Ange Postecoglou being appointed as the Celtic manager is big news in Australia.
Promoted as a ‘landmark appointment’ by their football federation, this could be a turning point for Australian coaching and recognition of ‘soccer’ talent from the country.
If Ange does well in Glasgow, no one will beat the drum louder than proud Aussies. Some journalists, such as the Sydney Morning Herald’s Vince Rugari, are already calling it the best sporting story currently unfolding in the land down under.
Ange to Celtic is for me the best story in Australian sport. Will be for pretty much as long as he's there. First Old Firm derby is going to be massive. Feel like a lot of people (non-football types) don't have a proper grasp right now.
— Vince Rugari (@VinceRugari) June 10, 2021
It’s also a situation that Celtic must try to take advantage of commercially.
Now, football in Australia isn’t an absolutely massive affair but it does punch at a decent weight from a 25m population.
The average attendance of Postecoglou’s old side Melbourne Victory in 2018/19, the last full season before Covid-19, was a healthy 21,000. Their highest crowd that year was 40,500. [Ultimate A-League]
The Socceroos’ last home World Cup qualifier at home to Honduras in 2017 pulled in a monster 77,000 crowd. Australians can get very proud, very quickly when their own excel at sports. Any sports, if we’re honest.
Postecoglou appears to be almost something of a national hero amongst the football supporting public over there.
Add in the fierce, known rivalry with Rangers, the ‘landmark’ aspect of this appointment and the hunger for validation we’ve undoubtedly witnessed over the last week and suddenly there is money to be made – surely? At the very least, high interest.
Celtic must be proactive in promoting itself to Australia
Celtic already have light support in the country – we have multiple Australian fan podcasts for goodness sake – so there is a ready-made hardcore who will no doubt get the ball rolling on any hype over the next 12 months if Ange does well.
The club have been too slow in exploring global commercial possibilities over the last few years. As we’ve discussed before, the goodwill Celtic has throughout the Middle East is extraordinary and hasn’t even been on the club’s radar.
There has been a focus on China over the last decade, given the size of that market, but it hasn’t really taken hold. Would it not make more sense to focus on areas that we now have a genuine attachment to?
I’d even be looking back into the Japanese football market, given the obvious affection that Postecoglou has in that country too. It couldn’t hurt.
The new manager could be our route to turning around perception of Celtic and Scottish football in Australia. We don’t have to be the ugly little brother of the English Premier League. Let’s be bold and inclusive and see where it takes us.