I’VE followed the careers of Ange Postecoglou and James Maddison for years.
Now they’re changing Tottenham together.
Ange Postcoglou and James Maddison have both had a huge impact on SpursRex
When I was manager of Jordan for a short time, we played Ange’s Australia side — and lost 5-1.
One of his senior players, Tim Cahill, was so bullish about him that I kept a close eye on how things developed.
During Ange’s time at Celtic, I remember speaking to majority shareholder Dermot Desmond, a very clever man who absolutely loved him. They were choked when he left.
But I thought he would be right for Tottenham and so far, so good.
When I came into Spurs, it felt like the club needed a lift and for someone to get among the players.
Ange has done the same. He’s been a breath of fresh air. There’s no big ego and no jargon — he tells it as it is.
And of course the style of football is what the Spurs fans like.
It’s great to see Tottenham playing like that and Ange deserves a huge amount of credit.
But he and the club have also recruited well.
People always talk about ‘The Tottenham Way’ or ‘The West Ham Way’. But you can only play that way if you have the players to do it.
At West Ham, Ron Greenwood had Bobby Moore, John ‘Budgie’ Byrne and Martin Peters.
Last year, Spurs had workhorses in midfield but they didn’t have a Maddison, someone who could get on the ball and make things happen and control a football match.
He’s the perfect fit. He’s come in and changed everything.
The best Tottenham teams have always had a player like Maddison, going back to John White from the Double team.
Glenn Hoddle, Gazza, Modric — players who could make the difference.
ReutersLuka Modric excelled under Harry Redknapp[/caption]
PA:Press AssociationRafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale celebrate at the Emirates[/caption]
I first saw Maddison when I was QPR manager, at an Under-21 game at Loftus Road against Coventry. At half-time, I pulled their manager aside and said: “Who is that kid?”
I told David Pleat and he told people at Tottenham, but nothing came of it.
When I was at Birmingham, Maddison played against us for Norwich at Carrow Road. I waited for him in the corridor.
Delia Smith was there and I said: “It’s all right, I’m not tapping him up — we couldn’t afford him.”
But I told him: “You are different class, you should be playing at the top level.”
Maddison is a great talent and he’s now gone to a club where he’s a big fish.
The manager has made him feel important and built the team around him.
He’s the main man, he gets on the ball, he takes set-pieces.
Sunday is big for Ange, Maddison and Tottenham.
My second league game in charge of Tottenham was a North London derby.
We were 4-2 down at the Emirates and a lot of the Spurs fans up in the corner decided to leave with a couple of minutes to go. If anyone looked like scoring again it was Arsenal.
Then suddenly we nicked a goal back, 4-3, game on, and they came running back in.
Aaron Lennon scored the equaliser in stoppage time and it was a great night. It felt like a win and got me off to a good start.
Ange has been involved in Old Firm games, which are as fierce as anyone could manage.
Just like in Glasgow, this is an important day for both sets of fans. It’s only the sixth game of the season but it can set the tone.
Arsenal want to win the title this season. To do that, they need to win this game.
Tottenham have had some good results and publicity but getting beat there by two or three goals could spoil a good start.
If they can get a result, it will give the team and the fans even more belief.
PA:Press AssociationTottenham drew 4-4 at Arsenal in Harry Redknapp’s second game in charge[/caption]