"We call him Boss"; Ange Postecoglou set to upset Japanese football fans by moving to Celtic
Ange Postecoglou is going to upset a lot of people.
He has previous, of course, having jettisoned the likes of Bob Malcolm from his Brisbane Roar side. Apparently, Postecoglou wanted to ban smiling and laughing, despite chuckling his way to league titles. So, we’ve had the views of questionable minds; what about actual Yokohama F Marinos supporters?
Well, as it turns out, they’re not the happiest bunch right now. In a fascinating insight from Optus Sports, the Marinos boss’ work in Japan has made him a very popular figure. Some even want him to take over the national team’s dugout, such is his esteem in the Far East.
Wataru Funaki, a Japanese football journalist and self-confessed Marinos supporter, told Optus Sports:
“I can’t imagine what would happen to Yokohama F.Marinos after losing him.
“We call Ange “The Boss” or “our boss”. Originally, he demanded to the players “call me ‘the boss'”, which spread to fans and the media.
“As a fan of Yokohama F.Marinos, I love the exciting attacking football that ‘The Boss’ has created over three years. Fans were sceptical in the first year, but the playing style became established in the team, and the fans became enthusiastic about aggressive attacking football.
“Many fans love Ange and no one wants him to leave. He is a very important person who built the club’s philosophy and is a precious person with no substitute.”
A difficult first few weeks in Japan for Ange Postecoglou
Of course, there were initial barriers to overcome. For one thing, Postecoglou didn’t know the language. That, and his style of football was a wild divergence from what the Yokohama F Marinos players had been used to. Introducing your patented brand of football is hard enough in your native tongue, let alone in a foreign language.
His interpreter, Naoki Imaya told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2019:
“It was a hard first few weeks.
“Players would come up to me and try and get on my side in a way. ‘Come on Naoki, are you sure this guy’s got any idea?’ They would try and swing it to make Ange the bad guy.
“Obviously I had to stand firm. I said, ‘no, he’s a top coach – listen to him.’ That kind of conversation doesn’t get anywhere. ‘If you want to talk to him, we’ll go and talk to him’.”
Eventually, though, results came. And while it took Marinos to get to grips with Postecoglou’s tactics. The side won the J-League title in 2019, blowing opposition away with free-flowing, attacking football.
Clearly, Postecoglou will be a miss for Yokohama F Marinos; if not just to the fans, then also to the media, and the nation’s game in general. We could really be onto something here.