Following their relegation from the Premier League, Swansea City parted ways with Carlos Carvalhal before appointing Graham Potter as their new manager on a three-year deal on Monday. But who is Potter? Is he the right choice for the Swans?
The 43-year-old former full-back had a rich playing career as he turned out for teams such as Birmingham City, Stoke City, West Brom and Southampton. After hanging up his boots, he worked as a football development manager for the University of Hull and as an assistant coach for the England Universities squad before joining Leeds Metropolitan University in a similar role.
In December 2010, he was hired as a head coach by Ostersunds, who were then playing in the fourth tier of Swedish football. He made a name for himself in the Scandinavian country after guiding Ostersunds to three consecutive promotions and getting his side to the Europa League; he also won the Svenska Cupen during his time in Sweden.
En route to qualifying for the Europa League, Ostersunds knocked out Turkish giants Galatasaray and Greek outfit PAOK. Ostersunds then finished in second place in their group and hence booked their place in the Round of 32, where they beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium. 2-1. However, they were eliminated on aggregate.
As a result, the Swansea fans have the right to be excited about their new manager. His work so far has been nothing short of amazing. He built a team from scratch, turned it into a force in Swedish football, and guided them to the Europa League.
If there’s a word that describes Swansea’s needs, it’s “rebuilding”. Long gone are the days when the Welsh side played attractive and eye-catching football, led by the likes of Michu and Nathan Dyer. The League Cup triumph in the 2012/13 campaign is a thing of the past. Now the Swans should work hard to return to the Premier League at the earliest.
It’s not going to be easy. Potter is promising and even though he shares his last name with the famous fictional wizard “Harry Potter”, the new manager is no magician. Many changes in personnel are expected at Swansea in the summer, following their relegation.
It is yet to be seen which players will be convinced to arrive at the Liberty Stadium, and what Potter’s philosophy will be. He’s known for his flexibility, adaptability, and ability to change formations and tactics during matches.
A potential risk or even a problem is that Potter has no experience of managing in England. The Championship is one of the hardest and one of the most unpredictable leagues in the world, and it’s not going to be easy for the former Ostersunds boss.
The truth is, there’re two possible scenarios – either everything will be great or everything will go downhill. With Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup, it was the first case. And Swansea supporters will be hoping for Potter to replicate their success.