Former Premier League striker lauds Celtic boss Ange for "swatting" ridiculous critics
The reception to American manager Jesse Marsch’s hiring at Leeds United has put a certain snobbishness in British football back in focus, and Celtic fans will remember this with Ange Postecoglou.
Ange, a Greek-Australian boss embarking on his first big European job with Celtic, was ridiculed in sections of the press. Whether it was Alan Brazil stumbling over his name, or various pot-shots being taken in the papers, the cynicism was rife. It was as if non-European managers were some kind of mystery, even now.
Marsch, an American who has managed to a high level in Europe, and was linked with Celtic before Ange, has been met with skepticism, too. Michael Bridges, a former Premier League striker with Leeds United, believes there’s an “arrogant” view of American and Australian managers in the British game.
Asked what he made of the Marsch signing, Bridges compared it to Ange Postecoglou arriving at Celtic.
Speaking on the Gegenpod [23.30], Bridges said: “I think you’ve got to look at Ange Postecoglou and I still tell the story about Sunderland, I wanted Ange to get the job before Chris Coleman did. I was speaking to Martin Bain about him, I said he’ll change the culture of your club, he’s a serial winner. His comments were: ‘I’ve never heard of this guy’. He’s won things – the Asian Cup. That just shows you the bubble that they’re living in without looking at the bigger picture.
“I’m delighted that Ange has gone and broken the trend. He’s gone to Celtic, a massive club. The media gave him crap from day one and Ange handled it like you wouldn’t believe. He swatted flies left, right and centre and said I’ll do the talking on the field. He’s done that.”
The reception to Celtic hiring Ange Postecoglou is still curious; Premier League gaffer Marsch may have face similar treatment
It’s very, very strange the way that Australian and American managers are received in both Scotland and the English Premier League.
If you want to get historical, the USA were actually in early World Cups, and were quick adopters to the game. Admittedly, that enthusiasm dwindled in the mid-century, but America has been a footballing nation for longer than a lot of people realise.
Similarly, it’s not as if Australia is a football desert. Yet, when coaches emerge from either country, there’s a great deal of cynicism attached. That was undoubtedly the case for Ange Postecoglou, even though he’d managed at a World Cup. Jesse Marsch was, until recently, RB Leipzig boss.
How qualified do you need to be, then? It’s a very strange one. And Michael Bridges is correct to point out the bizarre attitudes pundits have about certain nationalities.
For Ange at Celtic, it was about making a team so efficient that they did the talking for him. That’s not to say Ange isn’t often a delight when he deals with press, but he’ll still have a chip on his shoulder. The way he was perceived when he arrived was, in some respects, absolutely shameful.
It’s an interesting parallel, Postecoglou and Marsch. Both were linked with the Celtic job, ultimately it was Ange that landed it.
Hopefully, both managers do enough to change some old-fashioned perspectives on football and certain nationalities. Honestly, though, it shouldn’t be their job to change any minds.