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Changing the Game – Football in Australia through my eyes

Post by Cody Shorter / 29 March 2017 / 0 Comments

Australian Football Library

Book Review

Changing the Game – Football in Australia through my eyes by Ange Postecoglou with Andy Harper

 

Who’s it for?

We’d recommend this book to every football supporter, but particularly to aspiring elite players and coaches.

Cody’s rating – 8.0 out of 10

Jake’s rating – 8.0 out of 10

 

Where to Get it?

Booktopia

Book Depository

 

From the Blurb

Ange Postecoglou has been at the center of Australian football for more than thirty years. In this book, he shows us the game through his eyes, from the changing room to the boardroom, to reveal how Australia must boldly reimagine its place in the world.

From his playing days with South Melbourne in the 1980s to coaching the Socceroos to victory in the 2015 Asian Cup, Ange Postecoglou’s uncompromising commitment to success has coincided with the incredible rise of football in this country

He won the old National Soccer League as a player and a coach. Now that Australian football is reaching new heights, Ange is again at the forefront: he’s won back-to-back A-League titles, led the Brisbane Roar to the longest unbeaten run in any code and the national team to the winner’s podium. He’s a man with strong opinions on how to play and lead.

Ange’s story is one of fostering a culture of success, and turning history – or precedent – on its head. He candidly relays key moments and meetings in his life, reflecting on how these have shaped his beliefs and practices, and gives frank views on where the game is currently going right and wrong. What’s revealed is a bold and impassioned account of the game he loves.

Changing the Game is a privileged glimpse inside the mind of a living legend.

 

 

Our reviews

 

Jake –

Changing the Game gives a fascinating insight into the mind of someone who has been in and around the Australian game his entire life. Ange Postecoglou has very strong opinions and beliefs about football, and his views in this book aren’t limited to the coaching arena, also touching on youth development, expansion and the football pyramid, and the phycology of football fans. He goes beyond just being passionate and into the realm of obsessive, and doesn’t apologise for it. In fact, he believes it’s absolutely required in his line of work to have a vision and dream, and to pursue it relentlessly at all costs.

I came away from reading the book with confidence that the right person is in charge of the National team. Given my interest in seeing the game grow in Australia, and my desire for the people in charge to have a bold vision and be held to high expectations, there were several quotes that hit home (see below for a few of my favourites).

As football fans we don’t often see or hear about what happens behind closed doors, and I enjoyed hearing about how Ange dealt with some of the backroom situations at both Brisbane Roar and then the Socceroos, and how it all fed into his overall vision. I’ll admit that there was one story he recounts that brought a tear to my eye (I’m not sure that’s ever happened to me reading a book before!). Without giving anything away, it’s a story about Bresciano and what’s behind his motivation.

The only downside for me (and it certainly wasn’t a deal breaker) was that the writing is a little disjointed and seems to follow the thoughts of someone who’s mind is constantly racing. The chapters roughly follow Ange’s life chronologically, but are otherwise disjointed and don’t really flow together.

Overall I really enjoyed the book and it both inspired me and made me think. If every book I read did that I’d be very happy.

Cody –

I devoured this book in one weekend, which says a lot to its ability in keeping me interested. I was once again ashamed at the level of ignorance I had displayed to the game I love; this time to the coach of Australia’s national team. I had no idea of his background prior to him coaching at Brisbane and really no idea who he is.

As you’d expect, the book details Ange’s background from migrating to Australia at the age of 5, to today, where he is head coach of the Socceroos. It’s not an autobiography though. The book is about Ange’s philosophy and approaches to life, leadership, coaching and above all else his passion for the game.

This is a polarising book, which aligns nicely with Ange’s personality. Love it or hate it. His way or the highway. With plenty of real world examples featuring household footballing names to keep you interested, Ange takes you through the main issues facing football in Australia and what he believes should be done about it.

 

Some interesting tidbits and quotes

  • “I know the game has a big future. There can only be room at the game’s top levels for people who see the size of its potential. And I mean really believe it, not just mouthing platitudes to snare a few corporate dollars here and there. I’m talking about setting the place alight in pursuit of what this game can be in Australia.”
  • “One thing I know, I am very disciplined. I don’t waver. I won’t allow my players to waver either. I’m making my own sacrifices and asking them to make theirs. There can be no shortcuts”
  • “Football deserves leadership that goes beyond metrics. Such is the energy stored in the huge football community that committed, visionary thinking and behavior will unleash those huge pent-up reserves”
  • Ange’s first coaching job was taking charge of his school team (Prahan High School) as a 12 year old. They went on to win the Under 12s state championships.
  • “The only places where football isn’t the single biggest sport are, like us, former British colonies: the USA, Canada, New Zealand, (white) South Africa, the Subcontinent.”
  • On the A-league: “There must be a unified view on what the league looks like when it’s matured. And that position has to be made very public, to give people the chance to get excited and work towards that outcome.”
  • “But people also want easy answers. We see other sports on easy street and can’t understand why we can’t have that too. It’s understandable to a point, but in any walk of life, if easy street isn’t the reality, you’ve got to strive to change the circumstances. The struggle is the important bit as far as I’m concerned; it fortifies you, makes the vision absolutely clear.“
  • “The negative stereotypes are perpetuated by people who either have no idea or are serving a vested interest; neither viewpoint should get anywhere near running Australian football.”
  • “Our mentality of consolidation is wrong because it believes the A-League is ahead of the curve and we need to sit and wait for the base to catch up. The reality is the total opposite. The A-League is behind the game’s growth curve, it should be busting its gut to be proactive and bold and to bridge that gap, to build a competition with a reach that absorbs the game’s astronomical popularity.”
  • “Football has the most important of commodities: people. With people onside and energised, mountains can be moved. Football people know how big their game is and how big its potential is. They want words and pictures and energy, not flaccid corporate speak. Anything else won’t inspire them or recruit them to the cause. They won’t stick with something leaders don’t believe in or are nervous about, they’ll see straight through it.”

 

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