Jet lag, Cold Chisel and secret plans: Ange Postecoglou offers good value for money on her return to Australia | Ange Postecoglou

tThe Olympic Hall, with its gleaming panels and glass walls, overlooks the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the mecca of Australian sport. Tuesday lunchtime was packed with business, political and civic leaders, as well as those who had paid for the privilege of being there. Approximately three hundred of Melbourne’s most influential mingled, waiting patiently.

The sponsors spoke and also a minister. Then the time came. Sleek haircuts twirled, the seams of suits strained, and heels rose for a better view. A burly man, clearly affected by jet lag, wearing a sweater, came on stage. In the audience, just like the Swifties at the same venue earlier this year, these Angees grabbed their iPhones. Ange Postecoglou was home again.

The 58-year-old took the Premier League by storm last season, surprising skeptics with an initial unbeaten run, but the winds changed mid-season. In the end, the Spurs had remained in fifth place, but Postecoglou found himself in a storm of the last week. The fierce north London rivalry revolved around the Australian and his team’s role in the title race between Manchester City and Spurs’ rivals Arsenal.

He said his team’s 2-0 defeat to City last week in front of a silent crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was the “worst experience” he has had as a football manager, and that although he disagreed With fans’ preference to see Arsenal at a disadvantage, he should have handled the situation better. “If you want a head on a stick, it’s my ugly face, buddy.”

Despite the commitment to eye-catching football, the jury is still out on Postecoglou (both in north London and Australia, which may be home to his most passionate acolytes) and this was a day for them, but where the Worship is not universal and some criticism remains.

Making his first appearance in Melbourne ahead of Wednesday’s exhibition match against Newcastle, the heaviness of that final week, which ended with a 3-0 win over Sheffield United to secure a Europa League place, appeared to have followed Postecoglou into other side of the world. He seemed worked up and seemingly resigned to his starring role in this brief postseason promotional exercise.

But to those in the MCG room, his behavior mattered little. At least he and his mug were there, letting out his famous scream. How was he? His host asked him: “Yes, good,” he said, before adding “…mate.”

Postecoglou was an overnight success in the Premier League, after years of development. His career has undergone a long transformation from NSL winner and A-League mastermind to football nomad and tactical favorite in the world’s highest-profile league.

The trip has brought him benefits (he said he now makes a decent living), but there are parts that have been “pretty strange.” For example, he now has Robbie Williams writing songs about him. “I went from Rod Stewart at Celtic to Robbie Williams. You could say that my life has changed a little.” Unless guests were invited, tickets for this event are $295. “I used to go to the pub and watch Cold Chisel play,” Postecoglou said. Even in his sleep-deprived state, he was giving his money’s worth.

During a 20-minute question-and-answer session, Postecoglou largely stuck to the script. About his skeptics? “There is no better weapon to have in your arsenal than people who underestimate you.” Premier League scrutiny? “A lot of people thought they would have problems with that side. But, you know, that’s for me, that’s what I’ve longed for my entire career.” However, it provided a more personal view of the room. “It’s probably not going to go very well, but there is no work-life balance. Thats the reality”.

And with that, they took him a couple of hours before an open workout and a press conference in the evening. That media opportunity attracted 10 television cameras to Melbourne’s AAMI Park and dozens of reporters. A-League events in the same room are lucky to attract some. Postecoglou was joined on the podium by Son Heung-min, the reason why a large contingent of Korean media further filled the windowless room.

Postecoglou supervises a Tottenham training session at AAMI Park. Photograph: Morgan Hancock/Getty Images

At this point, the Australian, who arrived at 5 a.m. on a flight, seemed even less enthusiastic. A journalist asked him about the international calendar and the national league matches being played abroad. “After a 26-hour flight, man, that’s a tough question,” Postecoglou said.

He would not accept discussions about off-season plans from the only English journalist who traveled. “They are secret plans,” he said with a smile, drawing a line that no other journalist would cross. “The plan is to stay a couple of days, meet some colleagues here and then come back, spend some time with the family, but we will continue working outside.”

The Australian said he did not want to focus too much on how Spurs can catch Manchester City or Arsenal. “I tried to emphasize over the last week that I don’t think your measure should be rival clubs, your measure should be yourself,” he said. He shared some thoughts on the difference between the sporting rivalries of the British and the Australians, who are “a little less territorial”.

And about the management of the media? “The media is the media wherever it is,” he said, giving those present the closest compliment they would receive. “If I’m happy, I’m happy, if I’m not, I’m not.” The Spurs media guy, hearing Postecoglou’s tone loud and clear, kept the whole thing to a tight 20 minutes, and then Ange left again.

The journalist who got the warmest response from Postecoglou appeared to be in his 50s. Reading on his phone, through heavily accented English, it became clear that he was part of the 180,000 people in Victoria with Greek ancestry, a community of which Postecoglou is proudly part. Would he, Australia’s most successful coach, who was actually born in Greece, ever consider managing the Greek national team?

“It’s definitely my future, you’ll see me in Greece,” Postecoglou said, counting down the minutes to his offseason. “But it’s more likely he’ll be on an island, on a lounge chair somewhere.”