ANGE POSTECOGLOU confirmed his move to Celtic might not have happened had Athens not pulled the plug on talks 24 hours prior to a Celtic phone call.
At the eleventh hour, the Eddie Howe deal fell apart, leaving Celtic caught with their pants down ahead of a rebuild season. Peter Lawwell has since made it clear Ange was on a list of managers the club were keeping an eye on, and when the Howe deal collapsed, they quickly put a plan in place to bring Ange to Celtic Park.
At the same time, the now title-winning Celtic boss was fielding interest from basketcase Greek side AEK Athens. There was interest from Athens to bring the manager over from Japan to Greece, where he was born and grew up as a young lad before moving to Australia.
Speaking to RecordSport as the dust settles on the Premiership, Ange reveals the sliding door moment and admitted it was a pretty crazy set of circumstances that got him to Glasgow.
Postecoglou confirmed: “AEK was a possibility, almost at the same time as Celtic.
“It was a sliding doors moment. At that time of year, clubs are looking for managers and we got really close.
“They went another way and literally a day after that I got a call from Peter Lawwell.
“I then had a chat with Dermot Desmond and it was done within 24 hours.
“But that’s been my career as a manager. Things have just happened without me really seeking it.
“I have tried to do the best I can in the role I have and, by having success, opportunities come along.
“It was difficult to see myself on this side of the world.
“I had brief chats with people, but there was still no recognition of what I had achieved.
“It was going to take the stars to align for me to get an opportunity. It’s worked out and I couldn’t be happier.”
Speaking about being on Celtic’s radar, Ange revealed he had no idea it was the case and later found out it was Peter’s son Mark Lawwell who tipped off his Dad about Ange due to his City Group connections and the link-up with Yokohama Marinos.
“I wasn’t aware I was on Celtic’s list before that.” Ange confessed.
“The hard part for me was: How was I ever going to get this side of the world to notice somebody like me doing his stuff in leagues and countries that Europe will rarely have a look at?
“I guess the fortunate thing for me was that I was at Yokohama, who had a link with Europe by being part of the City Group.
“Again, fate put its hand in and there was a connection with Peter and Mark Lawwell, who is now coming to us.
“For someone like me to end up in a job like this, it would have to be some sort of bizarre set of circumstances for it to happen.
“I couldn’t have done any more than I’d done, to be honest. But, otherwise, I don’t think I’d have got a look-in.”
Mark will now join the club and work with Ange on securing more talent going forward. After winning the league in his first season in charge of the club, the manager will be tasked with retaining the title and making a dent in Europe.
As for the Athens jobs, they’ve had THREE managers this season as they look to find some sort of success. Ange could’ve been one of those casualties.
“That isn’t unusual to be fair. And I was well aware of what I was walking into.
“You try to back yourself in those times and in those situations, but it worked out for the best.”