Graham Potter has been confirmed as Chelsea’s new head coach. Here’s the rundown on how he came to management and his unorthodox career path from student soccer to Stamford Bridge to Scandinavia…
Potter arrives at Chelsea after a record three years as head coach at Brighton & Hove Albion, where he proved to be an innovative coach ready to embrace new ideas, as well as an expert at developing individual players to the best of their abilities while building a cohesive team with a clear identity and solid tactical understanding, capable of consistently punching above his weight.
Prior to his time at the Amex Stadium, Potter had taken an unconventional route to the Premier League as a manager after a career as a left-back spent mostly in the English second division in his native Midlands, at Birmingham City, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion, although he spent a season in the Premier League with Southampton.
After hanging up his boots, Potter decided to focus on furthering his education to prepare for a coaching career, earning a Bachelor of Social Sciences from the Open University before pursuing a Masters in Leadership and Emotional Intelligence at Leeds Metropolitan University.
It was at the latter institution that he gained some of his first coaching experience, working with the Leeds Metropolitan University and Combined Universities teams, as well as acting as football development manager for the University of Hull and technical director for the team. Ghana women’s national at the 2007 World Cup.
He began his path to the professional game in earnest when he moved to Sweden at the end of 2010, taking over Ostersunds in the country’s fourth tier and launching their incredible rise through the leagues to become one of the leading teams in the top division. . win their first national trophy and qualify for European football.
Remarkably, he guided the club to promotion as champions in his first two seasons as manager, before leading them to the top flight with a second-place finish at the third attempt in 2015.
His Ostersunds side were instantly competitive in Allsvenskan, finishing in the top half during his three seasons in the top division under Potter, but it was his penultimate campaign that provided the highlight of his time in Sweden, when he led them to victory. . over Norrkoping in the Swedish Cup final, lifting the only major piece of silver in the club’s history. His own role in that triumph was recognized by a second consecutive Allsvenskan Manager of the Year award.
Potter would break even further in his final season in Sweden, as Ostersunds defeated more established European sides such as Galatasaray and PAOK to qualify for the Europa League, before moving on from a group that included Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin. They were ultimately eliminated by Arsenal in the first knockout round, but Potter received widespread praise for masterminding a 2–1 victory at the Emirates Stadium in the second leg of that tie.
He was then offered to return to Britain to manage Swansea City for the 2018/19 season, following their relegation from the Premier League. It was an impressive homecoming as he set out to rebuild a new, youthful Swansea, launching a late bid for the play-offs when they hit their stride in the second half of the campaign, as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. finals, where they initially led Manchester City 2–0 before succumbing to a 3–2 loss.
Having shown that they could replicate their exciting and daring methods of Sweden in English football, Brighton were convinced to offer Potter the chance to lead them in the Premier League from the start of 2019/20. On the south coast, he set out to reinvent the team as one with the courage and ambition to go toe-to-toe with their most illustrious top-flight rivals and impose their own style on games, rather than simply aiming to preserve its Premier League status.
He made an almost instant impact, as they defeated Watford 3-0 in Potter’s debut as Premier League manager. Their first season with Brighton saw them collect a club-record 41 points in the first division, a tally they equaled in 2020/21 while also earning praise for their fearless, attacking style of football and ability to put opponents on the spot. the rear foot. His second season at the Amex Stadium also broke Brighton’s records for goals scored, goals conceded and clean sheets in the Premier League.
Their manager wasn’t done building though, as he broke his own club record by amassing 51 Premier League points last season, guiding the Seagulls to finish in the top half of the Premier League for the first time in the history. In the process, Potter broke more club records, including their biggest ever top-flight win when they defeated Manchester United 4-0 in May, a result that officially ended Man Utd’s chances of catching up with Chelsea in the race for the title. qualification to the Champions League.
The upward curve of Potter’s Brighton side continued until the start of the current campaign, when they won four and lost just one of their first six Premier League games, with a 5-2 victory over Leicester City in their last match away. position. fourth in the table.