Birthday Bhoy Celtic boss Postecoglou on what drives his footballing passion
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou celebrates his 56th birthday today, so you can forgive him for feeling a little reflective.
The Bhoys’ manager got the perfect present, in the form of Europa League qualification last night. Not only that, he’s won over the sternest of Celtic’s in-house critics, including Chris Sutton and John Hartson.
Ange’s mission is bigger than that, however. The former Socceroos manager is used to defying the odds. As a Greek immigrant to Australia, he found comfort in local football, becoming a legend for South Melbourne, the team for Greek-Australians. That was after having to flee from a military coup with his parents, and adjusting to an entirely new life aged just five years old.
Since then, he’s had to prove himself over and over again, as a player and a manager. The summit of his achievements thus far was guiding Australia to an Asian Cup in 2015. Now, he’s taking on his biggest challenge in club football, and is doing so in some style.
Birthday Bhoy Ange Postecoglou on what he wants for the Celtic supporters
It’s his commitment to attacking football, as well as his personality and underdog story that’s earned him the respect of supporters. Speaking to the Celtic View, he expanded upon how football can be a driver for a happier life.
Postecoglou said [Celtic FC]:
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“That’s what I love about the game – that it can bring joy beyond just the end result. Because, to be honest with you, you can follow just about any sport and if it’s just about the results, you can get your buzz out of wins and losses.
“But I think football, because it’s such a unique sport in that scoring is so difficult and you can create something that is joyful and it is a bit of escapism from day-to-day life, where, even today, you can see something in training, or you see something in a game and you go, that’s unbelievable.
“That’s part of our responsibility to do that for the people who love the football club – the fans.”
This is more than sweet-talk; a cynical fan-base needed belief and now we have it
You couldn’t blame Celtic fans for being sceptical. Despite everything that Postecoglou had achieved, and the way he did it, the disappointment of Eddie Howe was still raw.
So many of us had put all our chips into the Howe hand, and it came up a bust. I sense that, in more normal circumstances, a CV like Postecoglou’s would’ve been exciting to the majority.
So, there’s context there. But to say Postecoglou has won over Celtic fans would be underselling it. We’ve completely bought into his personality, his approachability and his passion.
He didn’t need to be a ‘Celtic man’ to be able to relate to us. Really, he didn’t need to relate to us at all, but he does. And while it’s early to say he’s been an unqualified success, this is probably the quickest I’ve seen Celtic take to a manager (Rodgers excepted), or anyone from outside the club.
It’s his utter enthusiasm for football that’s so infectious. If that leads to success on the park, and it’s looking as if it will, then all the better.