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ADRIAN KAJUMBA: Chelsea boss Graham Potter has proven himself as a leader and risk taker

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ADRIAN KAJUMBA: Graham Potter arrives in West London with no elite club experience and no major trophies portfolio… 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 trophy success
  • Potter started his career as the boss of Ostersunds 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 excelled at leading a locker room and taking tactical risks

When one of the football giants is looking for a new manager, experience in winning big trophies and dealing with the huge demands of working for an elite club is usually on the list of most important requirements.

That’s one of the many reasons why Chelsea’s decision to name Graham Potter stands out.

Potter has neither on his resume, but after conducting their extensive research and due diligence as they assessed what they had inherited and also the wider football world, he emerged as the head coach they wanted above all others.

Chelsea have hired Graham Potter as manager despite his lack of experience at elite clubs

Potter replaces former manager Thomas Tuchel who was sacked after just 100 days under new owner Todd Boehly

Potter replaces former manager Thomas Tuchel who was sacked after just 100 days under new owner Todd Boehly

While the brutality of their decision to part with Thomas Tuchel after just 100 days was characteristic of former owner Roman Abramovich, the new owners’ approach to hiring managers will seemingly be refreshingly different.

Many previous Chelsea managers who handed over the job under Abramovich have ticked the above boxes but had mixed success at Stamford Bridge, elsewhere and were also on the big club board carousel that the new owners didn’t want to be a part of.

That doesn’t fit the culture they want and seeing the same old faces going around at the top level of the game is seen as something that has surprised them since they entered the football world.

So a new name was chosen 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

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 done to date. But how will he get the chance if no one gives him that chance? Chelsea were more than happy with it.

For some, his appointment may be seen as a risk, but in some ways it’s appropriate.

The risks Potter has taken during his career and his willingness to think outside the box, such as leaving England to begin his management career at Sweden’s Ostersunds, are part of the intrigue and appeal.

Like Potter’s ability to do more with less, as he did in Brighton. Imagine what could be done with Chelsea’s wealth.

He joined Swansea in 2018 after climbing Swedish club Ostersunds from the fourth tier to the top flight

He joined Swansea in 2018 after climbing Swedish club Ostersunds from the fourth tier to the top flight

Boehly has had success taking that approach with the LA Dodgers franchise he co-owns, appointing Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations after watching him perform 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 proof that he is not only able to stand his ground, but also regularly outsmart the big boys has been proven.

And with all their experience hiring senior executives in their various companies, Chelsea’s new hierarchy sees attributes in Potter that characterize him as an emerging leader, one that they were able to act quickly as they followed Tuchel’s resignation thanks to all that previous research. .

 

Longevity and stability are important to Chelsea’s new bosses. Their current Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has held the position since 2016.

Alexis Mac Allister's brace against Leicester helped Brighton to their fourth win in six games

Alexis Mac Allister’s brace against Leicester helped Brighton to their fourth win in six games

And they have shown their faith and commitment to Potter by handing him a five-year contract and appointing the trusted staff unit he needed around him to be successful.

Collaboration and communication are also central. The lack of both in their relationship with Tuchel were factors in his downfall.

Potter is on the same page and, contrary to what Tuchel wanted to be, will be involved in Chelsea’s appointment of a sporting director.

Brighton assistant Billy Reid will be one of the staffers following Potter to Chelsea

Brighton assistant Billy Reid will be one of the staffers following Potter to Chelsea

They hope to have a world-class one before the World Cup kicks off in November, ready for the January transfer window.

Boehly and co-owner Behdad Eghbali addressed the Chelsea squad for about 15 minutes and spoke separately with a group of older players following Tuchel’s sacking on Wednesday.

In addition to reiterating their belief in the squad, commitment and support, one of their messages was their excitement for the future. A future they are now being led into by Potter.

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