The Age of Ange – Two years of joy and a lifetime lesson

Thank You Ange – 2 Years of Joy And A Lifetime Lesson

You will not find a bigger Ange Postecoglou fan than I. Since he arrived at the club, I can confidently say I abstained from the outrage and disappointment that swallowed large swathes of the Celtic support like a tidal wave.

Instead of delighting in mispronouncing his name and denouncing him for building his career in the supposed ‘footballing backwaters’ of Japan and Australia, I chose (for once) to keep my own counsel. I immediately downloaded a copy of Ange’s book Changing the Game, first published in 2016. In it, I found the words of a man who spoke my footballing language. He talked about exciting football – a brand of swashbuckling, attacking play that made my mouth water. More than that, though, I read of the story of Greek immigrant parents, migrating with their children to Australia for a better life.”My parents did not have a better life,” he previously told The Scotsman, “they went to Australia to provide opportunities for me to have a better life.”

With that, I thought we had found the perfect man. A man who could combine his love of playing the way Celtic fans want our team to play – the Celtic way, if you will – with a deep knowledge and understanding of the social factors that formed the foundations of our club.

What has followed has been two years of almost unbridled joy. Five out of six domestic trophies have been won and some more memorable European moments have been made. Perhaps the highlight of the latter was the chance to test ourselves against the true European might of Real Madrid. For many Celtic fans, myself included, the opportunity to witness this was the first in a generation. We may not have come out on top in either tie but there was still something special about those nights.

As well as on the field, there has been an off the field effect that I’ll be forever grateful to Ange for instigating during his tenure. The manner in which Brendan Rodgers departed, and some of the comments made by Neil Lennon as pressure built during his second stint in charge left me, as a Celtic fan, feeling devalued and disrespected. I was made to feel that being a supporter of my club did not matter and, whilst I am fully aware that there are more important things in life, it’s the less important things that can make all those serious matters so much easier to deal with.

When Ange spoke to, or about, the Celtic support, he did so with respect. He defended us, he valued us and he understood what it meant for our week-to-week existence that our team was producing football we could enjoy and be proud of. To the great satisfaction of the support, he questioned narratives and traditions so deeply embedded in Scottish football that it’s almost hard to identify them at this point. He held people to account when they asked questions of him that he felt were irrelevant or inappropriate and made clear, at all turns, that he was interested only in what was best for Celtic. Yes, he could be abrasive – and yet, he managed to remain personable and humble. It was a marvel to watch.

You’ll understand, then, why the vacancy at Tottenham Hotspur incited anxiety amongst the Celtic support. Whilst our manager’s name was not initially linked to the London club’s manager role, we all knew, on some level, it would be an enticing proposition if presented to him. Feyenoord manager Arnie Slot was first approached for the role. When he knocked it back, names including Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann were then floated. Again, no dice. That’s when the dreaded rumours began that our manager, Ange Postecoglou, had attracted attention of owner Daniel Levy and was high on his list.

At the time of writing, the Scottish Cup final has passed and Ange secured his first Treble with Celtic. Throughout the build up and post match celebrations, preparations and celebrations were marred by unrest around his apparently imminent exit. When asked, Ange was anything but forthcoming. He talked about not wanting to distract his team or supporters from the cup final. That is a noble sentiment but it did not make sense. Clarification that he was staying would have dispelled any distraction and settled the minds of both fans and players. As it was, Treble celebrations came and went, muted by the thoughts of what news may be to come.

It now looks certain that, by the time this piece is published, Ange Postecolgou will no longer be Celtic manager. Two years of success and entertainment will come to an end. And, whilst I’m grateful for everything the big Australian has done and what he has given to the club, I’m also grateful for the life lesson he has unwittingly taught me.

From now on, I will no longer believe the beat on the chest, the clenched fists and the talk of being at Celtic “for as long as the club want me.” To me, Ange is about as morally sound a guy as we’ve ever had in charge and yet, the lure of the Premier League still remained too much. His words, whilst stirring, ultimately proved empty. That will be the same for any future manager at Celtic. No matter what soundbites they provide, no matter how much they express their love for our club and what it means – they will never be us. 

They will never have been born into supporting Celtic. They will never know what it’s like to still love this club even at its lowest troughs, or the elation that comes at its highest peaks. Only we, as true Celtic supporters will understand that because – in the words of the immortal Tommy Burns:

“We’re there and we’re always there.”

So to Ange, thank you. Thank you for sorting the club out in a time of crisis and providing joy and entertainment to thousands every week for the past two years. I wish you the best and will follow your progress closely. To the rest of my fellow Celtic supporters – hold your head up high and don’t be afraid of the dark. No individual has brought about the end of this club and none ever will. Regardless of who takes the reigns, we will be there next season and every season after. We are Celtic supporters, faithful through and through.


  1. Thank you Laura you put my thoughts and feelings into words I could,nt. Your final paragraph should be on the next TIFO at Celtic Park.

  2. On second thoughts make that your last 3 paragraphs.

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