Graham Potter was today (Monday) announced as the new Brighton and Hove Albion manager. Here Ian Hine - from seagullsprogrammes.co.uk - looks at what the former Swansea manager will bring to the club.
It is clear that Graham Potter is a coach who thinks progressively and doesn’t just focus on what happens on the pitch. He has a set of leadership values that have stuck with him throughout his coaching career.
These come under five headings, which he outlined in a discussion with The Football Association via their ‘Boot Room’ learning centre.
Transparency Potter believes “it’s important not to try and hide anything from anybody”. He is his own man and will always look to think about the long-term and “making decisions that you know are the right ones”
Long-Term View He likes to see people improve. This covers not only the coaching but the way in which he creates an environment that will have a positive influence on people
Sincerity and Honesty He believes that “in football you have to make decisions and choices every day”. He goes on to say “there is often negativity (in football) and really the only way you can start to get your head around that and change, is by being honest, open, sincere and trustworthy”
Reliability “There has to be a consistency in how you act and behave. You need to be 1% unpredictable, just to keep people on their toes, but generally there’s a need to be consistent”
Professionalism “Professionalism is about doing your best, taking responsibility, analysing what you do and trying to get better”. He talks about the creation of an environment “where the players feel empowered, confident and motivated enough to make their own decisions”
All of this points to a man who looks to get the very best out of his players as people, as well as a footballer, for ninety minutes on a Saturday.
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For the fans of course, it is all about results and maintaining our position at the top table of English football. More than that, there is a desire to see season-on-season improvement and a move towards the upper echelons of the Premier League. The appointment of Graham Potter brings not only a highly respected coach to Albion, but also someone who looks beyond what happens on the pitch.
He set up a ‘Culture Academy’ at Östersund, designed to take players out of their comfort zone. A performance art project would be announced in January and throughout the year, the players would attend workshops and rehearsals, before a performance in November. It wasn’t universally popular with the players, but many surprised themselves. Potter firmly believes that seeing individuals grow and become more confident and self-aware, will help with their football actions.
When he joined Östersund, Potter was struck by the vision and clarity shown by Chairman Daniel Kindberg, who wanted his club to make a difference. Albion have a Chairman who has similar objectives. Much has been said about Tony Bloom’s desire to create an elite environment for everyone at the football club. The stadium, together with the continued investment in the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre, means that Graham Potter will be able to bring his philosophies to bear right across the club.
It won’t be easy. When new managers are appointed, we often hear about the implementation of ‘a project’, when the reality is that success is judged on results. A poor run will mean dismissal, as Chris Hughton found to his cost. Graham Potter will know that he has to not only win over the players, but the fans as well. He brings the right credentials for success and every Albion fan will be hoping this will be translated to progress next season.