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If football is life, I want Ange to be my coach

The no-nonsense Aussie football coach who is working miracles in the sport’s toughest competition has a new fan in Rebecca Levingston.

Oct 25, 2023, updated Oct 25, 2023
Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou reacts on the sideline during his team's Premier League match against Fulham this week. (John Walton/PA Wire).

Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou reacts on the sideline during his team's Premier League match against Fulham this week. (John Walton/PA Wire).

There’s a new man in my marriage. His name is Ange.

I love him. But not as much as my husband.

Ange Postecoglou. Big Ange. The Manager of Tottenham Hotspur. Creator of Ange Ball.

He has my football loving husband up at all hours of the night to watch him in action. And now I can’t look away either. Because there’s something special about this coach. Not just for his players, but for all of us. Socceroo turned guru. The wisdom of Ange is now on show globally and in my lounge room weekly.

This gruff, grisly Aussie who yells on the sidelines of the English Premier League has fans enamoured and opponents enthralled. In post match press conferences Ange clears his throat and clears the air in a way that only the coaching greats can do.

Ange was born in Greece, but grew up in Melbourne. He played for Australia and has coached all over the world. His first international posting was in Japan, but it was as Manager of Celtic in Scotland where his approach won all the trophies.

What is Ange Ball? The nickname for the style of play Postecoglou nurtures. Fearless attack. Ange encourages his players to be relentless with or without the ball. It’s a determination on the pitch he expects regardless of ego or star power. He’s like a dad you never want to disappoint. And when he wins, you get a humble fist pump. A gentle grey grin. Occasionally two hands in the air, but he’s never boastful.

People like the way Ange speaks in press conferences because he’s open, honest and engaging. He cracks a joke but doesn’t suffer fools. He can be sharp, but never rude.

There’s a character in Ted Lasso, the fictional football series who’s catchphrase was “Football is life.” So too, for Ange.

Last week, as the world watched in horror at the conflict unfolding in the Middle East, Ange was peppered with questions from journalists about the Israel Gaza War. Spurs are a club with historic Jewish roots. Ange answered authentically.

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“Like everyone else I’m a human being and you struggle with these things. My life experience has taught me not to judge. I’ll let the people (directly) affected by it be the guide in these things because it’s very easy for others to cast judgement. Football… the greatest role it can play, it sounds trivial at times, but it can be a form of escapism with that 90-95 minutes where you can take people who are struggling with whatever they are in life… away from it for a little while. Provide small solace or comfort or even a little bit of joy.”

Ange’s own experiences as an immigrant shaped his comments in 2021 when one of his players was subject to racial abuse. He had no time for ignorance.

“People are more than well aware of what’s right and wrong. Just be a decent human being and treat people with respect.” That’s Ange. Relentless pursuit of integrity. On and off the field.

More recently the Manager shared a golden moment with a young fan at a Tottenham club Q&A. Right at the end of the session, as the host tried to wrap things up, Ange made sure that Owen, who has Down syndrome, got to ask the final question about the goals for the season.

Ange listened and responded earnestly. “We’ll do our best. We understand what it means to all of you.” The crowd erupted in applause. Owen looked overjoyed. Simple, respectful, kind.

If you want to know why there’s another catchphrase I’ve adopted in my house thanks to Coach Postecoglou, just Google “Ange, enjoy your lunch”. Language warning! But it’s worth it to give you a boost from the life coach you didn’t know you needed til you met Big Ange.

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