Shocked Ange Postecoglou, his Daniel Levy meeting, tired Vicario and wandering Newcastle stars

Melbourne is the city that raised Ange Postecoglou and it treats him like one of its favourite sons.

There's always someone with a story about the Tottenham Hotspur boss from some point across his 58 years and most will ask you to 'say hi to Ange for me, he'll remember me' afterwards.

Take Tina Marras for example, who works at Collingwood Football Club, one of Melbourne's many AFL sides. During the year or so when Postecoglou was manager at Melbourne Victory, he would cross the road most mornings on the corner of Olympic Boulevard to grab coffee at Collingwood's ground.

There he would chat with Tina and others on the staff. When she and a fellow co-worker were at a recent concert, her friend FaceTimed the Aussie coach and not only did the former Celtic boss answer the call but he said 'hey Tina' with a happy smile when the camera swung her way. "He remembered my name," she said with pride.

It's that pride that so many in Melbourne have for a man who worked his way up through the game to become the head coach of a Premier League side on the other side of the world.

The city has a number of murals now dedicated to the Spurs boss and more will likely spring up in the years to come.

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The cheer Postecoglou got from the 7,600 fans inside the AAMI Park for open training said it all. The crowd included some Carlton players, from the Tottenham head coach's beloved AFL side that he cheers on each week from across the globe.

This has been a new experience even for Postecoglou though with the quick turnaround from the end of the season. Even he struggled to stifle a yawn moments before his pre-training press conference began within the bowels of the stadium.

The long-haul flight, taken immediately after the 3-0 win at Sheffield United, had been brutal as the Tottenham squad and staff landed in Melbourne in the early hours of Tuesday morning, effectively wiping out Monday May 20th from their lives as they crossed time zones across the world, snatching any brief moments of sleep they could.

The press conference itself brought an unusual set-up for those used to the UK versions. In Melbourne, it's all about the television channels so their cameras were set up in front of the rows of seats for the media rather than behind them, leaving the journalists to peer through the tripods and cameramen to ask their questions or stand near the exits to grab a word from Postecoglou and his captain Son Heung-min.

That this reporter had to suddenly stand up and wave to ask his question probably added to the shock for the bleary-eyed Postecoglou when he noticed the only British journalist daft enough to undertake 48 hours of travelling around the globe to cover a single friendly match.

"Bloody hell Ali! How're you going?" he said with a laugh after doing a double take.

Postecoglou has spent so many of his recent years abroad that many of the familiar faces outside his family have probably become those he sees each week in his work.

"I've spent 50 odd years of my life here in Melbourne, but we have hit the road over recent years, me and the family. We're quite settled on the other side of the world and just talking about coming back, it's a hell of a long trip," he said.

"I'd forgotten how long it was. It's still the place I consider home. I don't have family here any more, but friends who are like family are here. All my memories growing up have been here so it definitely feels that way."

An attempt to find out when Postecoglou will sit down with chairman Daniel Levy to discuss the upcoming transfer window and next season, was met first with a joke and then the actual rough timeframe.

"They're secret plans Ali that I can't reveal right now...Yeah, the plan is to stay for a few days and catch up with some mates here. Then I'll head back, spend some time with the family but yeah I'll keep working away," he said.

This game up first is one that few of the Tottenham players will have wanted at the end of their season.

Even Son, the most measured of speakers, had to admit that while one of his best friends from his Hamburg days, Tolgay Arslan, now playing in Melbourne, wanted to meet up with him to reminisce, he was keen to go home.

"It could be good to see my friend again here, but this is the last game of the season and I want to go home as well, as soon as possible after we finish the game," he said, before diplomatically adding "but any chance to see around would be good".

He did get to reunite with Arslan though as the Melbourne player was part of the A-League All Stars squad training on the pitch after Spurs.

Son and Tottenham will travel to South Korea again in July. Having experienced that phenomenon two years ago, nothing can prepare you for the site of adoration and respect the 31-year-old receives in his own country.

While summer tours are now an accepted commonplace part of football life, this post-season trip to Australia has faced plenty of criticism back in the UK.

Post-season tours have been few and far between over the years, often seen as cashing in, but they are expected to become a more common theme at big clubs in the seasons to come as sides look to bring in vital extra millions to the coffers just before those all-important financial fair play account deadlines arrive.

As well as the environmental aspect of such long-haul flights in such a short space of time, there is also the 'flogging tired players' criticism although in Tottenham's case the latter holds absolutely no weight.

That is because Spurs' lack of European football and inability to progress in the cup competitions meant they played a single game more than the bare minimum 40 matches a season can hold. In contrast, their opponents on Wednesday, Newcastle, played 51 fixtures over the campaign, leading former Spurs player and now Newcastle right-back Kieran Trippier to quip that the trip was hardly ideal and wasn't exactly like flying to Benidorm.

On the other side of the coin - and the world - though is the Australian fans, who are getting a rare chance to see their heroes, with around 80,000 set to pack out the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground for the match.

Beyond the money, it is also about growing the game and both clubs' fanbase Down Under - admittedly also long-term about the money.

While there were plenty of Spurs and Newcastle shirts to be seen around the city on matchday, it is still a sport that lies behind the country's favourites like AFL.

That anonymity for the players will have been a welcome change, even in their jet-lagged state. This reporter, while on his way to the press conference at AAMI Park, walked almost the entire way along the Yarra River behind Newcastle players Nick Pope, Dan Burn, Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie as they strolled along to catch a glimpse of the iconic stadiums such as the Rod Laver Arena and the MCG that lie along Olympic Boulevard.

Not a single person approached them or recognised them and even while writing this article looking out of a Melbourne coffee shop window on matchday, England international Pope has just walked past on the busy street, without anyone knowing it was him apart from this reporter.

Earlier in the day, Guglielmo Vicario and Oliver Skipp visited the Collingwood complex to spend some time with young footballers from the local community on Wednesday morning. The children loved it and the parents were snapping photos galore on their phones even if some probably had little idea who the duo of Premier League players were.

Vicario, who hopes to be in the Italy squad for the Euros to be announced on Thursday, was asked by this reporter how he was coping with the jet lag. A roll of his eyes and a big exhaling of breath said more than any words could.

It was the children who asked the better questions though during a Q&A session, one young boy wanting to know how much money the players earned - a question stealthily dodged by the organisers - while another poser put to Vicario was how good he was at understanding Postecoglou's Australian dialect.

"I can understand him fine, it's the players from the north of England who I struggled to understand for months," he admitted to the children. "I had no idea what they were saying."

Vicario and Skipp were among those who took part in the understandably brief training session in front of the fans on Tuesday night. It was a normal recovery session following a match, one missed on Monday because of the flight, with only light drills and rondos for about 40 minutes.

The players looked as jetlagged as they would be expected to be but they all perked up for an unexpected treat for the fans as bags stuffed full of hundreds of pieces of this season's training wear were brought out for the squad to throw out to the supporters who had made the trip to the AAMI Park.

It was Tottenham's final training session of the season and the kit, the last time troubled sponsors Getir will appear on them other than on the warm-up kits before the game, will remain on this side of the world forever.

The match itself will present the sight of experienced players either competing or going through motions, some wary of injuries ahead of their international tournaments this summer, but also a collection of exciting young players looking to make an impression in front of a huge crowd, bigger than anything the clubs will have played in front of this season. Those youngsters will want to catch the eye of their respective managers with pre-season tour spots on offer in July with so many international stars likely to be resting after the Euros and Copa America.

There will also be some professional pride to be had on Wednesday, with both teams having thrashed the other in their respective home matches. The team that cares that little bit more about a friendly encounter is likely to come out on top.

There will be endless debates over whether this trip is good for the game and the players - the criticism, much of it justified, will likely outweigh the positives with even some Australian journalists questioning whether the game would overshadow the A-League's own grand final this weekend.

Postecoglou disputed that, saying that was part of the problem in Australia, that they thought two games of football were competing with each other rather than being a good thing to get people talking about the sport in the country.

Regardless of the criticism, those 80,000 or so fans inside the MCG will not care one bit. For those Spurs fans, the chance to see Son, Maddison & Co just once in front of their eyes is something they will remember forever.

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