Postecoglou is certainly big enough, smart enough, and wise enough to deal with the weight of expectation.
And so a nation waits with bated breath. 'Aussie' Ange, who wore the green and gold as a player, will now wear the same colours as the coach. It's a sea change in every sense, for the fans, for the pundits, for the administrators, for the directors, but - most importantly of all - for the players. The game against Costa Rica marks the beginning of a new road, a journey which - based on his contract - could see Postecoglou in the role for the next five years. Even if that's not how things work out, my instinct tells me the die has been cast. Like all serious football nations, we are now ready to back our own coaches, and not before time. Postecoglou, seemingly, got the job at the head of a shortlist of three homegrown candidates. I'd wager that list will be a lot longer when the times comes to choose his successor - a testament to how much our game has grown up.
Postecoglou is certainly big enough, smart enough, and wise enough to deal with the weight of expectation. Bite off more than you can chew, and then chew like mad. It's the Ange Way, it's how he gets his juices flowing. And when there's the right mix of tension, agitation, angst, and even anger in the air, that's when he does his best work. In the build-up to Game One against 'Los Ticos', there's no shortage of frisson, that's for sure. It's going to be a fascinating debut, whichever way you look at it. Can a coach sell tickets? Normally, no. But I'd reckon a decent percentage of the punters who will be descending on Allianz Stadium will be as interested in the tactics, formation and selections of the new coach as they will be in the occasion. That's the sort of buzz that Postecoglou's appointment has created.
Not just here, incidentally. Some of the first calls Postecoglou received came from journalists in Greece, where he was born, where he holidays, and where he briefly coached in the third-tier with Panachaiki. He's destined to become only the second Greek-born coach (after Alketas Panagoulias) to coach at the World Cup, a newsworthy event according to the Athens scribes. If the Socceroos are, by chance, drawn against Greece (who are in a play-off against Romania), watch the story grow.
But right now he's our story, and he belongs to us. Much as Postecoglou is proud of his heritage, his football DNA was created, nurtured, and developed in Australia, and it was the strength of his mission to rekindle the sense of patriotism in and around the squad which convinced Frank Lowy to give him the job as much as anything else. If you doubt how fair dinkum he is about putting the pride back in the shirt, watch his space. Players who talk about their own hopes for Brazil, rather than the team's hopes for Brazil, won't last long. And, yes, that will apply to all of the so-called big names in the team. They're on notice, and they need to respond to the new era in the right way. And they need to do that straight away.
Postecoglou prefers to make informed decisions, but also quick decisions. The old guard will be given the chance to step up to the plate against Costa Rica, but that's it. With only two, possibly, three more games before the World Cup squad has to be named, there's no time to linger. For the best part of seven years, the so-called 'Golden Generation' has been indulged, on and off the field. Not any more. Much as he wanted the job, Postecoglou wouldn't have taken it unless he was given the backing, and the imprimatur, to do things his way. I can't recall a previous national coach having the political power behind him that Postecoglou has right a this moment. He'll use it to maximum effect. Not for himself, but for the team.
Can you really turn back the clock and re-create the 'Club Socceroos' culture we haven't since since the era of Frank Arok? Postecoglou thinks so, and that's what makes his appointment so significant. A thoroughly modern coach with an old-fashioned attitude. An irresistable mix, I reckon.