Thomas Tuché fired, Graham Potter has agreed to Chelsea to become the new coach of the Blues. Without being very well known to the general public, the English technician has acquired a good reputation after notable passages in Sweden, Wales and more recently in Brighton.
The ax fell on Wednesday. Not the best with new owner Todd Boehly, Thomas Tuchel suffered from Chelsea’s average start to the season in the Premier League and especially in the Champions League with the defeat in Zagreb (1-0) this week.
A time in competition with Mauricio Pochettino and even Zinedine Zidane, it is Graham Potter who will succeed the German technician and leave Brighton, current fourth in the standings, to take a new step in his already fine career as a technician. The English press announces this Thursday that Potter has agreed to Chelsea. A nice revenge for the one who took the time to cut his teeth far from the luxury of the English first division.
An average footballer but an overqualified coach
A little-known left-back, a cape with the English U21s in 1996. When the generation of Beckhams, Southgate and the Neville brothers took power at the Three Lions, Graham Potter was just discovering the Premier League by joining Southampton after a start in career in the lower divisions.
This lack of top-level experience may also explain why the current Seagulls coach didn’t really benefit from a big rating when he hung up his boots in 2005 to settle on the sidelines. .
Holder of a graduate in social sciences from a British university, Graham Potter first held positions with university teams or for the Ghana women’s selection at the 2007 World Cup. he also completed a master’s degree in leadership and emotional intelligence in Leeds.
“I was a pretty bad player, I knew I was not going to have the opportunities like a player with a star career, even recognized Graham Potter in remarks relayed by the Welsh site Wales Online in 2018. […] My mother always pushed me to continue my studies and I would like to think that it made me more complete. »
And the interested party to add: « I needed to try to gain confidence. I didn’t just want to be the ex-footballer. I wanted to be more than that and I liked to learn. »
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice of Ostersunds
Thanks to his new skills acquired during his various university studies, Graham Potter finally won his first experience at the head of a professional club… on the bench of Ostersunds in Sweden. After evolving his entire career in England, having lived there all his life until then, the technician decided to fly to northern Europe.
Despite the cold, which will even push him to organize many indoor training sessions after having the sweat of his players « literally turn into ice cubes », the Englishman will spend more than seven years in the Swedish club. Arrived in January 2011, Graham Potter left in June 2018 after 224 official matches and a good ratio with 109 wins for 56 draws and 59 defeats. After taking over the team in D4, he brought it to the first division and even offered it a first crown in the national cup in 2017.
Arsenal victim of Potter’s first spells
Better, for what will be his last season in the city of Ostersund, Graham Potter will allow the local club to experience a fabulous epic in the Europa League. After hitting Galatasaray during the preliminary rounds, the Swedes came out of their pool ahead of Zorya Louhansk, Hertha Berlin and tied on points with Bilbao.
The miracle quickly took a hit behind the head with a heavy home defeat against Arsenal (0-3) in the first leg of the round of 16. But Ostersunds shook the Gunners in the second leg.
After 25 minutes of play, the Swedish club were already leading by two goals on the lawn of the Emirates and only the reduction of the gap by Sead Kolasinac will put an end to the Scandinavian dream. At the end of the season and after a great adventure in Sweden, Graham Potter launched an assault on the Premier League.
The (slightly) disenchanted parenthesis in Swansea
But rather than try his luck in an elite team, Graham Potter joined the Championship (D2) with the aim of raising the Welsh club Swansea. Just relegated from the Premier League, the team where then-promising Oliver McBurnie and Daniel James played.
In 51 games in all competitions with the Swans, a single season, Graham Potter got away with a lackluster record on the accounting level with 21 wins for 11 draws and 19 defeats. If the club finished quarter-finalist in the FA Cup, pushing Manchester City to its limits (2-3), the Galloins failed in a sad tenth place in the Championship.
Despite not being promoted to the Premier League, Graham Potter has definitely made a name for himself across the Channel during his only campaign with Swansea.
The results did not necessarily follow but the football practiced by the Welsh team thrilled the fans. Almost unsurprisingly, the one who was then considered to be one of the coaches capable of embodying the revival of English coaches caught the eye of the club determined to make its move to the first division: Brighton.
The Wizard of Brighton
Despite five great years at the head of the Seagulls, Chris Hughton was dismissed in May 2019 after his team’s 17th place in the Premier League. Appointed in his place, Graham Potter landed in the seaside town of south-east England with big ambitions in the game. With the millions allocated to English clubs thanks to TV rights, Graham Potter recruited several ball players like Neal Maupay and especially Leandro Trossard.
The blows during the transfer window and the clearly offensive tactical choices of Graham Potter took a little time to bear fruit. After having more quietly ensured the maintenance of the team in 2020 (15th with seven points ahead of the red zone), the technician further helped Brighton to progress. This was not seen in accounting terms during the 2020-2021 season with a 16th place in the championship standings. But in the game, yes.
The Seagulls have become a tough team to maneuver with a solid block that saw them finish the campaign with England’s sixth-best defense behind Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham… excuse the bit. By dint of working well in his club, Graham Potter ended up making an impression during the 2021-2022 financial year. Still as solid in defense (46 goals conceded, sixth best team in the Premier League), Brighton has also found great offensive efficiency.
Without a real star but with a homogeneous group, the 47-year-old coach’s players finished the season in a good ninth place, just five points behind Europe. Performances such as Graham Potter’s name finally appeared on Tottenham’s or England’s post-Southgate shortlists. It’s finally Chelsea, his next challenge.