After finishing the 2022/23 Premier League season in a rather disappointing eighth position, Tottenham Hotspur appointed Ange Postecoglou as their new manager. If you are familiar with Scottish football, you’ll no doubt recognise the name: he’d just led Celtic to the domestic treble. But what else should you know about Postecoglou and, crucially for Spurs fans, is he the man to bring success to Tottenham?
Ange Postecoglou’s Playing Career
As his name might suggest, Postecoglou was born in Greece, but he moved with his family to Australia when he was just five years of age and grew up in the city of Melbourne. It is there that Postecoglou got his footballing break as he progressed through the youth system at his local semi-professional club South Melbourne. In fact, he only ever played for that club, from 1978 to 1983 in their youth setup and then from 1984 to 1993 in the first team, for whom he scored 27 goals in just shy of 200 appearances, though he mainly played as a full back.
He also made four appearances for the Australia national team, as well as 13 at youth level. But although he was well known in Australia, it’s fair to say he was relatively unheard of on the world stage, and that remained the case until well into his managerial career.
Early Managerial Career – 1996 to 2009
After a knee injury called time on Postecoglou’s playing days, he became the assistant coach at South Melbourne and then, in 1996, was given the top job. He led the club to back-to-back titles in the National Soccer League (the forerunner of the A-League) and was soon given coaching jobs in the Australia youth team setup.
After an on-air altercation with a football pundit, however, Postecoglou decided to leave Australia to take a manager’s job in the land of his birth. He became the manager of Greek third-tier side Panachaiki for a short time in 2008 before returning to Australia to take on the role at Whittlesea Zebras, a job that many in the game thought was well beneath his ability. So it proved, as he soon got offered the job at A-League side Brisbane Roar.
Making a Name for Himself – 2009 to 2021
It was at Brisbane that Postecoglou really began to show his coaching skills on a bigger stage and he led the club to their first A-League Championship in 2011 and then followed up by retaining the title the next season. Having won two titles in the National Soccer League earlier in his career, Postecoglou thus became the most successful Australian football manager (in terms of domestic top-flight titles).
Postecoglou had a short stint at Melbourne Victory before moving on to take the top job as the Australian national team boss. He took them to the 2014 World Cup, but the side were drawn in an extremely tough group that also included Spain, Chile and the Netherlands. The Socceroos lost all three games, but they were not disgraced and they showed signs of being able to compete on the world stage, especially when pushing the Dutch close.
Postecoglou then led Australia to their first AFC Asian Cup in 2015, and then helped them secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup, before resigning and heading to Japan to manage Yokohama F Marinos. He led them to their first J-League title for more than a decade, something that caught the attention of those in charge of Scottish club Celtic.
Success at Celtic – 2021 to 2023
Postecoglou joined Celtic in June 2021, replacing the caretaker boss John Kennedy who had stepped in after Neil Lennon resigned. The club had lost out on the Scottish title to Rangers in the 2020/21 season and Postecoglou was tasked with getting the Hoops back to winning ways. He wasted no time in doing so, first leading Celtic to the Scottish League Cup and then to the Scottish Premiership title.
There was even better to come in the 2022/23 season as Postecoglou masterminded a domestic clean sweep for Celtic as they won the league title (by a margin of seven points from bitter rivals Rangers), the Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Cup. Indeed, it was just a matter of days after Celtic’s 3-1 victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park that Postecoglou was confirmed as the new Spurs boss.
Conclusion: Is Postecoglou the Right Man for Spurs?
Looking back over Tottenham’s managerial history, it wouldn’t take too many trophies for Postecoglou to endear himself to the Spurs faithful. If you take the legendary Bill Nicholson (who won 11 pieces of silverware in the 1960s and 1970s) out of the equation, there are few managers to have really proved successful at the club. Keither Burkinshaw is the best of those since with two FA Cups, a UEFA Cup and a shared Charity Shield. But the last manager to win a trophy was Juande Ramos – the League Cup in 2008.
Postecoglou has a solid win percentage of 53.74 based on all the teams he’s managed, and if he achieves that at Spurs, it would be similar to those of Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte, though of course neither of those managers won anything at Spurs. Ultimately, as with most things in football, time will tell whether Postecoglou is a good fit at Tottenham. But as the first Australian to land a manager’s job in the Premier League, he’s already achieved a lot in his managerial career. However, Spurs fans will be hoping he achieves a whole lot more in the next year or two.