Greece and Australia are reveling at the prospect of soccer coach Angelos (Ange) Postecoglou joining English giants Tottenham, after an incredibly successful spell at Scottish champions Celtic.
The Greek Australian coach is set to become a Premier League manager, with Tottenham expected to offer a two-year contract with an option for a further season, The Guardian reports.
Postecoglou was born in the Athenian suburb of Nea Philadelphia. After his father, Dimitris (“Jim”), lost his business following the 1967 Greek military coup, Postecoglou emigrated to Australia by boat in 1970 at the age of five, growing up in Melbourne, Victoria.
Ange Postecoglou started football with South Melbourne Hellas
The Melburnian’s career started as a nine-year-old with South Melbourne Hellas a semi-professional soccer club based in the suburb of Albert Park, founded in 1959 by Greek migrants following World War II.
South Melbourne was formed in 1959 with the amalgamation of three struggling Melbourne soccer clubs—South Melbourne United, the oldest of the three clubs with a history dating back to the early 1900s—the Greek-backed Yarra Park Aias (Ajax), and Hellenic.
Theo Marmaras, initiator of the merger proposal and president of Hellenic, became the first president of the new club.
In recognition of the large Greek Australian support base of Hellenic and Yarra Park, which were also the best-supported of the three clubs, the new club was named South Melbourne Hellas, the name by which it was to be known for the majority of its 50 years. The first emblem reflected the color scheme of the Greek national flag.
He said in a 2018 interview that his father, who died the very same year, worked hard every day of his life:
“People say they go to another country for a better life. My parents did not have a better life, they went to Australia to provide opportunities for me to have a better life.”
Father and son had time together only during their outings together to association football games, from where young Ange got a life-long “fascination” with the sport.
He said of his management “My motivation is always to produce teams [my] dad would enjoy watching.” Postecoglou also grew up supporting Liverpool and AEK Athens.
Postecoglou is held in high esteem in Australia and Greece
Postecoglou is held in high esteem not just by Greeks and Greek Australians but also in Australian football circles.
Postecoglou felt he needed to head overseas to accomplish his ambitions but he didn’t flee at the first opportunity and never look back. He was molded by Australian football and, to this day, wants the best for it.
He won national titles as a player with South Melbourne Hellas– and also represented the Socceroos four times during his playing career – before coaching them to back-to-back national titles.
He mentored possibly the finest side in Australian domestic football history, leading Brisbane Roar to a record-setting 36-game unbeaten run and an A-League title. He coached the Socceroos at the 2014 World Cup, guided them to qualification for 2018 and delivered an Asian Cup in between.
Australian football helped shape Postecoglou into the coach he is today and he will now, entirely on merit, take charge of a team that just four years ago appeared in a Champions League final.