Ange Postecoglou joining Glasgow giants Celtic would be huge for both club and manager, but the laughable online reaction of their massive fan-base proves just how big a job it will be.
Celtic fans have got it backwards if they think they’re taking a step down by signing Postecoglou.
If anything it’s Postecoglou who’s making the tough choice here. Not only is the J.League a far more technical competition than the Scottish Premier League but it’s also a much tougher league to win.
But what the East End of Glasgow offers that the port city of Yokohama doesn’t is access to one of the biggest and most passionate fan-bases in world football.
And haven’t we seen that in spades across social media over the past 48 hours.
The online reaction of Celtic fans to the news that one of the most closely watched and in-demand coaches in world football is about to join their club has been nothing short of astonishing.
Here’s a club that finished 25 points behind champions Rangers about to appoint their own Marcelo Bielsa, and their fan-base is reacting like Postecoglou is Alan Partridge.
It’s been hard not to laugh. You’d think Celtic just downed Manchester City to win the UEFA Champions League on the weekend, such are the delusions of grandeur.
Never mind that Postecoglou steered an enthusiastic but limited Socceroos side to Asian Cup glory in 2015, beating Son Heung-Min’s technically excellent South Korean team in the final, to say nothing of the five domestic championships under his belt.
It was the 2019 J.League crown that well and truly put Postecoglou on the map of every serious club in Europe, with Yokohama F. Marinos simply tearing the Japanese top flight to shreds with their high-octane brand of relentless attacking football.
Not only did Postecoglou earn high praise from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola after his F. Marinos side bossed City in a friendly, but the former Socceroos tactician proved to the City Football Group then that he was ready to take the next step up.
Celtic fans should consider themselves lucky to have even landed their man, because the prevailing wisdom was that Postecoglou might move to another CFG-backed club, with Spanish battlers Girona long considered a potential candidate.
Instead it looks like one of the game’s most fascinating managers is about to join one half of the Old Firm.
We all know Postecoglou loves a challenge, but the move is not without its potential pitfalls. Celtic fans labelling Postecoglou a ‘nobody’ is a reminder of how little fans in Europe value achievements from outside the continent.
And if Postecoglou was aggrieved with the sort of media coverage he received as Socceroos coach, that’s nothing compared to the pressure cooker that is the Scottish tabloid press.
That’s something he hasn’t had to deal with in the J.League, because not speaking Japanese means he’s largely been insulated from a lot of criticism.
He’ll also be moving from a country where players are conditioned to run through walls for their manager to one where Euro-sized egos are in play.
How Postecoglou manages the Celtic dressing room, let alone a multimillion-pound transfer budget, could well determine his fate.
But what he’ll mostly be judged on is results. As Celtic fans have made abundantly clear online, anything less than winning the Scottish Premier League will be considered a failure.
They’ve got the right coach for the job, then. Celtic’s powerbrokers have no doubt done their homework, and if the reports coming out of Japan are correct, they’re about to land their man.
Along with Leipzig’s newly appointed American manager Jesse Marsch, Postecoglou is waving the flag for football’s new world.
Succeed in Glasgow and a job in the English Premier League awaits.
But this is a tough gig with plenty of potential hurdles. Celtic’s unforgiving fan-base will make sure of that.