When someone rises to the top of their profession, more often than not that person becomes arrogant and distant from everyone around them. You see that pattern repeat itself over and over again. It’s so common nobody is really offended by it.
But every now and again you get someone at the top of a business or sport who uses their position to help others, to guide those on a lesser rung of the ladder, who will take his or her experience to offer support and encouragement. They are rare, and they are beloved by everyone in the business. One such individual is our manager Ange Postecoglou.
Yesterday, when he could have been basking in his own glory as the master of all he surveys in Scottish football, and his status as easily the most powerful man to sit in the Celtic dugout in a generation, he was instead talking up the other managers of Scotland and lamenting the impatience of clubs and how quickly they make judgements.
Everyone knows where I stand on Jim Goodwin; Ange urged Aberdeen to give him more time, and whilst I don’t believe he particularly deserves it you look at the state that club has gotten into by turning that hot-seat into an electric chair instead.
Looking south of the border, I’m appalled, as I’m sure most people are, to see Kolo Toure sacked from his own job after less than two months at Wigan. How in God’s name is a manager supposed to get his ideas across to players and turn things around when he has a board that acts like that? Everton are about to appoint Sean Dyce – what did I write about that during the week?; he will be the eighth manager in just over six years.
Hibs too are in this weird place where if Goodwin gets a result today that it might be them sacking their boss, and you look at this and you think to yourself “this can’t go on, surely this can’t continue?” He’s about to lose Ryan Porteous. In fact, he has. He’s on the brink of losing Kevin Nisbet, although something’s going on there with him.
These guys face enormous pressure at clubs which are constantly cutting back. They are expected to do more and more with less and less. Aberdeen have lost Lewis Ferguson, Sam Cosgrove and Scott McKenna in just the last few years. Hibs lose a top talent or two every season now, with Doig, McGinn and now Porteous and Nisbet heading for pastures new.
Ange doesn’t have to care about any of this. He could have held court today, said that it was up to clubs what they did, and left it at that. He’s the Celtic manager, he could have said he only wants to focus on what happens at Celtic Park.
Instead he offered these guys support and spoke up for managers as a whole, sharing insights about how he copes and how these guys should remember that they are surrounded by people who love them and that ultimately this is the job they chose because they care about it and they care about the game. It’s that Stoicism I’ve talked about; “remember what really matters. Memento mori. Live every minute as if it was your last.”
Ange is a class act. Ange is a good man. A role model, a mentor, a friend to all these guys.
We are not the only people lucky to have him in our orbit.