The FFA should ignore the peanut gallery and continue to back Postecoglou

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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133 Have your say

    It is simply preposterous to suggest the Socceroos would be better off without Ange Postecoglou, since he is still so clearly the right man to get Australia to Russia in 2018.

    The calls for Postecoglou’s sacking are symptomatic of the modern-day mentality that we can’t go more than five seconds without receiving some form of gratification.

    If at first you don’t succeed, why try again? It’s easier to walk away when something gets hard.

    Never mind the planning, the preparations and the precautions that go into something like running a national team.

    Why bother to think of the consequences of any actions when it’s just as easy to leave a glib online comment and move on to the next topic of rage?

    Sack Postecoglou? Sure, why not! They should install Mal Meninga as his successor and then we can really start having some fun.

    But for those who think that it might not be the smartest idea to dismiss a coach who steered the Socceroos to a continental title less than two years earlier because he failed to guarantee automatic World Cup qualification by a margin of two goals, perhaps the topic deserves some further analysis.

    Do the Socceroos need a European coach to get us through to Russia? Maybe we should give Holger Osieck a call? Or how about Pim Verbeek? Weren’t these the sort of European coaches who were supposed to improve our fortunes?

    Or, having once been lucky enough to tempt Guus Hiddink on the shortest of short-term contracts, is this another one of those hypotheticals where critics conjure up improbable names – just like how every time Brisbane Roar plays a home game we’re told they should ‘move to Ballymore,’ or how Fox Sports are informed ad nauseam that ‘every A-League game should be on free-to-air TV’.

    Perhaps we should see if Jose Mourinho wants to swap Old Trafford for ANZ Stadium? Surely it couldn’t hurt to ask?

    Or if we decide to pull our heads out of the clouds and realise it’s worth inhabiting the real world, maybe we’d be better off taking stock of where the Socceroos are currently at.

    Ange Postecoglou Football Australia Socceroos 2017

    (AAP Image/Matt Roberts)

    There’s been plenty of talk of late about the FFA’s coffers starting to run dry. So won’t a money-spinning playoff against Syria – with another one potentially to follow – help replenish the finances?

    Weren’t we all complaining about the lack of drama in qualifying through Asia anyway? At least until Osieck’s strugglers needed an 83rd-minute winner from Josh Kennedy to seal a spot at Brazil in 2014.

    There’ll be 48 teams qualifying for the FIFA World Cup from 2026 as it is, so perhaps we should be thankful for the competitive tension the final round of qualifying has offered this time around.

    Postecoglou, meanwhile, has gone from the critically-lauded tactician who landed Australia an unprecedented Asian Cup title to just another expendable seat-warmer within the space of 18 months.

    It’s not his fault the Socceroos hit the woodwork countless times against Thailand. It wasn’t Ange who failed to clear the lines in Jeddah.

    But he makes for a convenient scapegoat in a society which nowadays prefers short-term results to the more laborious process of long-term cultural change.

    There’s nothing wrong with critics chastising Ange. It’s great to see former players care so much. After all, the national team belongs to the whole nation – not just the man in charge.

    But if the FFA cops its fair share of criticism, they should also be lauded for demonstrating some leadership and continuing to back Postecoglou as the man to lead the Socceroos to Russia.

    He’s earned that right – not just by winning an Asian Cup, but by being the only coach in our recent history to understand our sporting culture.

    Thus FFA should simply stay the course and ignore the commentary coming out of the peanut gallery.

    Myself included.

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (133)

    • September 11th 2017 @ 7:34am
      Waz said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      This is not a normal “should he go or should he stay” debate though is it; Ange has already announced his departure after the current World Cup campaign is over so discussion over who might replace him is a valid one.

      Ange may go in 2 or 4 games time or he may go next winter after a WC should we get there. But he is going.

      And within 6 months of Russia 2018 Australia will be defending their Asian Cup title, under a new manager who will have only a handful of match days to prepare his squad. That in its self is not ideal so, given Ange has announced he’s going anyway, there is a valid question of should he lead the Socceroos at the WC if we get there or would it be better to give his replacement all of 2018, including the WC, to prepare for the Asian Cup?

      This may be harsh but I think Ange should be allowed the chance to get us there but a new coach appointed in December.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 7:44am
        Fadida said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:44am | ! Report

        The big question is Waz, are you a member of the peanut gallery?

        I agree with you by the way. Even though I’ve never coached an international football team 🙂

        • September 11th 2017 @ 8:54am
          Waz said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          I think I sit firmly in the peanut galary punter as I too lack international coaching experience, just like Lowy and Gallop who are supposed to judge Ange (his does that work then?)

          • September 11th 2017 @ 9:00am
            Fadida said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:00am | ! Report

            Exactly Waz, how does that work?

            • September 12th 2017 @ 7:52pm
              soc said | September 12th 2017 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

              Me too. I have never coached an international team, but I’m sure that I have a lot more Football knowledge than Gallop and Lowy combined.

              With these two guys in charge, how can we possibly get a decent coach??? My only hope is that FIFA sacks them in November.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 7:43am
      chris said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:43am | ! Report

      There is nothing wrong with healthy debate about the national team and people discussing tactics etc. At least it shows people care. Go to England or Italy and there is constant talk about coach dismissal etc if results aren’t going their way. For me this is better than some bored reporter just going through the motions of giving us the date and time and result of a game. MSM!

      • September 11th 2017 @ 7:47am
        Fadida said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

        Agree totally Chris. Interestingly the people who go on about the “peanut gallery” and “keyboard warriors” fail to join in the tactical debate (which Ange welcomed until he changed to a 3 at the back and failed to qualify ahead of an average Saudi team).

        • September 11th 2017 @ 7:59am
          chris said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

          Good point Fad. I remember Ange saying how he welcomed debate and discussion about his and the teams performance etc. I admire Ange for sticking to what he believes in. Anyone that has coached knows that you need to stay strong in your beliefs and resist temptations to change things when things don’t go your way and lots of “advice” starts to come your way from outsiders.
          However its a fine line between staying true to your beliefs and just being stubborn and inflexible.
          Time will tell with Ange which side of the line he is on.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 8:23am
            Fadida said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

            I have been a long time admirer of Ange. I was on the record many times in his early NT days as supporting what he was looking to achieve, even when results were poor. Why? I could see how it would come together. I defended him after the WC. Why? I could see where it was going.

            Now? I don’t see an end product. I can’t see how this system will ever bring rewards with this group of players. At what point is stubbornness foolishness?

            • September 11th 2017 @ 1:00pm
              Waz said | September 11th 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

              Fadida, agree with all you’ve said there – and worse still he has introduced and is persisting with a new formation when he has already announced his departure. He also knows his successor may implement an entirely new philosophy.

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 1:57pm
          apaway said | September 11th 2017 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

          He still welcomes the debate. It’s just… there hasn’t been one. “It doesn’t work!” has been the overwhelming call from the Peanut gallery AKA Fox Sports Punditry Central. That’s not a debate, that’s call to arms of ignorance. Have a look at the number of clubs in the EPL who have now adopted a 3-4-3. Have a look at the number of national teams. Messrs Bozza and Robbie would have us go backwards to a system which…didn’t work too well in Thailand, due to the glaring issue of having too many centre-backs and not enough right backs. Did the system work against Thailand in Melbourne? 42 shots to 5, 88 balls in the box to 12, 16 corners to 2, 24 shots on target to 1, would tell you the only thing not working was the final finish, and that isn’t the fault of any formation or tactical system developed by the coach. Had Australia won 8-1 last Tuesday as their utter dominance should probably have yielded, the entire white noise about replacing Ange “straight away” (seriously, Robbie, with whom??) would, to quote Monty Python, cease to be.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 2:12pm
            Nemesis said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

            Thank you, apaway!

            You’ve nailed it perfectly & expressed my thoughts perfectly … albeit, far more politely than I ever manage. 🙂

            Also, I think this opinion piece by Craig Foster is sensational. He understands what the peanut gallery cannot see.

            The next cycle will be about versatility


            • Roar Rookie

              September 11th 2017 @ 5:18pm
              Stevo said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

              Why isn’t the next cycle occurring now? What are we waiting for?

              • September 11th 2017 @ 5:43pm
                Nemesis said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

                In any organisation in any industry, major cultural change will be a staged process. Hopefully, this is the major change that will set us up for the next 50 years.

              • Roar Rookie

                September 11th 2017 @ 6:23pm
                Stevo said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:23pm | ! Report

                I interpreted Foz’s comment differently. Versatility can also be a state that we adopt now. It doesn’t need decades to evolve it can be a game plan that the gaffer has in his back pocket that is pulled out as the circumstances require. That is, flexibility in game plan that we don’t have now. Maybe a subtle criticism of our current setup. Who can read the mind of Foz?

              • September 11th 2017 @ 6:50pm
                Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

                My understand of Foz’s versatility comment is: during a game, changing the system from one that’s not working to another, during the game. That is to say switching from one system to another in the match. Who does this? Ancelotti, Guardiola and Conte do. I’m certain this is what Foz has observed and wants the next generation coaches to be able to do—being more adaptable.

              • Roar Guru

                September 11th 2017 @ 8:15pm
                Griffo said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:15pm | ! Report

                Yes this was my interpretation as well Caltex. Hiddink prepped the 2006 WC team for certain eventualities and there’s no reason an Aussie coach can’t do the same over a few camps over a period of time…

          • September 11th 2017 @ 2:54pm
            Post_hoc said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

            Interesting the rumor mill is reporting that Bozza and Slater have had their salary cut and have been notified that they will be used less in football broadcasts. Sounds like Ange has survived and they have not.

            The rumor also said that Mark Rudan will not have contract renewed. I am less happy about that as I enjoy is tactical breakdown.

            I would rather a tactical breakdown like his rather than another talking head. Australians in general need a better grasp on the tactical/technical and less on the opinions. So I hope the rumor isn’t true.

            • September 12th 2017 @ 7:46am
              chris said | September 12th 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

              Not sure why Bozza would have his salary cut? Whilst not always agreeing with him he is one of the highest profile commentators in the game.

              • September 12th 2017 @ 8:09am
                Post_hoc said | September 12th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

                Foxsports don’t have EPL, so he doesn’t have to do anywhere near the amount of work (no all night epl match hosting)

          • September 11th 2017 @ 3:01pm
            Midfielder said | September 11th 2017 @ 3:01pm | ! Report


            As always astute, well structured and considered response.

    • Roar Guru

      September 11th 2017 @ 7:50am
      Grobbelaar said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      You can’t really describe a decorated former socceroo like Bozza as being the peanut gallery, and his central point is certianly worthy of debate.

      It’s amazing that both Pim Verbeek and Holger Osieck were absolutely pilloried but both got us to the WC by this stage of qualifiers. In the case of Pim, we actually equalled the points gained from 2006, our best ever WC result.

      Four years later, for the first time in socceroo history, in 2014, we ended up with three losses and zero points, all under Ange’s tutelage. That was ok because apparently the signs were good that this was a team building for something bigger, and here we are.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 8:27am
        Fadida said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        In fairness we had a horrible group at the WC and it built to a continental title. Unfortunately he’s lost his own way

      • September 11th 2017 @ 12:31pm
        punter said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

        I was at the NPL grand final last yesterday, the player of the match won the award named after Robbie Slater, ‘the former Socceroos great famed for his hard running & tough tackling’, the poster boy of Australian football in the 90s before Kewell.

        Both Pim & Holger achieved results, but our style never changed, Pim’s team in some qualifications were diabolical, but we got results, Holger not so much better & we clearly saw how Holger’s team would perform against better teams in those two 6-0 losses. Please no more.

        Ange deserves criticism & the best is how Fadida puts it, it’s the implementation that is wrong, but his method, trying to drag Australia to the 21st century football is correct. The old chicken & egg theory. He clearly doesn’t have the cattle, but outside 2-3 players, we have never had the cattle, we have always had ‘hard running & tough tackling’ players

        I do not believe in Ange’s implementation & he deserves the criticism & it’s healthy, but in winning the Asian cup is style & changing the way we should play, even though we don’t have the players, I believe he has enough credit for me.

        Some may prefer qualifying again under a Pim or Holger style or maybe a style that Bozza or Robbie Slater professes, I certainly don’t.

        On Tuesday night I saw a Socceroos side totally outplay (yes outplay football) a Thailand side (except score, so maybe the fault there, the bloody goal posts) , instead of over powering Asian sides with our more physical. discipline & professional style of yesteryear.
        Could we have cleared the defensive line with a few more long clearances or pump a few high ball in the direction of Juric & Cahill against a keeper who was a decent shot stopper but poor on the high ball, yes definitely, now is this Ange’s stubbornness, well yes, but is he doing the right thing???? At times I yelled out ‘just get rid of it’, but I’m not the Australian coach.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 7:59am
      Buddy said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      I will take a fair bit of convincing to start believing that there is a coach just waiting for the phone to ring and that there is someone who can transform the team very quickly. There is plenty of talent in the current squad, buT collectively, the team is not performing anywhere near what many of us believe the potential to be. There again, that is true of many national sides, and club sides for that matter.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 8:07am
      Fadida said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      First of all a disclaimer: I have never coached an international men’s senior football team. By the reckoning of some that means that only Ange and Arnie are allowed to comment on any football related matters concerning our NT. Out of intetest, by extension does that mean no one can comment on or criticise politicians and policy unless they have served in parliament? No political talk in the nemesis household/social circle I presume? My word the papers will be thin.

      To you Mike, you are also a member of the peanut gallery as you call it. If criticism of Ange can’t come from the gallery, nor can support. Unless you have coached a national side of course?

      You say Ange had money in the bank from the Asian Cup in 2015. Agreed. However I ask at what point does that credit run out? Is it out if we fail to qualify, which is now 50/50 at best? How long do increasingly erratic selections, poor performances and disappointing results have to continue until credit runs out? We know Ange is off, but if he wasn’t how long should we tolerate an obvious deterioration? Would we let him fail in this campaign and the Asian Cuo, or would he deserve another WC campaign (and I repeat this is hypothetical)

      Ange isn’t to blame for hitting the post but he is responsible for being narrow v Japan at home, for continually selecting out of form, fitness and position players (for some reason Kruse comes to mind), and for making a mid campaign formation change with pretty disastrous results.

      Results Mike, results. Even the peanut galley understand them

      • September 11th 2017 @ 9:32am
        Post_hoc said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        How else can I say this, but pull your head in mate. The oh me oh my is not funny, it is not making a point, it makes you simply sound like a 14 yr old school boy upset over not getting something.

        Mike and others are not saying the peanut gallery are criticizing Ange, he said they are calling for him to be sacked. And know one is saying you can’t comment unless you have coached a national team.

        What has been and continues to be said is, yes make comments, etc but I would tend to put more faith in a person that has coached at a high level than someone from a sports forum. If that gets your nose out of joint, all i can say is suck it up cindy.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 2:44pm
          Fadida said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

          These are valid questions. How long should we tolerate a downturn in results? “Suck it up Cindy” now there’s the intelligent debate Ange was hoping to have.

          Oh, and by saying you’d rather put your faith in “someone who has coached at the highest level” you have actually said that Ange is above criticism, which was my point! Who is allowed to critique him then, as only Ange and Arnold have coached at the “highest level” in Australia?

          • September 11th 2017 @ 3:04pm
            Post_hoc said | September 11th 2017 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

            Actually Ange isn’t above criticism, I have said that and loads of people have said that. Mike’s article and my comment is about the knee jerk reaction to sack him, sack him.

            There are many many commentators who have coached at the highest level, I would love to hear comments from Rudan or Aloisi or Kossi, they may not have coached a National team but they have coached at high levels. Funny enough it is all those that are quiet on it.

            Have we really had a downturn in results? As for Cindy, you and others are the ones complaining that when you are questioned about your credentials. The simple fact is your opinions should matter less, the fact that you seem to complain when this is pointed out beggars belief, yet another day another post you are complaining that these facts are pointed out to you.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 6:52pm
              Caltex TEN & SBS support Australian Football said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

              Aloisi, had stated he wants to stick by AP.

              • September 12th 2017 @ 10:01am
                Post_hoc said | September 12th 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

                Thanks for that, I hadn’t heard, it it is good to hear that

              • September 14th 2017 @ 6:13pm
                hogdriller said | September 14th 2017 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

                Well he is after all, implementing the “back 3” at Brisbane just like Ange has with the NT.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 8:19am
      j,binnie said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      Mike – This is a strange article from you,a reporter I have always assumed had your fingers on the pulse of football in this country. You put forward rather lame arguments as to why AP should be given the chance to take us through to Russia. As he is under contract till the end of this present campaign has that ever been an issue,especially, as you say, to a cash -strapped FFA who probably can’t afford to sack him at pay out figures before procuring another highly priced “gypsy” from the available “suitor pool”.?
      There are 2 “sure things” in a coach’s life,(1) he is going to die and (2) he is going to get the sack.Most coaches know this.and accept the fact,hence the high cost of hiring such people (and of course firing them as well)
      What is puzzling about Ange’s tenure is the subtle changes that have taken place since he first took over. Then he filled his admirers with hope laying down certain levels of performance that had to be attained by players if they were to be considered for the national team..Since that time certain realities have come home to roost for AP, an”apprentice” international team coach with a pool of available players stretched from here to Woop,Woop.
      To experienced football watchers like you this would come as no surprise but to the long suffering fan who had listened and taken on board AP’s stated principles,there is a certain type of “betrayal ” in recent selections where players with no recent football under their belts have been preferred to others playing every week.
      When results did not come up to scratch it is understandable that some of those self same lovers of the “new broom” approach initiated by AP start to question his suitability for such a difficult football job.
      Personally I don’t think it is the “man” these fans are criticising,it is the turnabout in those self same principles he laid down as his preferred guide lines for Socceroo selection that appear to have been consigned to the waste bin.
      That disappointment is now starting to manifest itself in columns like this and should come as no surprise. Cheers jb.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 8:31am
        Fadida said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

        Very well said jb

      • September 11th 2017 @ 9:34am
        chris said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        “There are 2 “sure things” in a coach’s life,(1) he is going to die and (2) he is going to get the sack”
        Unless you are Arsene Wenger : )

        • September 11th 2017 @ 2:44pm
          Fadida said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report


        • September 12th 2017 @ 8:16pm
          soc said | September 12th 2017 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

          Well, Arsene Wenger is still a hundred times better than Ange. Arsene consistently is in the top 5 of the Premier League.

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