Postecoglou champions South Melbourne’s A-League crusade

Ange Postecoglou has thrown his support behind former club South Melbourne’s bid to win an A-League spot.

Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou has backed South Melbourne to become the A-League's newest club. Source: AFP

With 15 hopefuls jostling for just two expansion places in 2019-2020 - three of whom are Melbourne-based - Postecoglou is beating the drum for the club he won titles with as both a player and coach.

Though now in charge of Yokohama F.Marinos in Japan’s J1 League, the umbilical chord with the former NSL giant has never been severed, after nine years as a player and four as South’s coach.

While at the helm, Postecoglou led the club to the 1998 premiership and a premiership-championship double the following season.

And he would take undisguised delight in their ascension from the isolation of the National Premier League back to the elite level they  graced with such aplomb.

While harking back to the history of the three-time NSL premiers and 1999 Oceania Club of the Century, Postecoglou also believes they can also play a part in the game’s future.

“South Melbourne Football Club played a significant role in laying the foundations for where the sport is today,” said Postecoglou.

“It shaped me as a person and was instrumental in shaping my career as both a player and coach.
“I firmly believe there is a dormant support base that will return to the club if its ambitions to play at the highest levels succeed.

“It is one of the few clubs that can seamlessly compete at a higher level and I am of the belief it can be a competitive force from its initial introduction (into the A-League).

“The club is very close to my heart and I know if given the opportunity it can play a pivotal role in growing the game to even greater heights.”

South have been one of the most vocal of the A-League aspirants in championing their own cause, believing their existing fan base, stadium facilities, financial stability and successful youth systems are testament to their preparedness for A-League entry.

“Initially, it was a club that provided comfort and support to its (largely Greek) community but it was always underpinned by a desire for excellence on the sporting field,” added Postecoglou.

“Exciting football was at its core and it is why it was always strongly supported by its fan base.”

Having submitted its Expression of Interest, along with Melbourne rivals Team 11 and Western Melbourne, South are banking on tradition and existing infrastructure to give them an edge as FFA sifts through the applicants, with a final verdict due in October.

“It’s important to South to have key pillars of the game like Ange supporting us,” said the club’s bid chairman Bill Papastergiadis.

“No-one has achieved what he has in recent Australian football history.  His strong endorsement of the club speaks volumes about what South will bring to the A-League.”

Postecoglou guided Brisbane Roar to successive A-League championships, before switching to Melbourne Victory and then a four-year Socceroos tenure which brought 2015 AFC Asian Cup glory and 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification.

“I’ve known Ange for 30 years since we played together for the Monash University Football team,” added Papastergiadis.

“He was always modest and humble.  He was a man of few words.  Hence, his strong words of support for South’s admission to the A League are so important.

“We have almost 60 years of excellence and passion which cannot be replicated.  It’s a real club with real football output.  It’s a club that deserves to be in the A-League.”

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Published 3 June 2018 at 12:11pm
By Dave Lewis