Ange Postecoglou is a man who speaks his mind.
He tells it straight.
There is no need, with this guy, to go looking for double meanings or hidden codes in his speech. Take it at face value, give it a plain text and straightforward reading and you’ll be okay.
Don’t try to re-interpret what he says.
Let me give you a couple of examples.
One of them stands out today, of all days.
During an interview in Japan, not that long ago, he said that when he comes into a new football environment he prefers not to bring the team from his previous one, he likes to start with what’s there and make judgements on who’s right for him and who isn’t before making changes.
That’s on the record.
So it’s no surprise that he’s doing exactly what he said he would do.
Today’s report that he was told he couldn’t bring his staff from Yokohama is nonsense because he never would have done so in the first place, so the issue doesn’t arise.
Over the last 20 odd hours, I’ve heard people say that the signing policy is out of hands, based on something they thought they heard him say … or rather how it was spun in some circles.
Complete rot and not supported by the words he actually used.
When he spoke in the context of players who might be leaving, he said that’s not in his hands, because he knows we can’t keep a guy with 12 months left on his deal if there’s a reasonable transfer offer for him.
It’s nothing we didn’t already know.
It’s a far cry from Ange saying that he has no control over who comes in and who goes out.
Listen to the guy’s actual words and you’ll realise that far from no having no input, he’s at the centre of all of these decisions and is critical to them.
“I know exactly how I want to play and the kind of players we need, so we are looking far and wide. There’s challenges with getting players into the country and doing business so early in the window. The club is working hard and I’m hoping over the next week or so we have some announcements. It’s not about a number – I’m just keen to bring in some players because we have a lack of depth in areas. You look at centre-back, wingers, at right-back. There’s areas there we don’t have a lot of depth.”
Not only does he know where we need reinforcements, but he’s made it clear that he intends to fill those critical positions.
He wouldn’t name names.
Indeed, in an echo of what I wrote yesterday, he spelled out that the policy of the club has changed in how we go after footballers. No more wasting time on one target and then shrugging and apologising if it fails to materialise and we end up with nobody.
“Confirm or deny I would then be putting myself in a position where people think we have one target for one position,” he said. “For me it’s about the right people – there’s no doubt this squad needs bolstering. We have lost a lot of players from last year and we are working hard to bring some in. I’ve put names forward, I’m the one coaching the players. But the way it works is that we are looking at multiple people in those positions. If one doesn’t work, we can’t afford to wait till it falls down for another one to come in.”
I was genuinely delighted to hear him say that yesterday.
The media has very little idea who we’re actually looking at.
When the signings come they are likely to be people who haven’t even appeared on the radar yet.
It’s amazing to me the number of people who are trying to interpret what he’s saying as if what he’s saying isn’t completely plain and obvious. Someone told me that he said the signing of players isn’t his job; I can’t actually find that quote anywhere, but it’s not a surprise either because it isn’t his job and it never was, and it never will be for any manager again.
Those things are handled at the executive level.
Those guys are the ones who are responsible for getting the business done. As long as the manager is identifying the targets and telling them who to go and get, the system is working as it should.
Up to that point.
Lawwell’s problem was that he was more interested in seeing how much he could save than he was in actually doing the work on behalf of the manager. Until we’ve got reasons to doubt him, we should not just assume that McKay will operate in the same way. The policy Ange is talking about suggests that the days of spending a month working on one deal are over with.
I’m surprised, to say the least, that we’re not further ahead.
Tomorrow we’ll have officially squandered another week.
We’re now twelve days from the game and seven from the first Champions League signing deadline.
In my view we should be further forward than we are right now, but everyone at Celtic sees the same ticking clock and Ange has made it clear that he’s not going to sit back and play a passive role as the time ebbs away.
I see reasons for being encouraged.
The manager has given me confidence that things will be wrapped up in due course.
If you’re having your own doubts just listen to what he says.