Ange Postecoglou's ex-Yokohama assistant leaves for Australia; comments on Celtic boss

By David Walton

June 28, 2021

Yokohama F.Marinos assistant Arthur Papas has officially left the club to join A-League outfit Newcastle Jets, ending any speculation that he’ll link up with Ange Postecoglou at Celtic.

Papas spent two-and-a-half years working alongside Postecoglou in Japan. It was that combination that helped secure the J-League title in 2019 in what was an historic achievement for the football club.

Given their previous relationship, Papas could easily have been considered for a move to Celtic Park with Ange. As of yet, the new manager has yet to bring in any outside figures to join his backroom team.

But Papas did touch on Postecoglou after being announced with Newcastle this morning. Speaking via the official Newcastle Jets website at a media conference, Papas said:

“I think he’s had a little bit on his place the last couple of weeks. So I probably feel the talk of Newcastle Jets wasn’t probably at the highest on his list!

An exciting seven days for Celtic fans is about to get underway

“But Ange always makes time as well. He just wished all the best, but he’s got his own massive challenge, not just for himself but for Australian football as well. So all I can say is he’s a great support. I had an opportunity to work in the best league in Asia with him as well, winning the league with him and obviously playing in the Asian Champions League as well.

“He’s really set a blueprint for Australian coaches in general in that you can be ambitious, you can always think above and not just settle.”

Papas not taking the Yokohama to Celtic path

It’s interesting to see that Papas won’t be joining Postecoglou at Celtic. The first figure you look for to join a potential new manager is his assistant. Now that Papas has been appointed the new Newcastle Jets boss, that clearly won’t be happening.

It opens up major question marks as to who will be Postecoglou’s right-hand man at Parkhead. Fans will instantly be fearing that it could be a boost for John Kennedy to stay in the role. However, with Postecoglou having the final say, at least we know the final decision will be coming from the manager.

Ange Postecoglou worked with Arthur Papas for two-and-a-half years / (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)

Papas, of course, does have history with the Jets. He spent 10 years working in background roles with them earlier in his career. His emotional attachment to the club probably helped sway his decision.

But from a Celtic perspective it opens up plenty of speculation as to who Postecoglou will select. Given his previous remarks on his backroom staff, don’t expect this to be a decision that’s rushed.

So long as the right appointment is made and the manager can trust him, that’s all that matters. But we know it won’t be Papas.

In other news, Martin O’Neill has delivered his verdict on Ange Postecoglou to Celtic on Australian TV.