Why Ange isn’t our next Socceroo coach

Vince Rugari Columnist

By Vince Rugari, Vince Rugari is a Roar Expert

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    The January transfer window will be a busy one for the Australian coach. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

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    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
    Vince Rugari

    Vince Rugari is an Adelaide-born journalist who cut his teeth on the sporting graveyard of 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. A Port Adelaide fan by birth, he now is a sports reporter for Australian Associate Press

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    The Crowd Says (67)

    • February 9th 2013 @ 7:10am
      The Bear said | February 9th 2013 @ 7:10am | ! Report

      Ange will go where Ange will go ; )

      As a Roar fan I was disappointed to see him leave Brisbane, with so much yet to be delivered in his stewardship. But it may have felt unworkable, with the alternative waved under his nose down south a better option. It can happen again!

    • February 9th 2013 @ 7:49am
      Robert said | February 9th 2013 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      Ange will say there is plenty more he wants to achieve at the Victory once they have a bit of success,in the very same manner as he did at the Roar.But as soon as a wad of cash is thrown at him from somewhere else,he’ll up anchor and sail off.No problems with that,just dont go saying the club means everything to you

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

      • Columnist

        February 9th 2013 @ 12:55pm
        Vince Rugari said | February 9th 2013 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        Let’s not rewrite history – Ange left Brisbane not for money, but for other reasons. Those are, principally, the fact that Brisbane’s crowds weren’t growing despite by far the best brand of football in HAL history, and that the owners were not prepared to build a concrete ‘home’ for the club.

        • February 9th 2013 @ 1:50pm
          Ian said | February 9th 2013 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

          can you provide the source for your two reasons on why he left Brisbane.

          you may want to check the stats on crowd averages at brisbane between when ange started at the roar and when he walked out two hours after the grand final. i guess normally averaging 2nd highest crowds is meaningless.
          saying ange left because crowds didnt grow is plain incorrect. crowds rose plus throw in a couple of sold out 50,000 grand finals.

          and there i was thinking ange saying it was about family and the fact that MV management had said they had negotiated with him months before (as he had never officially resigned) but ‘let’ him do his thing at the Roar were true!

          • February 9th 2013 @ 8:07pm
            Evan Askew said | February 9th 2013 @ 8:07pm | ! Report

            Yeah it pissed me off with the southern media going on about Brisbane crowds not being big enough. The fact of the matter is about 8k per game in the 2009-10 season when Ange took over from Farina, if you take out the 1st game of the season against Gold Coast. They would have being higer than what they were in the following season if it wasn’t for the crappy weather whcih culiminated in the 2011 floods, but still they averaged 10k which was an improvement on what they were. And I would say they increased the following season as well, most crowds were around 12 to 14k, except for a few 10k crowds in the 5 game losing streak and the games which attracted 15 to 20k such as the Melbourne Victory, 36 game unbeaten streak and Sydney FC games. In fact now we are roughly back to where we were in season 2 of the A league which is at a time when the game as a whole was attracting record crowds. And this after the failed expansion with the Gold Coast, the ticket price fiasco and the frustrating performance up to the appointment of Ange, and the frustrating performance post Ange. Plus the fact that football is a respectable fourth behind Leaguem AFL and the Reds in attendences I would say the club has recovered well after the dark days of 2009-10. No, the reason for Ange leaving wasn’t anything to do with crowds and if it was then I think he is being unrealistic to the position of football in Queensland.

            • February 9th 2013 @ 11:40pm
              Ian said | February 9th 2013 @ 11:40pm | ! Report

              yes, the crowds this season have stayed on even with the poor performances. i’ve been happy with the average crowd figure.
              i guess the lack of response reflects its a valid point.

    • Roar Guru

      February 9th 2013 @ 8:06am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | February 9th 2013 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      I don’t think Ange will leave MVFC for some time – either to join the National Team, or a foreign team.

      Yes, Ange is a great coach, but football is a global game and every country has its own Ange or, more likely, dozens of coaches like Ange.

      Whilst tactical insights are a big part of a coach’s worth, man management is also very important. And, being successful at managing English-speaking, predominantly Aussies men may not automatically be transferable to managing non-English speakers in Asian or European cultures.

      Even if Ange went to England, there’s no guarantee he’d enjoy it or he would succeed. Some of the best coaches in the world have failed in the EPL. Even the man we all worship – Guus Hiddink – failed to take Russia to WC2010 and Turkey to Euro2012.

      In fact, I see no reason why Ange would not set himself the task of being “the SAF of the A-League”.

      • February 9th 2013 @ 10:28am
        Ballymore said | February 9th 2013 @ 10:28am | ! Report

        “In fact, I see no reason why Ange would not set himself the task of being the SAF of the A-League.”

        Aren’t you ignoring the reasons why he left BNE? He doesn’t like becoming comfortable/part of the furniture, he is not concerned with job security and always wants to be part of something bigger. Based on his previous behaviour, I’d suggest he’ll enjoy 2-3 (very) successful seasons with MV before moving on.

        The only reason MV would be different is that he is a MEL boy.

        • Columnist

          February 9th 2013 @ 12:56pm
          Vince Rugari said | February 9th 2013 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

          Yes, I see him staying with Victory – maybe for longer than 2-3 seasons, but for the medium term. But there’s no doubt he’ll eventually go overseas and test himself, possibly in England. You can just sense he has that desire.

          • February 10th 2013 @ 3:01am
            clayts said | February 10th 2013 @ 3:01am | ! Report

            Pure speculation

    • February 9th 2013 @ 9:01am
      Doc said | February 9th 2013 @ 9:01am | ! Report

      I think Arnold’s system would suit the Socceroos. He is proven on the national stage to an extent, and would be my first pick for the role. No doubting the credentials of AP though.

      • February 9th 2013 @ 10:30am
        Ballymore said | February 9th 2013 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        If by ‘proven on the national stage to an extent’ you mean turning the 2007 Asian Cup into a carcrash then I would agree.

        • Columnist

          February 9th 2013 @ 12:56pm
          Vince Rugari said | February 9th 2013 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

          It’s now, what, six years on? I’d say he and the rest of Australian football has learned a lot since then.

          • February 9th 2013 @ 4:01pm
            fadida said | February 9th 2013 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

            Yep, not a GA fan as national boss, but like AP has really developed as a coach. In many ways his style of play would be easier to implement at international level ie with less access to a consistent squad of players

    • February 9th 2013 @ 9:04am
      cruyff turn said | February 9th 2013 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      “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.”

      This, for me, is one of the main reasons AP may not end up taking the Socceroos job. Unlike club football, where the coach has the luxury of working with his players week-in week-out, the national team requires someone who can get their methods across to the playing group in a very short space of time. The type of football Ange wants to play needs months of fine-tuning, and I just feel that the pressure of achieving results immediately, coupled with the lack of regular training, will count against Ange when the FFA chooses Osieck’s successor.

      It’s for this reason that I believe Tony Popovic has a great chance of being national team coach. He was able to cobble together a squad of journeymen players at very short notice, and make them into a competitive and entertaining side. If he and the Wanderers are able to replicate their current form in 2013-14, then he’ll have to be seriously considered.

      Anyway, back to Ange, the other thing to bear in mind is whether he even wants the job. Does he want to be away from his family for large periods? The constant overseas travel? If I remember correctly, one of the factors in him coming back to Melbourne was a desire to be closer to his and his wife’s family. Such issues cannot be discounted.

      • February 9th 2013 @ 12:36pm
        Mo said | February 9th 2013 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        He has already stated that he is not interested in the National Team job as he believes that it’s a job for old coaches and he prefers the week to week cycle of club coaching

    • February 9th 2013 @ 9:25am
      Dale said | February 9th 2013 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Ange is by far the best club manager in Australia but being an international manager is completely different. International coaching requires a lot more office work as you only see your squad sparingly whilst club football is a day to day hands on position hence why ferguson has never left man utd to manage Scotland. For Australian footballs sake I hope ange stays on and continues to build his vision of where he feels we need to go! Football In this country NEEDS ange more at club level than international level!

      • February 9th 2013 @ 8:12pm
        Evan Askew said | February 9th 2013 @ 8:12pm | ! Report

        Ferguson has in fact managed Scotland before he was Manchester United Coach. He coached Aberdeen to two league titles a Scottish Cup, a European cup winners cup and Super cup before taking over Scotland after Jock Stein died. In fact he was the coach of Scotland when we had to play them in 1985 to qualify for Mexico 86 when we were sold out by our own federation who played it in Melbourne at night time in our winter. We should have played it in Brisbane or Sydney during the day.

        • February 11th 2013 @ 7:55am
          Lucan said | February 11th 2013 @ 7:55am | ! Report

          Frank Arok wanted to play Scotland in the heat up in Darwin. Sincerely believe we would’ve rolled the Scots had Frank’s request been met.

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