Why Ange isn’t our next Socceroo coach
A-League's most successful coach, Ange Postecoglou. Is he ready to lead the national team? (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
In the back of the mind of every Melbourne Victory supporter is the knowledge that at the moment, this kind of success comes at a price.
Every time Marco Rojas taps in a ground cross from Archie Thompson, the ‘Kiwi Messi’ inches closer to making that move to Europe that will rob the Victory of one of their best and most important players.
That’s how it works. The best young players go.
The same is, or should be, applicable to coaches and it will be soon.
Let’s be real – Ange Postecoglou is a gem. Melbourne’s pursuit and capture of the supercoach last off-season has the potential to go down in history as the best decision the club has ever made.
But every time his men put together a play that showcases the lethality of the false nine system, every time Postecoglou faces a camera and captures attention by speaking honestly and truthfully about the game, every time he waxes lyrical in The Age about his idea of the future of the game in Australia, the coach brings forward what is cruelly inevitable.
It’s hard to imagine Postecoglou staying at Victory for a Sir Alex-like spell, put it that way. He’ll have bigger fish to fry soon. He’s too good.
He just seems driven to succeed and hungry to improve himself. He has a clear idea of how he thinks football should be played and he’s made it happen it in two different ways in two different clubs, starting from scratch.
He has the Midas touch and it’s hard to see it going away.
Naturally, with Holger Osieck’s contract expiring after Brazil 2014 – and with fans feeling their love of the game being tested with every underwhelming Socceroos performance – it seems as if the national team job will be there for him, if he wants it.
Even though it’s probably time to look on our own doorstep for a replacement, I think it would be a disaster if Postecoglou were to leave Victory to take on that particular responsibility.
I know, I know. I’m getting way ahead of myself. Victory haven’t exactly won anything yet and Holger’s not going anywhere in a hurry.
I understand. But I just can’t see Postecoglou doing anything but succeeding in his current role.
To my mind, Victory play the best football in the A-League. It’s aggressive and clinical and mesmerising and really, really hard to stop once it gets going.
Why take him away from his real work?
This is Postecoglou’s vision, but only version one. Silverware may come yet this season but it seems to be a widely accepted fact now that it won’t be until next year that Victory will be ‘scary’ good.
Just wait until he sinks his teeth into some of the new recruits he’s brought in. Let his system smarten up for another 12 months and watch how much more versatile and potent it will be then.
Consider also that the A-League, which can thank Postecoglou for its recent tactical revolution because of his work at Brisbane Roar, will again have to adapt and advance to keep up.
Then wait until his dream of a top-to-bottom Melbourne Victory academy comes true, and the club starts pumping out players designed to have the characteristics and tendencies that allow the facilitation of Angeball en masse.
Postecoglou looks like he’s about to do all the things I’ve loved doing and creating on Football Manager, except for real.
And some people think it’d be a good idea to break this up for a green and gold pipedream?
Sure, the national team could do with a bit of a spritz. But Ange? No way. Not yet.
It’s not that he’s not up to the Socceroos job, either. Far from it, even if there is a chance that the dynamics of international football and the lack of regular training might make it much more difficult for him to try and teach a squad to play his way.
It’s just that he’s worth more if he keeps doing what he’s doing, for all of us.
He’s worth more in a club role, winning titles with Melbourne Victory as they become a bonafide powerhouse with not only an inbuilt footballing philosophy, but with a production line of players to match.
That hurts to say as a closeted Adelaide United fan, who personally much preferred things when Victory were a laughing stock with Jim Magilton for a coach.
But it’s hard not to just smile and enjoy the show when the Postecoglou-era Melbourne Victory gets going.
No doubt he’ll be the right option in the future, but Australian football is better off with him continually lifting the benchmark in the A-League, rather than gilding the national team lily.
Let’s hope when the time comes to find a new Holger, FFA understands that they should probably let this good thing keep going and look elsewhere.
Vince Rugari is an Adelaide-born journalist who cut his teeth on the sporting graveyard that is the Gold Coast. He fancies the round ball and the Sherrin, and used to be a handy leg-spin bowler before injury curtailed a baggy green push. He is a Port Adelaide fan by birth, as painful as that has been recently. He's now sports editor of The Area News in Griffith, NSW.