The Secret Diary of Ange – Volume 3: Even More Malaka Files

SATIRE: Geia sas again, malakas. Struggles in Scotland have Celtic FC manager, Ange Postecoglou, pondering why Greeks love tragedy so much.

Mnemosyne, daughter of Uranus and Gaea, mother of the nine muses, is the Greek goddess of memory.

She also personifies thought, intelligence and insight, but mostly, it’s memory; you don’t, you mustn’t forget.

I don’t forget.  What they said.

He’ll struggle at Celtic.

They said.

He’s a lightweight, he’s inexperienced, he’s naïve. Parachuted into a shambles, he’ll be out by Christmas.

They said.

He’ll collapse under pressure, he’ll surrender, give up, disappear, they said.

Want to know what I say? 

Skata sta moutra sou. Shit in your face.

Unbeaten in the league during October. 11 goals for, only 2 against. Just four points off top spot, we’re firing, home and away, culminating in me being named Manager of the Month, an award I gratefully accepted by thanking my coaches and backroom staff, because as well as being a tactical genius I also have a sense of comedy. 

(Which incidentally, alongside poetry, history, dance and music, is one of the aforementioned 9 muses.) 

And tragedy. 

We’re never far from tragedy.

In fact, if you look at this picture, you’ll see that’s me, standing in front of 3 perfect examples of utter, unmitigated tragedy.

Ange with his Manager of the Month award and some of his hopeless lackeys

My backroom boys. 

Not so much the Three Musketeers, more the Three Malakas.

They might be malakas, but guess what? They’re my malakas.

I’m not a one-man band.  Never have been. I inherited my staff and it was in their interests to undermine me, to test me out, make me prove myself.

I did.  And I have.

They follow my lead. Because I’m a leader.

Like the greatest leader. Alexander the Great who, when he saw the breadth of his domain, wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.

Okay, we’re not even halfway through the season, I’m not getting carried away.

But still. It feels good.

They tried to undermine me.

Now, the detractors, the naysayers, the journos and best of all, the fans, they respect me.

I did that.

RELATED: The Secret Diary of Ange – Volume Two: More Malaka Files

Even though my team, my coaches and backroom staff, even though they contributed not one original thought to the entire process, they’re listening, carrying out my instructions to the letter, executing my plan, a plan that’s working, making Celtic a better team. A successful team.

I could have buckled. I didn’t.

I could have let them win.  I didn’t.

I could have excluded them.  I didn’t.

By making them part of the process, by acknowledging them by including them when I collected my award, I sent the message that football is a team game.

‘Everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards’. Bill Shankly said that.

Everything flows, and nothing abides, everything gives way, and nothing stays fixed.’

That was Heraclitus.

I earned respect. I have the team playing the way I want them to – like I’ve always said I would. I have all of them, everyone who doubted me, worked against me, plotted against me, buying into my style.

I did that.


October was a good month for me, a good month for Celtic.

Rangers?  Not so much.

After swatting away rumours that he was considering leaving Ibrox for the dubious delights of relegation threatened Aston Villa, by asking an interviewer, ‘Do I look happy?  Do I look settled?  Don’t ask me silly questions, then.’, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard was on his donkey – or in his case, the next train to Birmingham.

Rangers in disarray, Celtic flying high.


But we’re never far from tragedy.

Greek mythology, the body of stories concerning the gods, heroes, and rituals of ancient culture explain the world and our experiences. The subjects of myths reflect the universal concerns of mankind throughout history: birth, death, the afterlife, the origin of man and the world, good and evil, success, failure and disappointment.  

Myths can become truth. Truths become myth.

A semi-final win.  Hope.

A European loss. Disappointment.

Things were looking good. And then, overnight, they weren’t looking so good.

RELATED: The Secret Diary of Ange – Volume One: The Malaka Files

They said I made mistakes.  Bad substitutions, naïve tactics, an inability to see a game out which instantly transformed from Manager of the Month to Wanker of the Week. 

Socrates said, ‘The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less’.

Socrates wasn’t coach of the Celtic Football Club, though was he?

The Greeks have a word for it.

For everything really. Everyone.

But malaka will never be the word for me.

About Gary Johnston 79 Articles
Gary Johnston is an author, academic and former parole officer with decades of experience in the criminal justice system. He is True Crime News Weekly's Deputy Editor and Melbourne correspondent. His book 'No Previous Conviction' was published in May 2017 and is available on Amazon.

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