From the doldrums of Swedish football, to the top-flight, to
Europe, to managing a Welsh club in England’s second division, to the Premier
League; Graham Potter’s career in the dugout has been nothing if not
After a nomadic playing career as a left-back, representing ten
clubs including Birmingham City, Stoke City and Southampton, Potter’s first
foray into management started in December 2010, when he took over the reins at
Swedish outfit Östersund, who had just been relegated to the fourth tier for
the first time since being founded in 1996.
The club were at their lowest ebb yet; it seemed an utterly
thankless task. Even club chairman Daniel Kindberg, despite holding Östersund
dear to his heart, was set to walk away, before a man with no experience of
management, let alone in Sweden, let alone in the country’s fourth division, was
recommended to him by then-assistant manager at Swansea City, Graeme Jones.
His only previous coaching had been with the University of
Hull, the Ghana women’s team, the England Universities Squad, and Leeds Metropolitan
He accepted it was an extremely dicey move, telling i
in 2018: “It was a huge step.
“It was probably the biggest challenge I’ve had in my life.
The first six months were really tough because you’d relocated with your family
and you had to adapt to a new life, a new culture, a new country. But
thankfully it’s gone well.”
And yet, in no time at all, Potter seamlessly made his mark.
Courtesy of a number of shrewd additions, helped by his own
connections with Nike Football Academy, and his signature progressive, aesthetically
pleasing style of play, Östersund won successive promotions in Potter’s first
two years in charge. As a result, in 2013, the Jämtkraft Arena hosted football in
the Superettan, Sweden’s second division, for the first time in the club’s
With a fresh three-year deal to his name, Potter set about consolidating
Östersund in the second tier; in their first season, they finished tenth,
before climbing to fifth the year after. But then came even more unprecedented
In October 2015, Potter led them to the Allsvenskan, the
Swedish top-flight, for the first time. For a club who had spent almost its entire
life languishing in the lower reaches of the county’s football pyramid, this
was incredibly uncharted territory.
When Potter arrived, Östersund had an average attendance of a paltry 992; their record turnout at the 8,600-seater Jämtkraft was merely 4,000, meanwhile, and that wasn’t even for football – it was for motocross. Now, here they were not only playing in front of tens of thousands at clubs like Hammarby and Malmö FF, but more than holding their own, too.
And yet, the miracles did not stop there. Promotion to Sweden’s
top table was astonishing enough, but they more than held their own in the Allsvenskan,
finishing eighth in their first season in 2016.
A fifth-place finish and the club’s first major trophy followed
in 2017, when they beat reigning champions IFK Norrköping 4-1 to claim the
Svenska Cupen, the country’s main cup competition, followed in April.
Further reward was their first appearance in European football,
qualifying for the Europa League via their cup glory. And though they took one
of the most circuitous routes through the competition, entering in the second
qualifying round in mid-July, it proved another of Potter’s greatest feats.
A stunning 2-0 win over Turkish titans Galatasaray at the Jämtkraft was followed up with a 1-1 draw in Istanbul which saw the home faithful swallow their pride and applaud Potter’s band of brothers of the pitch.
Graham Potter Tactics
“I was stunned,” Kindberg told BBC Sport in 2017.
“The Turkish supporters – who had been very hostile at the beginning –
rose up and applauded us off the pitch.
“I asked some of the staff, ‘What is this?’ And they
were shocked. Galatasaray were founded in 1905 and they said that never in
their history had they applauded a team off. It had never happened before.”
We have a turnover of £5 million. To beat a team like
Galatasaray who have a turnover of £140m, that is impossible. It’s 28-29 times
the turnover. It’s not possible but it happens in football because we can beat
the numbers game. It’s not about the money here, it’s about the other stuff.”
Greek side PAOK were then successfully negotiated in the final
qualifier, beating on away goals after 3-3 draw on aggregate after two legs. It
made Östersund Sweden’s only representative and Potter the only British manager
in the competition proper.
Finishing second only on goal difference in a group including
Hertha Berlin, who they beat 1-0 at home, and Athletic Bilbao was impressive
enough, but it was their 14th and final match in the tournament which
will no doubt live long in the memory.
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal were all-but through having humbled Östersund
3-0 in their own back yard in mid-February; and indeed, the Gunners would
ensure that Potter’s men bowed out at the round of 32.
But not before an incredible 2-1 win in the return leg in February 2018 left the Emirates stunned and Potter’s stock higher than ever.
Two goals in two first-half minutes from Hosam Aiesh and Ken
Sema – now at Watford – forced a lead the Gunners could only halve on the
night. Even though they exited the tournament that night, you would not have
known it by the scenes at the Emirates.
Potter would eventually
cut ties with the club the following June for Swansea City, leaving Östersund
seventh in the Allsvenskan 11 games into the season, on the back of an average gate
of 5,265 in 2017, more than six times bigger than that when he first arrived.
A solid first season in English football management saw
Potter help the Swans, who finished tenth, regain the identity somewhat having
been relegated the season before.
His dynamic, engaging playing style was more akin to the
so-called ‘Swansea way’, while he put his faith in countless youngsters; two of
them, winger Daniel James and 24-goal man Oli McBurnie, were sold to Manchester
United and Sheffield United the following summer for £15 million and £20
million fees respectively.
Potter moved on, too, taking over from the sacked Chris
Hughton at Brighton & Hove Albion prior to their third successive Premier
League campaign to complete the longest of paths into the top-flight for any of
its current 20 bosses.
And Östersund? Well, thanks to the foundations Potter laid, the Swedish underdogs have continued to thrive.
They went British again for their next appointment, turning
to Ian Birchnall, formerly a coach at the academies at Leeds United and
Bradford City and assistant at Norwegian sides Sarpsborg 08 and Viking.
Under Birchnall, Östersund secured sixth place in the 2018
campaign, though this season has been more arduous, occupying the lower
echelons of the table. The club has also continued to attract cast-offs from
English clubs, just as it did under Potter, such as Chelsea youngster Charlie
Colkett and former Manchester United midfielder Ravel Morrison, before moving
to Sheffield United.
“We are not here to be mid-table,” Kindberg said in that
same BBC interview.
“That is terrible. Being fourth is the worst position you
can be. Second is not good enough. We are here to be champions.”
Potter may be gone, but it’s thanks to the spell he cast on Östersund during his eight-year tenure that these dreams are far closer to reality than they ever were before.
❤CREATIVE 3D VISUALS ROOM DECOR: This is a 3D illusion light that displays football when it lights up, and an optical acrylic flat board carved with laser light gives you amazing 3D visuals. The 3d night light itself actually is flat but can creates an innovative 3D visual artistic atmosphere light. This is sure to surprise and impress your children and guests. Amazing optical visual illusion home football lamp makes your room more interesting.
❤7 COLORS CHANGING WITH SMART TOUCH: By acrylic light guide and the LED colorful source, LED football light can export a variety of color visual effects with a touch of the button on the base. This 3D LED illusion lamp has 7 different colors for you to change and choose, easily realizing your colourful 3D visual illusion depending on your mood or surrounding. Then the 8th touch to turn on makes it into the random colors.
❤A GUARANTEE OF QUALITY SLEEP: The kids lamp adopts newly designed ABS lamp holder and environment-friendly acrylic material, which is strong and high in toughness. 3D illusion lamp football is the most suitable bedside decoration lamps for infants and children. The light of table desk lamp is soft and bright, let your lovely child feel warm and have a good sleep at night.
❤LONG LASTING & ENERGY SAVING: Give your child a 3d football light to satisfy his curiosity about the unknown area. Durable ABS base in which there are 9 LED beads, powered by 5V USB cable connected to computer, laptop or your household adaptor. Power dissipation: 0.012kw.h/24 hours; LED Life span: 10000hours. This football night light for boys takes less energy, and even turns it on all night.
❤FOOTBALL GIFTS FOR BOYS: The beautifully designed gift boxes with our colour changing lamp are not only the best football toys for young football fans, but also the best Christmas gifts for children on birthdays, Birthdays, Thanksgiving, weddings, anniversaries, baby gifts, farewell parties, New Year's day and other best gifts for your family and friends.
⚽ Pratice And Enjoy - Perfect solo soccer trainer with premium quality and adjustable cord stretching up to 18 ft.Also comes with a durable tethered waistband, Enjoy praticing and improving your skills of control ball, shooting, passing, receiving, dribbling, throw-in like without chasing and pressured all around
⚽ Universal fits different sized balls-The football elastic band includes 5 velcro straps, the length of the velcro has 28cm, suitable ball size of 3, 4 and 5 ball.Players of all levels can gain more soccer skills through using this soccer training equipment
⚽ Flexible and Adjustable - The football training kit's belt strap is adjustable to fit waist sizes (33"-39").The elastic strap stretches 6ft -18 ft.Flexible adjustment of the ball length for better praticing and playing in backyard,playground and park for kids and adults
⚽ Develop Confidence - Shooting, passing, receiving, throw-ins, all of these ball control skills can obtain by training with this solo soccer kick trainer.Develop your confidence by improve the accuracy of the goal for each game
⚽ 100% Satisfaction After-sales Service: Kuyou promise to provide you the best option for outdoor articles. Please email us if you have any question, we will reply in 24 working hours
AMAZING COUNTING FOOTBALL: Introducing the latest innovation in football, Smart Ball Kick up Counting Football with lights and sounds This amazing counting football allows you to challenge yourself and your friends to see who can achieve more tricks Use your feet, legs, knees, chest and shoulders to keep the Smart Ball from hitting the ground and it will count each time it makes contact with you.
FEATURES LIGHTS AND SOUNDS: As you reach key milestones Smart Ball will speak words of encouragement to spur you on as you challenge yourself to keep the ball in the air, and for even more fun, the Smart Ball lights up each time it comes into contact with your body.
CHALLENGE FRIENDS: Compete with your friends to see who can get closest to the magic 100 kick ups
PERFECT GIFT FOR FOOTBALL FANS: Whether you are looking for a Birthday gift, Christmas gift or other event, the Smart Ball Kick Up Counting Football is the perfect gift for football fans aged 6 years and over
PRACTISE: Great for practising your kick ups and freestyling skills
NO NASTY CHEMICALS: Our kids drinking bottle is BPA FREE & LFGB certified so you know your children are safe making the perfect football water bottle. The strong food-grade silicone ensures this kids drinks bottle is safe and a great football gift or boys birthday gift
EVERYDAY I’M GUZZLIN’: Do your kids drink enough water? With a capacity of 500ml, up to 4 refills of this kids bottle is enough for their daily intake to be met. The flip-top spout makes the elefunkie childrens drinks bottle practical as well.
FUNKY & FUNCTIONAL: Stunning football design you won’t find on another drinks bottles for kids. And when it’s all said and done, collapse it and put it away. Truly a unique gift for boys & girls and great as a birthday gift for boys
DROP RESISTANT & LEAKPROOF: When did the last boys drinks bottle you bought lasted a whole school year? The elefunkie kids sport bottle is drop resistant up to 4ft making it ideal for sports and other fun activities
ADD TO CART: Once you’re done, collapse, clip and go. All elefunkie water bottle for kids come with a carabiner so you’ll never lose it. So CLICK ADD TO CART and take advantage of our 30 day money back guarantee and give them the perfect boys gift
[Gorgeous sports toy set]: Anpro hovering football set contains a hovering football, an inflatable football, two football goals, a special inflatable pump, a USD charging cable and four suction cups; the ball needle is in the pump Inside the back cover, it will be safer and will not hurt children. Our hovering football has passed ASTM, HR4040, CPC, EN71, MSDS certification.
[Move by buoyancy]: The hovering football has a powerful built-in motor and fan to generate airflow, so that it can float on a smooth surface. The hovering football has a built-in lithium battery that is rechargeable, with a battery capacity of 1200 mAh. It can be played for about 35 minutes when fully charged, which is more environmentally friendly and convenient.
[Impact resistant design]: The edge of the ball is made of high-quality soft foam safety material, and the foam bumper is made of high-quality EVA ring material. The edge is not easy to burst, which can slow down the damage during exercise and protect it. Furniture. The straight tube at the bottom of the goal is stable with a suction cup and will not move easily.
[Colorful LED lights]: The hovering football is equipped with LED7 color lights. Colorful LED lights will bring more fun! It only needs a small space to play football with children at any time. It is a good choice for family games or children's games, and it can promote parent-child relationship.
[Exquisite gift for children]: Hovering football club is an ideal choice for children. It can arouse children's interest in football and cultivate sports habits. It is suitable for indoor activities and gatherings when you cannot go out. You can enjoy it easily PK battles and team competitions are fun, and you can play with multiple people!
VALUABLE PACKAGE: 12 x 9"(22cm) plates, 12 x 7"(18cm) plates, 12 x cups, 24 x table napkins, 12 x invitation cards, 12 x gift bags, 30 x balloons ( green, white, black 10pcs/color ), 1 x tablecloth, 1 x GOAL football banner, 4 x foil balloons.
SAFETY & GOOD MATERIALS: All of the products are 100% food grade, non-toxic and durable. Plates, cups, napkins, banners, gift cards are made of Eco-friendly white paperboard. Gift bags, table covers are BPA free plastics. The balloons are made of foil and latex.
PERFECT SIZE: The plates are 22cm / 9 inches and 18cm / 7 inches in diameter, the cups are 250ml, the napkins are 17 x 17cm, the invitation cards are 14 x 11cm, the gift bags are 25 x 16cm, the table cover is 180 x 110cm, the foil football balloons are 45cm in diameter, the latex balloons can inflate up to 30cm.
WIDE OCCASIONS: Football party can be arranged all kinds of places, such as school and home, outdoors and indoors. Using theses party packs to decorate your kid's football theme birthday party, football sports festival, catering, picnic, outdoor events and so on.
NO RISK PURCHASE: Add to Cart now! Satisfaction guarantee and 100% high quality. If you are not satisfied with it, please contact us by Email to get a full refund or new one.