Ange Postecoglou Makes History, Takes Reigns of EPL Club Tottenham Hotspur

Ange Postecoglou Makes History, Takes Reigns of EPL Club Tottenham Hotspur

Former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has made history by becoming the first Australian to manage an English Premier League side after taking the reins at Tottenham Hotspur.

It was a career that began in Melbourne, and Chairman of the South Melbourne Football Club and President of the Greek Community of Melbourne, Bill Papastergiades, a good friend of Postecoglou, joined Channel 9 News to discuss Postecoglou's astounding journey and some of the challenges he faced in his stellar career.

Papastergiades expressed his reaction to the news of the hugely popular Postecoglou joining Tottenham Hotspur, saying he was: "Surprised but not surprised because he has proven in recent times, in the last ten years, to be one of the premier coaches in the world. So to watch his journey from Australia through to Japan, then to Celtic, I think the landing spot in the best league in the world was likely to be his and he's achieved it."

Although he hasn’t spoken directly with Postecoglou as yet, Papastergiades shared, "I was speaking to some of his other close friends who have spoken to him. He's excited. We're talking about a young boy here from Melbourne, from Prahran, who lived his dream to play in the field of dreams at South Melbourne Hellas, then the National Soccer League Giants of Football. As a young junior through to the seniors, being captain, winning the title twice, coaching the club to two titles as well. An outstanding career domestically, but taken off domestically."

Reflecting on Postecoglou's time at South Melbourne FC, Papastergiades explains the way that it shaped him as a coach and a player.

"Well, it was a cauldron of fire. I mean highly competitive environment – some of the best coaches of the world too. Puskas actually coached him and drove that inspiration for attacking football, which is what he is known for and which is what Tottenham has actually sought from him to bring that attacking, direct playing football which he learned here under Puskas. Not only was it about football for him, but it was about community too because the club brought him and his community and his father together every weekend, and that meant a lot to him."

Papastergiades describes Postecoglou as a coach, given his reputation as a ‘straight talker’.

"He’s direct, to the point, determined, fearless – all of the characteristics you really want from a footballer. No nonsense. I don't think he's changed much over time since I knew him as an 18-year-old at Monash University."

Discussing the challenges Postecoglou faced in his coaching career, Papastergiades said, “His time with the Australian Junior Football team was a difficult one, and we all know about his interchange with Craig Foster back then that didn't go too well on TV. He then had a stint overseas in Greece which again didn't work out the way it was. But I think it's that rollercoaster that has forged his sense of purpose and determination. Nothing comes easy, and it hasn't come easy for him. I mean, we're thinking about a boy from Prahran that now will take the spot of some of the leading coaches like Marino, Conte - people of One Champion Leagues Football - top-tier football in the world, paid tens of millions of dollars. That's Ange now."

Regarding Postecoglou's prospects at Tottenham, Papastergiades expressed his confidence: "I think he's going to do exceptionally well. It has been a graveyard for managers there, no doubt about it in recent times [but] I believe that his character forged as a migrant in this country, growing up in a cosmopolitan city, I think that's helped him

in terms of his own view of the world. That he's grown up in the multicultural capital of the world will help him now in football there. I think he'll do really well."

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