On the day he met the media for the first time, Ange Postecoglou spoke to them and then went and met the fan sites and the podcasts. In the aftermath, the mainstream press bubbled and bitched and moaned about the questions he got, and in particular the first.
The point that my friend Dave, of The Celtic Star, made that day was that our manager’s friends were the people in that room.
Not the other room, not amongst the mainstream.
Dave’s question was held up as an example of paranoia by those hacks, but the manager treated the point with the utmost seriousness. He understood something that the snipers in the press never could have, because they lack the capacity for critical thought.
He understood that Celtic fans live here and work here and that fan media knows their club and its enemies perfectly well. He recognised that when we warned him about those people that it was something he had to take seriously.
He was the stranger in the strange land, and someone was offering him advice of the best sort; advice from someone who had his best interests at heart, and he took that on board and never forgot it.
In every dealing he’s had with them since he’s borne that first question in mind. When he was told, after the Copenhagen Champions League exit, that it was “a catastrophe” he would have recalled that advice and he made sure that he corrected the hack who made that dire point and put the rest on notice hereafter; he had gotten the message loud and clear.
Within weeks he was being told that the title race was over, and he hit back such a ridiculous suggestion being made in September.
But he understood the context by then, he understood that people were trying to paint his campaign as already having passed a point of no return. He knew what the game was. That first fan media question told him what to expect.
And by then he did expect it and by now he expects nothing else.
Which is why they’ve never been able to trip him up.
It is why they’ve never been able to shock him, although they’ve tried. The manager is bulletproof because we told him to wear a flak jacket and a vest when engaging with these people, and he did that right from the first.
But it has taken him a little longer to actually come to a place where he is willing to challenge them on their views by calling it what we have for years; agendas and bias.
Ange has come full circle, and in a very short time.