Doing it His Way

October 24, 2013 at 10:18 am 4 comments

Yesterday the inevitable happened and Ange Postecoglou was unveiled as the Socceroos fourth Australian coach following Joe Marston, Frank Farina and Graham Arnold. We wish him the best of luck in the job and hope that he manages to find talent capable of playing at the international level, as the task he has been set, ‘to be the number one team in Asia’ by Chairman Frank Lowy will be a tough one. He does however have a five year period in which to achieve that goal, although one feels his future may well be determined by the performance at the Asian Cup which Australia will host in early 2015. A failure to make at least the semi-finals will be a bitter pill for Mr Lowy to swallow.

Which begs the question should the sacking of the national coach be a board decision? Surely the Board are there to steer the game and its administration in the right direction and the CEO the one left to make such decisions and appointments. It was interesting to note that Mr Lowy stated that the appointment of an Australian coach had been ‘the plan for quite a while.’ Yet initially following Holger Osieck’s sacking a number of big international names were mentioned including Guus Hiddink and Gerard Houllier, who it was said was assisting in an advisory role.

To be fair CEO David Gallop was quoted as saying, “It certainly makes sense to have an Australian coach but whether that makes sense right now, is something we need to look at seriously over the next few weeks, it’s not appropriate to go into who has been contacted and who hasn’t but obviously some feelers have been put out.” We may never know how far those feelers reached as prior to the Socceroos game against Canada and with Technical Director Han Berger, head of national performance Luke Casserly and Gallop all in Europe and supposedly sounding out possible candidates, the Chairman announced the next coach would be an Australian.

If polls are to be believed most Australian fans according to the Sydney Morning Herald poll on Oct 12th still wanted a foreign coach (65%). When it was broken down as to which Australia should get the job Postecoglou was the favourite. Surely however the other candidates that Mr Lowy mentioned Graham Arnold and Tony Popovic should have been afforded an interview? After all he was the one who said it was a three horse race. It is hardly a race if you only let one competitor start that race.

It appears that Lowy and FFA CEO David Gallop wanted Melbourne Victory’s Postecoglou all along, which is fair enough. If that is teh case why mention the other candidates? Having said it was a three horse race to not bother to make contact with either Tony Popovic or Graham Arnold to hear their thoughts,  and philosophies on revitalising a short-on resources Socceroos, is both rude and disrespectful.

Having set themselves a two week deadline to find a replacement the FFA focussed their efforts on gaining Postecoglou’s release from his contract with Melbourne Victory rather than carrying out an intensive interview process involving all three candidates. Ange Postecoglou was the people’s choice and may well still have proved to be the best man for the job, but surely the process should have had more integrity. Once again it has left many questioning the power that the Chairman of the FFA wields, and whether it is in fact for the good of the game as a whole. Popovic and Arnold deserved to be treated with more respect.   They were eventually contacted by FFA and were told they had been overlooked for the job. One that they had not been interviewed for or that either actively pursued;  an extremely strange way to carry out a recruitment process.

One of the reasons for Ange Postecoglou’s success is apart from having good people around him is he has always done things his way, and he should be allowed to do that at the national level with the Socceroos. He would do well to keep the following quote in his wallet. Words uttered by the Chairman of the FFA Frank Lowy, a man who likes things to be done the way he believes is right,  “But once we appoint him we can’t tell him what to do.”

We wish Ange Postecoglou all the very best in what will be a tough first 18 months, if he can survive that and arrest Australia’s slide and restore some respectability, he will have the foundations on which to build over the next three years of his tenure. He must however be allowed to do it his way – just as Frank Lowy appeared to recruit the coach, his way.



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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stephen  |  October 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    I wonder what odds you would get on Ange lasting the full five years? As you say if Australia doesn’t perform at the Asian Cup that will be the end.

    As much as I would like to have an Australian coach this is the wrong time, and the wrong reasons for doing it. The FFA realise they do not have the funds for an international coach. Had they not assisted in paying ‘hasbeens’ wages in the A League they may have more in the bank to pay for a decent coach or even development.

    I hear it will be $800 per junior in WA next year, that is a disgrace. Frank Lowy should step aside. If you watched the Press conference yesterday he was an embarrassment as a figurehead.

    There is going to be more pain for football before things are on the right path again.

  • 2. Paul  |  October 25, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Agreed who has lasted 5 years? other than Ferguson?

    Am I only the only one who feels for the crucifixion of the only King of Australian Football not allowed his rightful and earned reign in the holy pilgrimage on the stage of the great greatest show on earth like his messianic predecessors of Rasic, Hiddink and Verbeek were bestowed?

  • 3. Not The Footy Show  |  October 25, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Arsene Wenger has, and both show that if you stick with a coach who knows what he is dong they will bring you results.

    I feel very sorry for Osieck and knowing how popular and respected he was in Europe this will not reflect well on Australia or Mr Lowy.

    Just with the American presidency, two terms as Chairman should have been enough, new blood and new energy needed.

  • 4. Not The Footy Show  |  October 25, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Stephen, I agree time for a new Chair. Have heard similar figures bandied about, if true suddenly the game of the people is becoming elitist in Australia, sad days indeed.


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