The new and novel doesn’t stay as such for very long: no sooner do we discover some new show, app, book or hobby before the blotches and flaws start appearing.
In the world of football, the grace period for the new is ever shorter. Managers and players are fortunate to be spared for a matter of days – for unconventional appointments like Ange Postecoglou? The cynicism extended long before his arrival.
The first rumours of Ange resembled a Rorsarch test without happy answers; upon hearing his name, images were immediately conjured of Bradley, Deila, Barnes and Caixinha. There were few positives to lean upon, and any fan relying on the club to woo them were sorely let down.
Celtic could have easily won over a large contingent of fans by succinctly and clearly communicating what he has done in his career. Angelos is not a nobody, no embellishments were needed; the curious fans who chose to delve into his colourful career came back almost unanimously positive, Postecoglou is not an unsellable product.
The failures of the club, however, has allowed Ange the opportunity to entice the fans based entirely on his own merits. No Celtic fan can claim to have been won over by an exquisitely produced highlights package, or comprehensive Q&A with the man himself, because Celtic simply haven’t done those things.
Anyone who is now pro-Ange is such purely because of the actions of the man himself, and his impact on the club to date. After an exciting, baffling draw against Midtjylland, Ange is a much more intriguing prospect for any Celtic fans still to be won over.
For the mass of supporters converted by Celtic’s impressive first outing, Postecoglu should feel an immense sense of pride – and a tinge of annoyance. He has done an incredible job in convincing those who need it, but it simply isn’t his remit to do so. It’s in Celtic’s interest to ensure any manager is best placed to succeed, and whilst we shouldn’t descend into popularity contests, likeability is an integral part of that.
For Ange, someone famously reticent and distrustful of the media, to be shouldering this burden himself, is incredibly impressive. There is even an argument to be made that even had the club held the inclination to do their jobs, they wouldn’t have performed them as comprehensively as Ange.
The club’s presentation of itself, from Celtic TV to individual commentators, is notoriously shoddy. By circumventing the banality and inevitable tautology of “official” club communications, Postecoglou has better exemplified what sort of man he is than the club would have ever been capable of.
If Angelos Postecoglou is a success at Celtic, it will be a result of his own efforts and qualities. The club could, and should, be doing more, but in an increasingly opaque industry – with niche background roles around every corner, it’s refreshing to see someone as honest as Ange.
By Declan Sutherland