Oh Ange, how we hardly knew you.
The Postecoglou era seems to have come to an abrupt end, with rumours mounting that he will not be continuing his managerial role of the young Socceroos squad into the highly anticipated World Cup in Russia next year.
This came after the Socceroos barely scraped past Syria in their recent playoff match, due to familiar Tim Cahill heroics.
However, what does this mean for Australia’s footballing future?
It not like Ange had not taken the squad to any success, coming in the form of the 2015 Asian Cup which was held on home soil.
Yet he has come under scrutiny time and time again, like most managers obviously, yet without the proud footballing heritage the likes of Brazil and Italy for instance seem to have.
So why has he been slandered so heavily in the media?
At the helm for only 45 games so far, his win percentage is at a measly 44% with only 20 wins, but is he really to blame for a stale talent pool?
That’s a question for a whole other argument, but his reign as the head of the Socceroos has come in a period of time in which the expectation for the squad is surprisingly high considering the depth of the actual team.
This all started in the 2005-06 season when Dutch manager Guus Hiddink was given the managerial duties and inevitably took Australia into the World Cup finals in Germany and even better out of the group stages, only to be beaten controversially by Italy in the round of 16, who would go on to win that year’s tournament.
Since then, Australia has qualified for each world cup since, and failed to reach the heights set by Guus and his subsequent squad.
If we look at how the Socceroos are portrayed in the current media landscape, it’s nothing compared to the fairy-tale like campaign in 2006.
Since then it has been non-domestic managers with the exception of Graham Arnold shortly after the departure of Hiddink, which does raise an important question.
For the next manager, do we look outside of Australia or do we look within?
Post Hiddink, we had both Pim Verbeek and Holger Osieck as head coach of the Socceroos, both only just winning over 50% of games, combined with a horrific 2010 World Cup Campaign in South Africa and a runner up at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.
There seems to be no correlation with a home-grown manager doing significantly worse or better with the Socceroos.
Let’s also discuss the disdain Verbeek has for Australian Football with his harsh criticism of the A-League and in 2014 completely writing them off against his Netherlands Squad showing absolutely no respect.
If I’m being totally honest, the love affair with big international managers must come to an end.
Their big resumes that feature some of the world’s elite clubs are enthralling obviously, but the understanding of Australia’s ever-changing footballing landscape is highly critical.
They can be told obviously about what players would fit best in the squad, but if they haven’t even watched an A-League game before, left alone actually managed the players within the country, then how can they hold the best interests of Australia at heart?
Combine that with a heavy pay check, it all looks towards an inevitable disaster. So, who would be a perfect fit for the Australia Job?
If we look domestically we can find Tony Popovic, who has had an above average resume after retiring from professional football in 2006. He was an assistant coach at Sydney FC up until 2011, in which he moved to English juggernaut Crystal Palace as a first team coach.
He then obtained his breakout role as the inaugural manager of the Western Sydney Wanderers, taking them to the 2014 AFC Champions Cup final, in which they beat Saudi side Al Hilal.
He now coaches Turkish Super Lig Club Karabukspor. He has a stellar resume and I believe would be a good fit for the Socceroos, as he not only played for them himself but his time in the A-League has granted him amazing knowledge of the Australian footballing landscape, something that a non-domestic manager wouldn’t have.
Although there exists another option yet this may be slightly controversial.
I’m talking about former Australian defender Kevin Muscat.
The man practically lives and breathes Australian football, playing for Melbourne Victory from 2005 – 2011 and then assuming the role as manger in 2013.
Also, being a part of the Socceroos’ coaching staff at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. With all bias aside here, there is no man that understands the footballing climate in Australia like he does, especially with the success he has had at club level, as he completed the double in 2015.
Combine that with his minor experience at the Socceroos and we may have found our fit here.
Let’s hope Ange can finish out his duties on a high and may the next manager take Australia to unprecedented heights.
On to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.