ADRIAN KAJUMBA: Graham Potter arrives in west London with no elite club experience and no portfolio of major trophies… but the new Chelsea boss has more than proven himself as a leader and risk-taker
- Graham Potter was officially announced as Chelsea’s new manager on Thursday
- The new boss is in many ways an unconventional appointment for a top six giant
- Elite clubs tend to recruit head coaches with significant major trophy success
- Potter began his career as Ostersunds boss in the fourth tier of Swedish football
- He then spent a season at Swansea in 2018 before joining Brighton a year later
- The 47-year-old has excelled at leading a dressing room and taking tactical risks
When one of football’s giants are searching for a new manager, experience of winning major trophies and handling the huge demands of working at an elite club are usually on the list of main requirements.
That is among the numerous reasons why Chelsea’s decision to appoint Graham Potter stands out.
Potter has neither on his CV but after their exhaustive research and due diligence carried out as they assessed what they inherited and also the wider football world he emerged as the head coach they wanted above any other.
Chelsea appointed Graham Potter as manager despite his lack of experience at elite clubs
Potter replaces former manager Thomas Tuchel who sacked after just 100 days under new owner Todd Boehly
While the ruthlessness of their decision to part with Thomas Tuchel after just 100 days had hallmarks of former owner Roman Abramovich, the new owners’ approach to appointing managers is, seemingly, going to be refreshingly different.
Many previous Chelsea managers handed the job under Abramovich have ticked the aforementioned boxes but had mixed success at Stamford Bridge, elsewhere and also been on the big club managerial merry-go-round the new owners wanted no part of.
That does not fit in with the culture they want and seeing some of the same old faces going round and round at the highest level of the game is thought to be something that has surprised them since entering the football world.
So a fresh name was selected when it was their turn to appoint a new manager of one of Europe’s superpowers.
The 47-year-old head coach impressed the Blues after establishing a winning culture Brighton
Potter may not have done what some of the more established names have just yet. But how will he get the chance to if nobody will give it to him? Chelsea were more than happy to.
To some his appointment maybe considered a risk but in some ways that is fitting.
The risks Potter has taken throughout his career and his willingness to think outside the box, such as leaving England to start his managerial career at Swedish side Ostersunds, are part of the intrigue and appeal.
As was Potter’s ability to do more with less, like he has done at Brighton. Imagine what might be possible with Chelsea’s riches.
He joined Swansea in 2018 after climbing Swedish club Ostersunds from fourth tier to top flight
Boehly has had success adopting that approach with the LA Dodgers franchise he co-owns, appointing Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations after watching him overachieve and compete in MLB’s toughest league with the Tampa Bay Rays and significantly less resources than those available to their big-name rivals.
Potter’s Premier League experience and evidence that he is not just capable of holding his own but regularly outwitting the big boys is proven.
And with all their experience of appointing senior executives in their various businesses, Chelsea’s new hierarchy see attributes in Potter that mark him out as a leader on the rise, one they were able to move quickly for following Tuchel’s sacking thanks to all that previous research.
Longevity and stability are important to Chelsea’s new bosses. Their current Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has held his position since 2016.
Alexis Mac Allister’s brace against Leicester helped Brighton seal their fourth win in six games
And they have shown their faith and commitment to Potter by handing him a five-year deal and appointing the trusted staff unit he felt he needed around him to be successful.
Collaboration and communication are also key. The lack of both in their relationship with Tuchel were factors in his downfall.
Potter is on the same page and, unlike Tuchel wanted to be, will be involved in Chelsea’s appointment of a sporting director.
Brighton assistant Billy Reid is set to be among the staff members to follow Potter to Chelsea
They hope to have a world class one in place before the World Cup starts in November in readiness for the January transfer window.
Boehly and fellow co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali addressed Chelsea’s squad for around 15 minutes and spoke to a group of senior players separately following Tuchel’s dismissal on Wednesday.
As well as reiterating their belief in the squad, commitment and support, among their messages was their excitement for the future. A future that they will now be led into by Potter.