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Graham Potter cries a river on the banks of ‘The Hardest Job In Football’


Chelsea Training and Press Conference
“top class manager”
Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Take a look around you at the world we’ve come to know.
Does it seem to be much more than a crazy circus show?

But maybe from the madness something beautiful will grow.
In a brave new world.
With just a handful of men.
We’ll start...
We’ll start all over again!

Graham Potter has chosen the ways of the “brave” Artilleryman from War of the Worlds. He has chosen to dig some holes and rebuild away from the deathly heat rays of the top of the table. Safe in the warm embrace of midtable, we can build our own little tunnel empire!

Now our domination of the Earth is fading fast
And out of the confusion the chance has come at last
To build a better future from the ashes of the past
In a brave new world...

And just like the Artilleryman, Potter will have you know he’s made great progress already, shoveling all this dirt, which has been a real tough gig. He’s got the callouses to prove it.

It may not sound like Heaven but at least it isn’t Hell.

But when this narrator, just like The Narrator in the story looks at these tunnels, all he sees is a few holes in the ground.

I suddenly had my first inkling of the gulf between his dreams and his powers...

If you’ve never heard it, do yourself a favor and listen to Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. The whole thing, and preferably the original recording. It may be the best thing to come out of the ‘70s other than Queen. But I digress, sort of.

So, yes. Graham Potter said some more silly things.

(Or, to be more accurate, he said some things that I consider very silly. You may not. That’s how opinions work. If we all had the same opinions all the time, the world would be a really boring place. If we all knew how to handle the fact that we don’t all have the same opinions all the time, the world would be an amazing place. Alas.)


The other day, decidedly un-Martian War Machine Potter-bot called the questions he was getting amid overseeing a decades-worst run at Chelsea, “stupid”. Amazingly, the coverage of him in general has softened since. (Except for Henry Winter in The Times, I see you!) José Mourinho is very jealous, sitting somewhere in Rome right now. He may have been The Special One, but The Chosen One has won the media war. Expelliarmus bad headlines!

Inter Milan’ssupporters hold a banner wi Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images

José used to laugh at the so-called “pressure” in football. The list of things that he considered actual pressure included poverty, bird flu, and not being first in the table. He succumbed to that latter one a few times.

The list of things Graham Potter considers “pressure” include having to play some coherent football and not make the team look like a collection of nincompoops while being given record amounts of financial backing and the greatest amount of job security this side of Pep Guardiola.

There’s levels to this.

Yes, some of this is unfair on Potter. Maybe a lot of it is. The injury crisis is deep. The confidence levels are low. The opponents are very good. The squad is badly constructed. The expectations may be unreasonable. That players are not automatons.

But that’s why he gets paid the big bucks. It’s his job to deal with all that. And if he can’t, then he will be just like almost every other football manager in football management history and face the unsurprising consequences. And yes, he’s one of the rare exceptions to that rule (like Pep) — for now — which does show as well.

It’s doing the workin’ and the thinkin’ that wears a feller out.
I’m ready for a bit of a rest.
How about a drink eh?
Nothing but champagne, now I’m the boss!

Chelsea Training and Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Anyway, here are (some of) the quotes [full quotes]. Read ‘em and weep. Or read ‘em and take heart in our bright new future in this brave new world ... whenever we do finish digging these tunnels.

“Change is a challenge in any organisation. [We] have to deal with the new and we have to build things up again because things have changed, things [and people] have left. That was part of the challenge to come here and I understood things would be difficult from a leadership perspective. It is challenging, stimulating, and ridiculously hard. I think it is probably the hardest job in football because of that leadership change and the expectation – because, rightly, of where people see Chelsea.”

“I obviously didn’t think we’d lose 10 first-team players but that’s where we are at. [And] when you look at everything that’s happened in the last six to 12 months, it is an incredible amount. Sometimes that can manifest itself in different things and in different ways. It would almost be disrespectful to think once that’s gone, you should expect it to pick up with all the new staff, structures and people.

“Lots of things went and you have to try to build it up again. But at the same time, you’ve still got the demands and expectations — the reality of where the club is in terms of establishing itself as a well-run football club that functions well in a really competitive environment — and maybe we’re not there yet. In my head, I think that’s quite easy to understand and get. I know there are a lot of people that don’t see it that way. I am trying to explain but I also acknowledge that I am the head coach and when we lose that I’m to blame. They don’t really want to hear from me in terms of that perspective. They want to hear about a team and I get it.”

“I understand when we’re not getting the results we want to get [but] this is a new era, a new chapter. Yes, we’re going through some pain and it’s difficult at the moment. Obviously, I understand their frustration and I appreciate the support because there is support there. But I understand there is a bit of pain we have to go through as well.”

“The players are honest and they want to take responsibility. They want to improve, they want to win. [But] they are human beings. They are paid to do their jobs, but they are not robots. They are still affected by results and things that are happening in terms of the transition phase of the club. But I have been really impressed.

“I spoke at length yesterday [Tuesday] with Thiago, Azpi, Jorgi, Kova — we had a really good conversation. They again showed their qualities as people. They were honest and articulated their concerns well. They articulated their positivity, they articulated their responsibility, and I think we are in a place where we can move forward.”

-Graham Potter; source: Football.London

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