Angelos Postecoglou wasn’t Tottenham’s first choice on belatedly replacing Antonio Conte, but that doesn’t matter now. 

Spurs fans, meanwhile, will be casting dewy glances across at Stamford Bridge, to Mauricio Pochettino’s appointment at Chelsea, and wondering what might have been. Again, that is by the by. 

Because in securing the occasionally mad and often brilliant Australian, the North London giants have finally put an end to four years of stolid, uninspiring football, a period that in reality was relatively short, yet felt like an eternity. And that alone is cause for celebration.

It began when Pochettino was sacked in November 2019, and club chairman Daniel Levy displayed a brief obsession with recruiting ‘winners’, managers who possessed a ruthlessness that Tottenham supposedly lacked.

So it was that Jose Mourinho was brought in, an elite coach for sure, and one whose C.V. was resplendent with silverware, but it was also true that the Portuguese scowler had sunk as many ships as he had sailed to blue oceans. Indeed, he had form for scuttling them good.

Mourinho took Spurs to a Carabao Cup final but he was gone before the fixture commenced, leaving behind a toxic atmosphere and an overwhelming sense of under-achievement. 

The less said about his successor Nuno Espirito Santo the better, and then came Conte, boasting five league title triumphs inside a decade and a chip on his shoulder the size of Turin. 

Deploying seven defensively-minded players and – like Mourinho – overly reliant on Harry Kane to get them goals and results, Conte sacrificed ambition and any semblance of adventure in order to make his side difficult to break down. Except they weren’t.

Last season, Spurs conceded more times than any other team beyond the bottom six.

Moreover, when assessing these four colourless years naturally we focus on the disappointing league finishes and the cup exits but it’s hard to deny the simple reasoning that winning isn’t everything.

After all, only one team can win the league. Only one, the FA Cup.

What Tottenham fans were also deprived of during this drab hiatus from their norm was entertainment on a weekly basis and pride in their side competing on the front foot.

There was a distinct lack of connection between the supporters and the club’s hierarchy while on the pitch there was very little to compensate for that, only rudimentary fare that exacerbated the disharmony. 

In short, it was grim, with the faithful too often short-changed.

That very conceivably ends now with Postecoglou at the helm, a devout devotee of attacking, attractive football who stations four at the back but typically inverts his full-backs in the manner we’ve become accustomed to seeing at Manchester City. 

Fluidity is key, as evidenced most recently during his highly successful tenure at Celtic that saw the Hoops win five our of six domestic trophies, and if you’re thinking that’s no big shakes, given that Celtic are always strong favourites in the Scottish football betting, remember how far behind they were of arch-rivals Rangers when he took over.

Almost immediately Celtic were a team transformed, with the prolific Kyogo Furuhashi surrounded by a miasma of team-mates, inter-linking, dove-tailing, adhering to a plan that encouraged improvisation and demanded flexibility.

On one occasion, so ‘Cruyffian’ was their football – Johan Cruyff being Postecoglou’s hero – the opposition manager remarked afterwards that Celtic’s left-back was their most advanced player throughout. 

Always though, no matter the blueprint, no matter the opponent, the philosophy is to attack. 

On being asked once if he was ever willing to compromise on his intrepid mandate, Postecoglou responded by asking if a vegetarian ever relents to eating a Big Mac just because they’re hungry and whether this is meaningful or not, Tottenham now additionally have a manager who gives decent quote.

He is charismatic, passionate, and engaging.

Admittedly, from time to time this passion does spill over, such as his prolonged and fiery on-air bust-up with a TV pundit in 2007 that, in part, led to his departure as the Young Socceroos coach, heading to Greece to start over.

There have been other examples too of ‘Ange’ biting at journalists, snapping at the world.

Postecoglou it can be said does not suffer fools gladly, but crucially, in comparison to two of his predecessors, his fervour comes from a good place.

If you’re fair with him, he’s fair with you and there is none of the pettiness or rancour that was evident from Mourinho and Conte. 

Still, how his no-nonsense demeanour is received by the English press corp remains to be seen but much more importantly right now, what is about to be implemented ahead of 2023/24 suggests we will see a very different Tottenham when the new season begins. 

And what’s the betting that for the first time in four years, the Spurs fans can start to have a little fun.


Stephen Tudor is a freelance football writer and sports enthusiast who only knows slightly less about the beautiful game than you do.

A contributor to FourFourTwo and Forbes, he is a Manchester City fan who was taken to Maine Road as a child because his grandad predicted they would one day be good.