South Melbourne FC sent congratulations via a Facebook post to “son” Angelos ‘Ange’ Postecoglou for securing and signing a rolling 12-month contract with Scottish Premier League’s Celtic FC.
“Congratulations to our favourite son Ange Postecoglou who has been officially appointed as the new manager of Celtic FC.
We have no doubt Ange will succeed as he has done over the past three decades, including with our own club in the National League.”
Even his most recent team, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos had some very pleasant parting words for him.
“The club wish the ‘Boss’ nothing but the best in the new challenge of his football managing career. He will always be part of Marinos Family,” Yokohama said on their homepage.
More groups and media outlets have joined the choir of praise, with many touting his move to Europe as a great accomplishment for any Australian sportsperson, and not without the track record to back it up.
Postecoglou is Australia’s most successful club coaches with two premierships, four championships and a continental title.
Now, the 56-year-old Greek-Australian coach is preparing to open a new chapter in his career with the Scottish giants and is well aware of the challenges ahead.
“Celtic is one of THE names in world football, of that there is no doubt – a giant of a club, a proper footballing institution and so much more – real history, real substance, real authenticity and real soul. I know Celtic is a true way of life for so many people and I know the demands which come with this position – I am ready to do all I can to meet those demands,” he said in the club’s statement.
Celtic has had their eye on the coach for some time and even went as far to ask UEFA for a special temporary license, in order to have Postecoglou on its bench.
“Ange is a manager we have known about for a number of years and someone who has been prominent in our thoughts for some time,” said Outgoing Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell.
“He is a great coach who has attractive, winning football in his DNA. He has an excellent record, he is a very strong personality and someone with a real desire and passion to take Celtic forward.”
The seasoned coach has a world of support behind him, and with this he hopes to bring a new sense of excitement and ambition to the team.
“I very much look forward to meeting with the players on their return from the close season break and I can’t wait to get started as Celtic Manager,” Postecoglou said.
His backstory is a tremendous insight into the coach he has become today and is an inspiring tale for many in the Greek-Australian and immigrant community.
Postecoglou was forced to leave Greece, like many others, because of a coup that was to last for seven years known as the Greek junta or Regime of the Colonels. This move would change the course of his life.
The family business and the dictatorship
On 27 August 1965, Jim (Dimitris) and Voula Postecoglou met their son Angelos for the first time. They did not know that two years later the future of the little one will be ominous, as former Greek president George Papadopoulos went on to violate the constitution and impose the dictatorial regime.
Their tolerance of the regime ceased in 1970 after the closure of Jim’s business and so the family living in Nea Filadelfeia left the country. Their destination, the shores of the ‘lucky country’, Australia.
Ange, as he would come to be known, was only five when he was photographed holding the number “24” (as an immigrant) on his chest, upon his arrival in Australia. Like the rest of the wave of refugees that arrived there, the young man was carrying a ball with him. In this way he tried to adapt to his new reality, playing football in a nation that did not have much of a relationship with the sport.
The team that ‘raised’ Postecoglou
At the age of 7, Postecoglou joined South Melbourne Hellas, a club created by Greek immigrants during the second World War. His abilities in the defensive game eventually led him to the senior’s division, completing his time there with 193 appearances across nine seasons.
This was followed by a very short tenure with Panhellenic.
In 1985 Postecoglou represented Australia at youth level before going on to represent them again on four more occasions between 1986 and 1988. A tough defender, his top-flight career was ended prematurely following a knee injury.
Despite the injury, Postecoglou’s love for sports kept him connected with the game and eventually led to him taking on the role of assistant coach at the club that ‘raised’ him. In 1996 he gained the trust of the management and became the head coach of the team and parted ways in 2000 having brought them a record four titles.
Australia and Panachaiki
Leaving his favorite club, he took over as Australia’s youth coach until 2007, filling his cabinet with many trophies. In February 2007 he was let go, after Australia failed to qualify for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The only real ‘thorn’ in his career was his 2008 leadership of Panachaiki, Patras team in the Greek third division. The straw that broke the camels back, prompting his resignation was one very particular event.
During half time, the then president of the team Alexis Kougias entered the locker room and gave him a piece of paper with changes he should make.
“Patras is the third largest city in Greece and the team at that time had expectations. The passion in the team was amazing. When we won they lifted us in the air from their joy, but when we lost we… they exploded. We were doing well and it was a great experience that gave me confidence,” Postecoglou had stated in a past interview.
In 2009 things looked up as he was hired by A-League’s Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory where the success continued for the coach.
Following his A-League tenure was one of his greatest achievements as the Australian National Men’s Team coach, rocketing the team to the 2014 World Cup and leading them to a first AFC Asian Cup victory.
Yokohama F Marinos
His latest term was with Yokohama F Marinos, with which he achieved a small miracle, winning the 2019 J-League championship. With the final whistle of the referee, 63,854 spectators celebrated the 3-0 victory, breaking a 15 year dry spell.
The road ahead with Celtic
Postegoclu will now make his way to Scotland, to coach beloved team Celtic FC.
“I have already had great discussions with Peter, Dom and the Board about their ideas and strategy for the future of the club. I know the Club’s new modern vision aligns very much with mine and we now look to go and deliver on this. In everything we do we aim to give our fans a successful team of real quality, which they are excited about and can be proud of,” he said.
“We have already begun work on our plans for adding to the squad – we aim to bring players of quality to Celtic to enhance the existing core of great talent.”