Close the Cold Case - Fossie needs to get excited about Angie

Close the Cold Case - Fossie needs to get excited about Angie

 by Carlos Alberto Diego

Whilst engrossed in the Brisbane Roar v Gold Coast M1 (aka Tropical Cyclone) derby on Boxing Day, a tight Fox Sports camera shot of Roar coach Angie Postecoglou propelled me back in time.

Flashback to 2005 - I was kicking back at home watching The World Game on SBS TV when one of the great TV interview 'assassinations' (figuratively speaking – don’t worry no one really died) was perpetrated. 

The accused was a younger, handsome, SBS appointed 'oracle' of world football - SBS chief football analyst Craig Foster. The victim - the unsuspecting, not as pretty (at best ruggedly handsome), under fire, Young Socceroo coach Angie Postecoglou. The episode came to be known in Diego circles as the Ambush of Angie and, for me, to this day this Oz football ‘Cold Case’ remains unsolved.

Those football lovers who saw it don't like to talk about it. The events that day were embarrassing at best and at worst, no classier than any of the bitter public feuds that were synonymous with the old Soccer Australia in the 80’s and 90’s.

With Angie trying to defend his record as coach of the kiddies (and his ability to coach full stop), Foster went for the jugular in a sort of warped George Negus meets Gordon Ramsay way and demanded the young coach's resignation on live TV. To Foster's indignation Angie refused and it got very ugly.

To this day 'Fossie' (see: With Ange, it's not personal – Craig Foster blog 27 October 2010) argues the attack was not personal and there is nothing wrong with what he did. For him it was all done for the good of the game and he stands by it.

No problem, as the 'oracle', Craig is entitled to his opinion. I however, as a humble football hack, disagree.

What I saw was a cheap, deeply disrespectful personal attack on a soft target that succeeded in shining little light on Postecoglou's alleged coaching deficiencies and specific tactical shortcomings.

It wasn't Foster’s relentless quest to ask the hard questions of an underperforming coach that, for me, was the issue. It was his total lack of respect in doing so that did not sit well with me especially since he more recently condemned both FFA 'Golden Tit' Frank Lowy and Fox Sports commentator Robbie Slater for not showing the requisite respect to the views of former Socceroos Les Scheinflug, Zejlko Kalac and current star Harry Kewell.

In my mind there is no way 'Fossie' would have attacked some of his Socceroo contemporaries such as Kevin Muscat, Craig Moore or Mark Viduka with the same ferocity if they had been in the same situation and with the same coaching record as Angie.

Luckily for 'Fossie' he will have the opportunity to prove me wrong as these guys embark on their coaching careers.

'Musky' is already in the system so I look forward to 'Fossie's' forthright analysis of Kev’s interpretation and implementation of a mobile, technically fluent, possession ladened Barcelona-like 4-3-3 or floating 4-2-2 formation. Heaven help Musky if he, as future Young Socceroo coach, ever loses to Laos or China. I await ‘Fossie’s’ interview with relish. I’m sure Muscat won’t take Craig forensic analysis personally.

The Diegos have interviewed Angie Postecoglou often over the last 18 years in his role as assistant coach to one of the legends of world footy Ferenc Puskas, as a multiple NSL championship winning coach with South Melbourne, as coach of the South Melbourne team that represented Oceania in the 2000 FIFA World Club Cup in Brazil, and as coach of Australian youth teams over the years. I was critical of his record as Australian youth coach and surprised when he was given the Roar job but never came close in an interview to delivering the level of disrespect shown to him by Foster.

Fast forward to 2010. Happily for Angie he, as the ‘Cold Case’ victim, is alive and well.

He has installed in Brisbane Roar’s style of play the type of beauty that is only rivalled by Craig Foster's looks. Don’t just take it from me ask the experts.

After being on the end of a 4-0 shellacking at the hands of Roar earlier this season, Adelaide United and experienced former Eredivise coach Rini Coolen, described Angie's team as playing a European standard (not brand or style – there’s a big difference) of football. This is the highest of praise for a courageous young Australian coach who, for a long time, people had little faith in.

Craig Foster in addressing the Ambush of Angie in his blog on the 27th October 2010 gives credit to Angie only for completing the coaching courses that have miraculously turned him from a supposedly dud coach into the most innovative Aussie coach of recent times.  

To me his praise of Postecoglou is underwhelming at best. Very little credit has been given to Angie for his innate ability to communicate and impart a successful style of play and get the best out of his team.

This is not something you learn merely by doing a coaching course. If it was that simple anyone could achieve what Angie has with his young team. I’m sure Pim Verbeek had all the necessary coaching qualifications and credentials and didn’t Craig want to run him out of town during the World Cup in South Africa? You either have it or you don't have it. In fact this is the difference between successful and unsuccessful coaches.

Fossie it's time to close this ‘Cold Case’ for good.

You went a long way to nearly burying the career of one of our finest young Australian coaches five years ago. He has come back from the dead and you should, as a widely read, watched and respected media professional, tell Australia that you are excited that one of our own is delivering the type of football that has put a snap in your shorts for many years. And you should do it with the same gusto that you slaughtered the guy with in 2005.

‘Fossie’ it is time you publicly hold him up as a model for all young Australian coaches to follow.

The Diegos certainly will.

Copyright Four Diegos Media 1993