In a week that saw the ascension of a new Prime Minister as well as a new King, the appointment of Graham Potter as the new Chelsea head coach understandably flew under the radar a bit. And by a bit I mean it wasn’t even in the same airspace, literally.
But football’s disappearing act and self-imposed vow of silence ended on Monday, and that included Chelsea TV’s first interview with the new man in charge — our 30th (at least; not including all the interim men) of The Queen’s 70-year-long reign,
That legacy of frequent managerial changes is not the one Potter’s looking at however. Instead, he’s seeing the legends, the trophies, the football heritage of winning. And that’s what he’s looking to continue with the owners’ blessing and support.
“It’s the start of a really exciting period. New ownership, who I was really really excited with and impressed by, firstly as people and their vision for the club, what they wanted to do. Of course the history of the club speaks for itself, but it’s [also] about creating that in our own way
“[Personally] it’s nice to be able to take the next step. [...] You see the pictures, you see the trophies, you see the names, it’s incredible. And It’s a huge honor to be a part of that now.
It’s often helpful to look at a coach’s job history to try to glean some insight and set some expectations, even if they may unveil some radically new approach never used before (like Tuchel did a year and a half ago).
But Potter’s focus appears to be on man-management. While every new head coach espouses that quality to some extent, Potter has had several unique experiences to help hone those strategies. He’s even acquired a real degree from a real university, getting his Master’s in “Leadership and Emotional Intelligence” from Leeds Metropolitan University, which learnings he’s since applied to his job. Sounds impressive!
“I like players to enjoy their football. That’s really important, that you can create a team where the players actually enjoy playing.
“[We] like to play in a balanced way, in an attacking way, with good structure but ultimately players have to feel free to make decisions, to express themselves, to be positive, to play with pride and enthusiasm [...] Now it’s about winning, it’s about creating a team that competes, that has respect for each another, that is honest and works together, so it is a combination of football and human values.
“I think you have to understand they are human beings first, and the key thing is to try and understand them, understand what motivates them, and understand what they are like as people and then try to come to some common ground, try to build relationships, try to communicate effectively on a daily basis, and build respect, build trust, build honesty.”
That said, it’s undoubtedly a massive challenge for Potter and big vote of confidence from the new owners that he is indeed our guy. If this works out, this could be the start of something amazing and beautiful and maybe even long-term. If not, we could all be in for some ridicule.
But stepping outside your comfort zone is an important life-skill. Sink or swim. Glory or ignominy. Our destiny is in our hands.
And Potter knows that all the fancy words won’t do any good if the results don’t improve.
“I always think that in order to get better, you have to take a little step outside of what’s comfortable, and our job as coaches is to provide the players the opportunity to do that. Everybody wants to improve, everybody wants to compete, everybody wants to be part of something, and I think our job is to create an environment where that’s possible.”
“[The] Premier League is the toughest league in the world [but if] you want to convince people you’re on the right path, it’s [all about] winning.”
-Graham Potter; source: Chelsea TV
Welcome, GP! Let’s win some things then!