick-starting their European campaign with wins over Jablonec and AZ.

Ange’s general personality, demeanour and honesty also got the support on side, saying things like “I’m still on the same planet, mate. I haven’t come from outer space” when asked what he knew about Heart of Midlothian.

More importantly, results started to improve; following Celtic’s annual defeat at the Tony Macaroni Arena on 19 September, they were then unbeaten in 38 Premiership matches.

In December 2021, Postecoglou picked up his first silverware, with Kyōgo Furuhashi’s brace downing Hibs in the Scottish League Cup Final.

Kyōgo was the personification of the new era that Ange was creating, with the unknown striker also making the move from the J.League before taring up the league, scoring 54 goals in 83 appearances.

Then, in February, came Ange’s greatest night, with his side steamrollering Rangers at Parkhead, racing into a 3-0 in the first half, ending a sequence of six Old Firm derbies without a victory.

Those of us lucky to be at Paradise that night will never forget it.

This win was so crucial as it sent Celtic top of the table for the first time, a position they would not relinquish.

The star that night midfielder Reo Hatate, scoring twice and then proving an assist, another member of the Japanese influx, emphasising Ange’s eye for talent.

Of the XI that demolished Rangers that night, nine were new signings, further highlighting the huge turnover the club experienced.

Celtic regained the Premiership trophy three months later and, while it’s never a surprise when they’re champions of Scotland, having finished 25 points adrift 12 months earlier, this was some turnaround.

This season, Celtic took their domestic dominance under Ange’s leadership to a whole new level.

After 32 league games, the Hoops had won 30, drawn one and lost one, wrapping up the title with four games to spare, scoring 114 goals, the most the club has managed in a season since 1937/38.

This campaign featured four wins over Rangers, demolishing their fierce rivals 3-0 in September before a frenetic 3-2 victory on Easter weekend.

Meanwhile, back in February, Kyōgo’s brace saw the Bhoys retain the League Cup with an Old Firm derby win, before, having ousted Rangers in the semis, another treble was complete by beating Inverness Caley Thistle in the Scottish Cup Final on Saturday.

This would prove to be Ange’s 113th and final game in charge, with his two-year tenure producing 83 wins, five trophies and numerous memories that’ll last a life time.

Ange Postecoglou: a career of success and trophies

By taking over as Celtic manager, Ange Postecoglou became the first Australian to coach a major club in Europe.

If you think about it, very few managers at the elite level come from outside Europe or major powerhouses in South America.

In fact, of the 286 men to have managed in the Premier League, they represent only 26 nationalities.

More broadly, there are no examples of managers from Asia or Australasia being appointed to top jobs anywhere in European football.

So why is Postecoglou the right man to buck this trend?

Well, in all five jobs he’s held since 2009, he’s been a success.

His Brisbane Roar team became the first side in A-League history to win back-to-back Grand Finals, with the Lions putting together a 36-match unbeaten streak, a national record.

This side was nicknamed Roarcelona, as their style of play was similar to that of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, who were all-conquering at the time.

Ange then had a brief spell as Melbourne Victory manager, before taking over as national team boss.

He led the Socceroos at the 2014 World Cup and the 2017 Confederations Cup, but his crowning achievement came in-between.

In January 2015, less than a decade after joining AFC, Australia both hosted and won the Asia Cup, beating Korea Republic 2-1 final after extra time, with this by far the Socceroos’ greatest achievement to date.

Having won all he could domestically, Ange moved to Japan, taking over as Yokohama F. Marinos manager, ending the club’s 15-year wait for a J League title in 2019.

Then came the call from Celtic, who’s supporters cannot begrudge his move to Spurs because, as this timeline shows, Postecoglou is an ambitions man and has moved up the managerial ladder every step of the way.

What will Ange Postecoglou bring to Tottenham Hotspur?

Ange’s two-and-a-half year spell in charge of Yokohama F. Marinos is very noteworthy at this point.

The Japanese club are 20% owned by City Football Group, and the football Postecoglou’s Celtic have produced is very Man City under Pep Guardiola-esque.

Operating out of a 4-3-3, the full-backs, notably Greg Taylor, play inverted, with the width coming from the wingers, allowing two number tens to get forward and support the lone front man.

Jokingly or otherwise, the stylistic comparisons with Pep have always been there, namely when he was in charge of ‘Brisbane Roarcelona’.

Ange’s motto at Celtic became ‘we never stop’, with this mantra inadvertently and organically first surfacing in this training footage from July 2021.

Having spent four seasons watching their team play under José Mourinho, very briefly Nuno Espírito Santo and then Antonio Conte, Spurs fans have had enough of boring, dower, defensive, reactive football, so Ange-ball will be a welcome change.

Also, unlike Mourinho and Conte in particular, Postecoglou will actually be happy to be at Tottenham, is a manager on the up and will be 100% motivated to succeed.

Just as Celtic were two years ago, Spurs are a complete mess on and off the field, in an eerily similar way.

They’ve failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 13 seasons, star striker Harry Kane could leave the club and director of football Fabio Paratici is banned from all football activities worldwide, making his job, which he has now left, quite difficult.

This won’t be a problem for Ange, who, unusually arrived at Celtic without any of his own staff, inheriting coaches John Kennedy, Gavin Strachan and Stevie Woods.

Kennedy, Strachan and Harry Kewell, who arrived last summer, are set to follow him down to N17.

Postecoglou also took the lead when it came to recruitment, another department at Spurs that needs improvement and has a vacancy, following Paratici departure.

Celtic’s signings under Ange has been unbelievably successful, with him tapping into his knowledge of the Japanese market to bring in sensations Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda, Kyōgo Furuhashi and more.

Not just that though, Jota (Benfica), Josip Juranović (Legia Warsaw), Liel Abada (Maccabi Petah Tikva), Carl Starfelt (Rubin Kazan), Giorgos Giakoumakis (VVV-Venlo), Matt O’Riley (MK Dons), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Spurs themselves), Alistair Johnston (CF Montréal) and Oh Hyeon-gyu (Suwon Samsung Bluewings), have all come in an exponentially improved under his guidance.

These are players from all over the world, Japan, USA, Sweden, Portugal, Croatia, Israel, South Korea, Canada, Greece and Denmark, coming together to form a successful team.

Overall, Ange Postecoglou may not be as high-profile a name as Julian Nagelsmann or Luis Enrique but, if Mourinho and Conte have taught Spurs fans anything, it should be that big name managers don’t guarantee success.

So, Spurs fans, even if things start slowly, be patient with Ange; on behalf of all with an affiliation to Celtic, he is the right man to bring success to your football club. Trust us.

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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