Ange Postecoglou delivers final parting Celtic words as Spurs chairman Daniel Levy hails appointment
Less than 72 hours since holding aloft the trophy at Hampden Park to crown a treble-winning season - a timeline which suggested the wheels were well in motion prior to the 3-1 win over Inverness - the 57-year-old bid farewell to Celtic with confirmation he had turned down a new contract offer to "explore" the opportunity of managing in the Premier League.
The Celtic boss will be forgiven for wearing a mask over the weekend - in at least attempting to ensure the focus was on his team and their achievements rather than his own situation - having won five out of six trophies in two years at the club including back-to-back Premiership titles and two consecutive League Cups before securing the only missing piece of silverware from his collection on Saturday. He leaves Celtic not only on good terms, but as an idolised figure who will have a large section of the Parkhed fanbase now wishing Spurs well while he is at the helm.
Celtic will reportedly receive a compensation payment in the region of £5million for Postecoglou, who has signed a four-year deal with the north London outfit and will become the first Australian to manage in the EPL when he officially takes over on July 1.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy stated: “Ange brings a positive mentality and a fast, attacking style of play. He has a strong track record of developing players and an understanding of the importance of the link from the academy - everything that is important to our Club. We are excited to have Ange join us as we prepare for the season ahead.”
It remains to be seen whether any Parkhead staff will follow Postecoglou to Tottenham with reports claiming he wants Celtic assistants John Kennedy and Gavin Strachan to join him, while top scorer Kyogo Furushahi could also be a target after a 34-goal season for the Scottish champions. A Spurs statement added: “We shall confirm Ange’s coaching staff in due course.”
In his final departing words as Celtic boss, Postecoglou opened up on the club’s attempts to keep him as he thanked major shareholder Dermot Desmond, chairman Peter Lawell and chief executive Michael Nicholson for their backing.
“I would like to sincerely thank everyone at the Club for everything they have given me," he told the Celtic website. "In particular, Dermot, Peter and Michael and the Celtic board have shown me tremendous support in every aspect of my time at Celtic and I will forever be grateful for this.
"They brought me to the Club and I have worked so closely and so well with them for the past two years, I will always have a special relationship with them.
“They wanted me to extend my time at Celtic and while I am so respectful and understanding of their position, a new opportunity has been presented to me and it is one which I wanted to explore.
“It was an honour to be asked to be Celtic manager and during my two years I have given everything I have to deliver success to our supporters. Culminating in the Treble at the weekend, my players and backroom team have been brilliant for me on this journey. They have given us all some fantastic moments through their energy and effort, creating real quality, winning football.
“Our supporters have been magnificent to me and I thank them for the way they have embraced me during the past two years. My ambition was always to give our fans a team they could be proud of, a team people talked about and I think we have achieved that.
“Celtic is a phenomenal football club, and so much more - and I will forever be a supporter of this great institution. I wish everyone connected with Celtic nothing but continued success.”
Celtic will now turn their attention to appointing a new manager with the search already underway as the club vowed to take their time to appoint the “best candidate”. Former boss Brendan Rodgers was the early favourite but Manchester City assistant Enzo Maresca has now emerged as the frontrunner.
Celtic chief executive, Michael Nicholson said: “It has been a pleasure working with Ange, a great football manager and a good man. He has served the Club with such energy and determination and delivered a phenomenal level of success.
“I would like to thank him for all he has given us and I wish Ange and his family the very best for the future in everything they do. Of course, we wanted Ange to stay with us at Celtic and while there is real disappointment that we are losing him, he has decided he wants to look at a new challenge, which we respect.
“As Treble-winning champions, the Club looks ahead with confidence to the future, with many exciting opportunities ahead. The Club appreciates the tremendous support from Celtic fans this season and we will continue to build from this position of unity and strength.”
Peter Lawwell, Celtic chairman, added: “Against any measure, Ange has delivered a fantastic level of success to Celtic and we thank him for his brilliant contribution to the Club during the past two years.
“Of course, we are disappointed that Ange has decided to leave the Club, and we did all we could to keep him with us well into the future, but he wanted to take this new opportunity and we wish Ange well in this and everything else he does.”
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