Ostersund saw their long-term manager, Graham Potter leave them for Swansea City last Summer but the 43-year-old manager has left a lasting impression at the Allsvenskan club in Sweden.
It’s fair to say that he’s highly regarded as a legend at the club. We profiled him heavily during the Summer and leading up to his expected appointment and that was mainly down to how interesting the prospect of him coming in as our new manager was.
He was different, to say the least but not only that, he had links with Swansea City when Roberto Martinez was manager having been invited to the Spaniard’s training sessions when he was manager here. We also had a link with Ostersund which later saw the arrival of winger Modou Barrow from the Swedish club.
In a nutshell, Potter’s achievements at Ostersund are usually only seen on Football Manager computer games – taking a club from the bottom tier to the top as well as Europa League success to boot.
Following promotion to the Swedish top tier, Potter guided Ostersund to 8th in their first season in 2016 followed by 5th in 2017. He left in the early part of the 2018 season – during their winter break having lost just once in their opening six games.
They didn’t suffer too much from Potter’s departure that season as they finished the season in 6th place under new manager and fellow Englishman Ian Burchnall. Burchnall, during his time at Leeds, had met Potter and as a result became his successor.
Following their Europa League success, Potter put Ostersund on the map and Burchnall told the Independent how he gets a lot of contact from players who are interested in playing for the club.
That’s a far cry from Potter’s early experiences at the club when players didn’t want to play for the Swedish outfit in the bottom division.
“I get a lot of players contact me,”
“And certainly from England… I would say hundreds. The phone doesn’t stop to be fair! That’s how it is. We have a good scouting network now and we’re quite clear about the players that we want.” – Ian Burchnall, Ostersund FK manager.
Talking about the job he has to follow Potter’s excellent work, Burchnall, now a long-term friend of Potter who recommended him as his successor says that the Swansea boss has “set the bar really high”:
“Graham has set the bar really high, and I want to be able to continue that, but it’s going to be a new team next year and it’ll take us a little bit of time to build us right up,”
“Now the club is very stable and it’s now got new expectations. But at the same time we still have to rebuild because the players we lost we can’t bring players of exactly the same level, and at exactly the same moment in their careers. So we have to, if you like, do the same again and follow the same process, just be patient, so we have to put the same kind of players in and develop them up.”
I would say that Potter is the best manager that we’ve had at Swansea City since Michael Laudrup. Since the Dane left in February 2014, we’ve seen Garry Monk, Francesco Guidolin, Bob Bradley, Paul Clement and Carlos Carvalhal come and go. Are any of those capable of improving on the job that Potter is doing this season? I would say no.
Swansea City’s owners need to massively up their game and change a number of things in order to get the best from Graham Potter – and to get his best for a number of years. Currently, they’re at risk of losing him because of their decision-making and their complete lack of footballing knowledge.
They desperately need a new chairman and there is talk of them bringing in a Director of Football. That’s just rumours but there is talk of somebody coming in in the near future following Huw Jenkins resignation. Whatever it is, they need someone with proven ability in running a football club successfully to come in and sort things out sooner rather than later.