"It sounds bizarre"; Key Celtic man discusses his unusual path to stardom

By Euan Davidson

November 17, 2021

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is a well-known coach worldwide; a former Australia manager, a serial winner in the A League, and a J League tactical revolutionary.

What’s less well-known is that he started coaching at age 12. Yep – while young managers like Julian Nagelsmann and Mikel Arteta are fashionable nowadays, Postecoglou got started in his pre-teens.

Admittedly, it wasn’t at a top level. Or anything like it. Disillusioned by the standard of coaching at his school, the current Celtic boss took over his team from a music teacher.

As Ange Postecoglou explains [Herald]:

“I coached my first ever team when I was 12. Looking back, it seems crazy. To me more than anyone else. I don’t know why people were listening to a 12-year-old but there must have been something about me that made them.

“It’s quite bizarre when you think about it, but it’s probably why I have always felt more of a coach. I struggled with my playing career as I just felt that my destiny was to be a manager. That was the space where I always felt most comfortable.

Celtic’s stars of the future are taking some positive first steps

Celtic’s stars of the future are taking some positive first steps
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

“There hadn’t been a soccer team before and we put a group together. We had a music teacher who said he would take the team, but there wasn’t any coaching or training. He would sit and mark his homework while we all just had a kick-about.

“After the first few sessions, I took control. It sounds bizarre because I was so young. But for some reason, I took control of the whole thing and people listened.

“I didn’t just pretend to be the coach. I picked the team, we had sessions and I told everyone what to do. Looking back, I think I got power hungry! I was a player, coach and captain.”

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou and his youth team anecdote shows how little his personality has changed

In fairness, I can relate to this. When I was 12, I guided Celtic to an unbeaten league season, winning a domestic treble. Then, I took the Bhoys to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, where we beat Roma 4-3 in the Champions League Final.

Admittedly, that was in LMA Manager, for the Playstation 2. Yet, a success is a success.

In all seriousness, this anecdote shows you how Postecoglou was just built different. Who else would have the precociousness to say “look, I’m coaching this team” at age 12? And subsequently be unanimously voted in to continue [Herald]?

Photo by Tony Feder/ALLSPORT

Not only that, to then win the U12s State Championship? It’s ridiculous. But it shows the attention Ange had for the little details, from watching football with his father at an early age.

If any experience is going to give you a hunger for top-flight management, it’s surely what Postecoglou did when he wasn’t even a teenager. That kind of revelatory moment sticks with you.

Power to him. Silverware in his first coaching gig. Long may that trend continue while he’s Bhoys boss.

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