How much are we to blame for Postecoglou’s downfall?

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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152 Have your say

    What does it say about Australia as a football nation when the most successful coach we’ve ever had feels like he’s been hounded out of a job?

    Here’s a question: how much does David Gallop know about football?

    It’s not a question we’ve heard much in the wake of The Herald Sun football reporter David Davutovic’s stunning suggestion that Ange Postecoglou will step down as Socceroos coach after next month’s inter-confederation playoff.

    But how much, really, does the chief executive of Football Federation Australia know about the game?

    Not the law. Not the ins and outs of the NRL, where Gallop was CEO for a decade. But international football.

    Because it seems like the most qualified coach the Socceroos have ever had will step down because he can no longer work for an administrator who never once has uttered a word to suggest he knows anything about the world game.

    Fox Sports analyst Mark Bosnich hit the nail on the head when he said Postecoglou’s demeanour changed the minute he was forced to apologise for saying it was “not good enough” for the FFA to be involved in a protracted pay dispute with Professional Footballers’ Australia going into the World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh in September 2015.

    Having been thrown under the bus by his employer, it now looks like the tables have turned.

    And the reward for fans who want nothing more than to forget the politics and simply watch the football is to be lumbered with a set of administrators who have somehow managed to alienate the one coach who managed to guide Australia to a major continental title.

    Socceroos Head Coach Ange Postecoglou (right) chats with assistant coach Aurelio Vidmar

    (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    Is that what they’re getting paid to do?

    That’s not to absolve Postecoglou of responsibility. His actions for the past twelve months have been baffling.

    Either he’s more thin-skinned than anyone imagined, or more likely he’s been planning to exit the international arena for months and figured he might as well go out doing it his way.

    But when his way isn’t working – the back three, the personnel changes, the benching of Aaron Mooy – he has no one else to blame.

    Not Gallop. Not journalists. Not the fans.

    He may have felt like a coach under siege at times, but he’s travelled enough to know that our football environment is nothing compared to the pressure-cookers of Europe and South America.

    So how do we explain the transformation from swashbuckling Asian Cup winner to venom-spitting tactician with a one-way ticket to nowhere?

    Postecoglou’s biography Changing The Game may have spelled out his lofty ambitions, but in the short term his methods simply haven’t worked.

    It’s doubtful FFA understood them anyway. Sometimes the loneliest task can be trying to drag those around you up to your level.

    So what now for the Socceroos? If you believe the rumours, Postecoglou may be sacked before the games against Honduras. Or he may leave of his own volition.

    Ange Postecoglou Football Australia Socceroos 2017

    (AAP Image/Matt Roberts)

    Or maybe he’ll patch things up with his paymasters and lead the Socceroos in Russia after all.

    But in the wake of one of the strangest weeks in Australian football history, that last scenario looks impossible.

    Which is a shame, because Postecoglou should have been the greatest Socceroos coach of all time.

    But he’s tarnished his legacy, in the same way that those who cheapen the value of the jersey by performing goal celebrations for commercial gain have tarnished theirs.

    And we’re left to wonder what role we as football lovers have played in Postecoglou’s impending downfall.

    Because maybe a more mature football nation would have backed its coach more than Australia seems to have done.

    And maybe a mature football nation wouldn’t schedule an opening round of domestic fixtures which are completely overshadowed by the national team’s travails.

    And maybe a more mature football nation wouldn’t have a coach who resigns before a World Cup because not every single thing has gone his way.

    That last one is entirely on Ange.

    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 (152)

    • October 13th 2017 @ 7:16am
      Waz said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      If we dont change the Administration of our game for the better, and soon, we are in for a whole world of hurt. Australia rarely forgives total incompetence, certainly not twice.

      • October 13th 2017 @ 8:51am
        RBBAnonymous said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

        The FIFA normalization committee cant come soon enough.

        • October 13th 2017 @ 9:57am
          Waz said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

          You and me both ?

        • October 15th 2017 @ 12:00pm
          Chopper said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

          The current administration are killing the game and must go ASAP.

    • October 13th 2017 @ 7:48am
      Onside said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:48am | ! Report

      If just one of many shots on goal had gone in during qualifying, this conversation would be moot.

      • October 13th 2017 @ 7:59am
        Fadida said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

        “if” only Vidmar” had taken another of the 10 chances he had v Iran. Thailand would be arguing “if” only the ref had sent off Sainsbury’s, Syria “if” only the ref hadn’t given a second yellow. Shots that hit the post have missed the target

        • October 13th 2017 @ 10:30am
          Lionheart said | October 13th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

          and the shot taker is to blame, the team did well to get him in position to shoot

    • October 13th 2017 @ 7:56am
      Fadida said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      Two points (to start);
      1) he’s not our “most quailified coach ever”. Hiddink and even Osieck have him covered
      2) many mature football nations would have sacked him, rather than backed him by now

      Actually, two more;
      3) we “football lovers” haven’t played a role at all. We are merely having the conversations the coach desired, and asked the. I’m also pretty sure he doesn’t read the Roar, not did we pick a narrow lineup v Japan at home, with only McGowan! providing any width on the right to the 2 target men he chose….
      4) I was waiting for the blame FFA narrative. How is the scheduling of the opening round relevant to the discussion?

      • October 13th 2017 @ 9:47am
        Roarfan said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        Fad, I agree totally with what you have said. Ange should have had to serve an apprenticeship with someone like Hiddink for a couple of years before taking over the National team. He should never have experimented in World Cup qualifying matches and maybe yes maybe we would not be in the position we are n now

      • Columnist

        October 13th 2017 @ 9:55am
        Mike Tuckerman said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        A reply.

        1. CV-wise, perhaps. But they didn’t understand our landscape because they weren’t Australian, which is why blokes like Verbeek saw no problem admitting defeat before a ball had been kicked against Germany in Durban. Would an Aussie have done that?
        2. True.
        3. I’m pretty sure he does.
        4. Are we discussing the A-League? Has anyone this week?

        • October 13th 2017 @ 10:26am
          chris said | October 13th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

          Well Im sure we arent the only country in the world not discussing local domestic comps Mike.
          Its been a heck of a week for all the confederations so I think we can all be excused for not having domestic comps front of mind.
          But I’ll be going Sunday to watch SFC v Wellington : )

          • October 13th 2017 @ 6:02pm
            Matt said | October 13th 2017 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

            I agree with this, this was a week where most of the world was international focused and im not surprised. We are talking the world cup qualifiers in the final hurdles.

        • October 13th 2017 @ 11:38am
          Fadida said | October 13th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          Graham Arnold is Australian, does that make him better qualified than Hiddink. Frank Farina?
          I’m not saying that Hiddink should take over, like all coaches he has a use by date.

      • October 13th 2017 @ 10:34am
        mattq said | October 13th 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

        what a poorly constructed article. it’s all over the place. what point are you trying to make Mike? Is it Ange’s fault, FFA’s or the fans? I’m confused.

        • Columnist

          October 13th 2017 @ 10:38am
          Mike Tuckerman said | October 13th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

          I’m not sure whose fault it is. Your thoughts?

          • October 13th 2017 @ 4:58pm
            Mark said | October 13th 2017 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

            Ange’s fault 100%. If he was in fact so offended at being slapped down for involving himself in something that had nothing to do with him, he should have done the dignified thing and resigned, not carried on like a pork chop ever since.

      • October 14th 2017 @ 10:05pm
        Professor Rosseforp said | October 14th 2017 @ 10:05pm | ! Report

        I don’t know how much David Gallop knows about football, but I would suspect more than most of us fans.
        He certainly knows more about sports management than most of us do, and that’s his job.
        He also knows how rugby league works, I suppose, and he knows a rugby league coach would be sacked if he fiddled with the line-up like Ange Postecoglou did with the Socceroos, before this game. You don’t see changes like this before a State of Origin match, because the coaches are professional.
        Postecoglou has done a good job in many ways, but he is in the difficult position of trying to steer Australia into the top 32 countries when it doesn’t belong there.
        Australia was a first world country, which was able to improve before the rest of football’s minnows were able to, because we were a wealthy country with a lot of advantages. The USA di it on a bigger scale.
        As more underdeveloped countries have more excess money now, we have lost an advantage over them.
        Some of them have a stronger football culture than we do.
        So Postecoglou is fighting against economics and demographics, as well as footballing countries.
        It’s a big ask, and we won’t see an Australian team do as well until football culture changes, demographics change and/or economics change.

        • October 15th 2017 @ 12:04pm
          Chopper said | October 15th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

          Ä Rugby League coach would be sacked if he fiddled with the line up? I have one answer to that Laurie Daly. lol

    • October 13th 2017 @ 8:11am
      Fadida said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      As an aside, thanks to

      The stats show we had 70 goal attempts in our 5 games with a back 4 (45 against) for 9 goals. We had 83 in the 5 with a back 3, of which 45 were at home v the bottom placed Thais (50 against,) for 8 goals.

      At best it’s a 13 shot improvement over 5 games, if you chose to ignore that more than half came in one game. We scored less, conceded more, despite having 3 of the last 5 games at home compared to 2 of the first 5.


      • October 13th 2017 @ 5:48pm
        Lionheart said | October 13th 2017 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

        well I’m pleased that you have at last used something factual
        This is all I have asked for all along. It should be step one.

        • October 13th 2017 @ 7:25pm
          Fadida said | October 13th 2017 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

          Now your turn, give me some analysis….

    • October 13th 2017 @ 8:40am
      stu said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      The CEO does not need to be a football person.
      The coach is employed with very clear KPI’s.
      It will always be a risk for an employee to speak out against an employer in public, directly or indirectly. I don’t believe AP has the ability to adapt and react on his feet.
      He is a one dimensional coach.
      A vast amount of money is laid out for the national team, and as a pay cheque for AP. Anyone not performing and bordering on childish behaviour needs to be replaced as the national team charachter and reputation is the greater cause.

      • October 13th 2017 @ 10:55am
        R King said | October 13th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

        Stu, If the KPI’s are/were just qualify for Russia and this is achieved, then why are we even discussing the style of game we play or the line ups? KPI achieved end of story.

        However, if we are saying we want to win in style and never lose or draw against others in our confederation, then that’s another set of KPI’s. an unachievable one I might add.

        • October 13th 2017 @ 12:08pm
          stu said | October 13th 2017 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

          No indication from myself that he has not reach the KPI given to him.
          The reference for me suggesting he move on is more to do with his character and ability, which I don’t think is a good fit for a position that is well renumerated. In other words he is sending too many signals that the job is too great for him to handle.

    • Roar Rookie

      October 13th 2017 @ 8:52am
      Stevo said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Mike, that’s a potpourri of issues you’ve constructed. If we qualify Ange may believe that he’d be better off chasing down a club gig for 2018 rather than going to Russia to do what? We’re hardly likely to win the cup, maybe not even get out of the group stage so what’s in it for Ange? Nothing. Just wasting 6 months when he could be negotiating a club deal in Europe.

      • October 13th 2017 @ 9:09am
        Gavin R said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        If that’s the case, then he’s basically admitting the players arent good enough and that he camnot do anything noteworthy with who we have got at the cup.

        • October 13th 2017 @ 10:38am
          mattq said | October 13th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

          but it’s true

          • October 13th 2017 @ 11:17am
            Gavin R said | October 13th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

            Sporting history is littered with over achieving results. IF this is his belief; which i do not believe is, then he is no longer the right person for the job. The attitude is all wrong.

            • Columnist

              October 13th 2017 @ 12:13pm
              Mike Tuckerman said | October 13th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

              The irony is that Postecoglou has been telling anyone who’ll listen that his methods will be vindicated in Russia. Now what?

              • October 13th 2017 @ 12:20pm
                Gavin R said | October 13th 2017 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

                There are no facts to suggest he is leaving.

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