As some Celtic players return to training at Lennoxtown this morning, Ange Postecoglou’s influence is also being felt across world football.
Ange will become the first Australian coach to manage in the Champions League group stages this season which is giving many other Aussie coaches inspiration.
John Hutchinson worked alongside Ange at Yokohama F. Marinos and has spoken about the influence he has had on his coaching career so far.
“I always wanted to become a manager,” said John Hutchinson speaking to [KEEP UP].
“When Ange left for Celtic and nothing eventuated from there, my mind and heart was set on becoming a manager. I wanted to find a club that want to win and grow in all areas. I had opportunities to stay in Japan as an assistant but I just felt like it was time to become my own manager. I actually really enjoy coaching abroad.
“The initial convos, it really interested me and something I pushed for. What I want to create is a new vision and way of playing. They played good football previously but I want to improve and grow that.
“As everyone would tell you with Ange, I’ve had seven months of my football life ever.
“I always describe it as a jigsaw puzzle – holes are missing and you need to add pieces in. Working with Ange, those pieces were flying in. There’s always holes and you want to keep developing as a coach. No point saying you’re complete and this is how you’re going to play for the rest of your life, that’s not how football works. It’s organic and changes all the time.”
New Celtic coach Harry Kewell will be looking to have a similar experience to Hutchinson after arriving at Celtic this summer. People are excited by Postecoglou’s vision of the game and have a desire to work alongside him.
When Hutchinson, like so many of us were struggling during the pandemic, he reached out to Postecoglou and was surprised when he received a sharp reply.
“I was in Seattle when COVID hit and I didn’t know who to reach out to. I was really struggling, I didn’t know whether to stay or go. It’s easy to come home.
“I actually jumped on LinkedIn and sent Ange Postecoglou a message, pretty much saying ‘hey, I’m struggling’, not expecting a reply. That night I received a really nice message back from him. I didn’t know the guy, I’d said hello once to him before. He sends me this message of hang in there etc. I woke up in the morning with renewed energy. A few months later he contacted me about a position opening. We spoke for an hour and I literally accepted on the spot. Didn’t know anything, finances or anything. Literally told my wife: who turns down the chance to work with Ange?”
This appears to be a reoccurring theme when both players and coaches speak about working with Ange as Matt O’Riley, Kewell and Benjamin Siegrist have outlined in the press recently.
“That first week in Japan I didn’t sleep. The intensity of training, it blew me apart. I’d never seen anything like it. I know Japanese players are really good but these guys were really, really good.
“All of a sudden I’m in this environment that is challenging and difficult. When I felt like ‘okay I’m in and I’ve got it’, you don’t have anything because Ange would re-challenge you. There would be more and more. There was no time where I felt we had this. Every stage we needed more and more to challenge the players and our staff.
“I know Pete Cklamovski (now in charge of Montedio Yamagata in J2 League) and Arthur Papas (Newcastle Jets head coach) were there. They built this training culture, which Ange is the main component to, but it’s the best training culture I’ve ever been involved in from a player or coaching point of view.
“The learning aspect; I remember waking up one morning and I sent through the training program the night before for the session and waking up in a rush, jumping out of bed because I made a mistake. I’m awake at 3 in the morning changing the plan and apologising.
“The guy cares. People want to win everywhere but the will to win for him and the way he sees football… people say it’s like a diploma in football working with him, but it’s much more than that.
“He doesn’t say much. There could be days where I’m greeting him in the morning and not saying much at all. But the nurture, leadership and love for the players, even his distance in the way he works, you feel it.
“All the players know everyday counts, every minute. How you turn up and present yourself, to training, games and video, everything counts. It was lifechanging. I always had a philosophy of possession and attacking football but it’s completely changed and gone to another level. He helped me grow that…
“When he was going to Celtic I saw a couple of comments, like some guy on radio laughing and saying: who is this guy? I was laughing because I was like: you don’t know who you have coming to your club.
“Here is our guy, who everybody in Australia and Asia should get behind and back because he is changing the game for us. He has the weight of Australia and Asia on his shoulders right now. We need him to do well because as a coach, I want avenues open.”
Upon reading comments like this, you once again realise how lucky we are to have Ange as our manager currently. We were told by many different sources in Australia that the gaffer didn’t get properly started until the second season.
Bring it on!