New Chelsea head coach Graham Potter has penned a lengthy and heartfelt open letter to the fans of his previous team, hoping for their understanding in taking the Chelsea job in an “unexpected whirlwind”.
While probably not entirely all that unexpected given Todd Boehly’s reported preliminary schmoozing with the various powers that be at Brighton, Potter saw the opportunity as one he simply couldn’t pass up.
“I recognise that the change that comes so suddenly in football can be hard to accept. I may not be able to persuade you all to forgive my departure — but I would at least like to take the chance to say thank you. [...] I hope that you will understand that at this stage of my career, I felt I had to grasp a new opportunity.”
-Graham Potter; source: Brighton & Hove Albion FC
Potter of course thanks the owners and all the other people one should thank in such cases, and he recounts some of their best memories together over the past three years and change — it’s quite a letter.
Beyond the niceties, Potter seems to certainly have a knack for leaving teams on a high note and ratcheting up the challenge levels for himself in the process — he’s a rare breed of manager in that he’s never actually been sacked ... yet.
He left Östersunds FK after taking them from the fourth tier of Swedish football to the Europa League knockout rounds; he’s leaving Brighton after having taken them to their highest ever finish with last season’s 9th place. The one season at Swansea is a slight exception, but he did finish that year on a good note as well, setting them up for playoff runs the following two campaigns.
He’s risen from the depths of the Swedish football pyramid to the upper echelons of English and European football in a little over a decade. While his career winning percentage is under 50 per cent, and his lack of “big team” experience has dissuaded others from hiring him before (i.e. Manchester United), he’s done things his own way and will hopefully translate those processes into a long and successful tenure at Chelsea.