Postecoglou ‘gave up’ on fight to change Australian football
LONDON – Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou said he “gave up” the fight to transform Australian football, speaking of his intense frustrations as he battled to raise the profile of the sport in his home country.
The former Australia men’s boss, who has taken Spurs to the top of the English Premier League since joining them in July, is pessimistic about the state of the game in the nation despite its recent hosting of the Women’s World Cup, in which the Matildas finished fourth.
Postecoglou said the Asian Cup win he masterminded on home soil in 2015 “didn’t make an impact back there and that was kind of my frustration”.
“When you look at what the Matildas did at the World Cup, unbelievable, but you still won’t see an influx of resources to the game. You won’t. I guarantee it,” he added, ahead of Australia’s friendly match against England at Wembley on Friday.
“They’ll build stadiums and other codes will use them.
“I just don’t think the nation as a whole has that inside them to understand you can make an impact on the world of football but it requires a kind of nationalistic approach that I just don’t think Australians – at their core – are really interested in.”
Postecoglou said it was difficult for football to compete against established sports such as Australian rules football, rugby league and rugby union.
The 58-year-old also does not expect his high-profile appointment in England to change the landscape of football in Australia.
“I don’t. I don’t know and maybe that’s just me, not being cynical, but I gave up that fight,” he explained.
“It’s a much easier space for me to live in because I was so frustrated for so long.
“It was my biggest frustration. One of my major drivers for doing what I did was to do that – to change football in Australia – and that’s the reason I left.
“I felt I hadn’t made an impact at all. That’s easier for me to deal with than to think maybe I still can now with what I’m doing.
“I just think I’d be disappointed, so I’d prefer to think it’s not going to happen.”
Postecoglou walked away from the Socceroos job after helping them qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, taking up a role in Japan with Yokohama F. Marinos.
After a tough debut season, he guided them to their first J.League title in 15 years in 2019 and became the first Australian coach to win a title in Japan’s top tier.
“I walked away from a World Cup. We qualified and I walked away. The reason I walked away was I just didn’t enjoy what I was doing,” said Postecoglou, who also guided Scottish club Celtic to a treble before joining Spurs.
“It’s not just doing the job and winning games of football, it’s got to be a higher purpose.
“My higher purpose in Australia was to change the game. I just don’t think that will happen.” - AFP