Opinion: Ange Postecoglou the man to rescue the Socceroos

The hunt is on to find a coach capable of reviving Australia's fortunes. With FFA opting to go local, they will struggle to look past Melbourne Victory's man of the moment
Do you remember the mantra of Daniel Craig's character in Layer Cake? 'Have a plan, and stick to it.'

Ange Postecoglou is undeniably a man with a plan, and it looks like he is about to be given the chance to rescue Australia's national team.


Because it is high time this country's football authorities put their faith in a 'conviction coach'. And by that, we don't mean Frank Farina.

A 'conviction coach' is someone with a philosophy, a crystal clear idea of how the game should be played, unswerving in their belief that it is the right way and will prevail. A conviction coach stands up for what they believe in.

The last two men to serve as head coach of the Socceroos, Holger Osieck and Pim Verbeek, stood for very little during their time on these shores.

Least of all did they stand for what is good and could be better about Australian football and its players.

That's not their fault. They were hired to do a job and they both made a decent fist of it, qualifying their team for the World Cup.

But a crucial period in modern Australian football, in which age steadily caught up with a group of supremely talented players, required more than the relative lip service paid to the long-term needs of the national team by Verbeek and then Osieck.

That neglect has left the Socceroos in a mess, overly reliant on their golden oldies - now creaky and cranky in equal measure - with the callow youths yet to prove their worth, both as players and men, if Lucas Neill is to be believed.

What will it take to put things right?

Courage. Decisiveness. A clear goal to work toward and a strategy that can make it happen. Ange Postecoglou has proven himself to possess all these attributes.

The other two leading candidates to take over the Socceroos, Graham Arnold and Tony Popovic, are both capable of doing a good job.

But do they have the unshakeable belief and fervour of Postecoglou?

It is not merely results and titles, but the evangelical passion with which he has discussed the state of the national team and the wider game which has separated the Melbourne Victory coach from his rivals early in the race for the top job.

Writing in The Age on Friday, Postecoglou addressed some of the ills of the senior men's team, and issued what amounted to a mission statement detailing what can and must be done to restore pride in the green and gold shirt.

His energy and belief promises to be empowering. Detractors and naysayers doubt if Australia has the players to compete meaningfully on the international stage.

This is an argument which does not wash with Postecoglou. It never has. Whichever XI he sends out on the field is expected to perform. No more excuses, no more half measures.

You may remember what became of Daniel Craig's character at the end of Layer Cake.

Just because you have a plan, and stick to it, is no guarantee of success.

It may well prove the players at Australia's disposal now and in the years to come are not capable of matching up to some of their illustrious predecessors.

Given who they will be attempting to emulate, there would be no shame in that.

The only shame would be if Football Federation Australia and the man they pick to lead the Socceroos fail to give the players every opportunity to prove their critics wrong.

There is no chance of that if Ange Postecoglou is given his opportunity. We guarantee it.

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