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5 things about Ostersund boss Graham Potter

The English coach has been making a name for himself by reaching remarkable new heights with Swedish club Ostersund.



Graham Potter

Graham Potter

You could be forgiven for not knowing the name Graham Potter.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at five things you may not know about the 42-year-old.

Playing career

Born in Solihull, Birmingham, Potter was a trainee with the Blues. While at Birmingham, he had a loan spell at Wycombe before moving on to Stoke and Southampton. Potter, a full-back, played 10 times in the Premier League for Saints, including an appearance in the famous 6-3 win against Manchester United at The Dell in 1996. He was capped for England Under-21s while at Southampton, featuring in a European Championships qualifier against Moldova. Stints at West Brom, Northampton, Reading, York, Boston, Shrewsbury and Macclesfield followed before he retired in 2004.

Life after football

Potter had studied for a social sciences degree while playing for Southampton and eventually completed his Masters. After hanging up his boots at the age of 30, he undertook coaching roles in higher education at universities in Hull and then Leeds. It was at the latter where he did his coaching badges: A Masters in Leadership and Emotional Intelligence. Ostersund chairman Daniel Kindberg plucked Potter from his role at Leeds in 2011, considering him the right man to turn his struggling club around on the recommendation of then-Swansea manager Roberto Martínez’s assistant coach Graham Jones, who had played with Potter at Boston.

Rise of Ostersund

Potter took over at Ostersund in 2011 when they were in the Swedish fourth tier. In his first five seasons in charge, the club won promotion three times to reach the Allsvenskan – the top division of Swedish football – for the first time in 2016. Last year, Potter steered Ostersunds to their first major trophy, the Svenska Cupen, to seal qualification for the Europa League qualification stages. Ostersunds finished second in Group J, level on points with Athletico Bilbao, losing only once match.

Lone Englishman

Potter began the season as the only English manager in charge of a club competing in European competition, David Unsworth later took charge of Everton during the Europa League group stages following the sacking of Ronald Koeman. To reach this stage, Potter has masterminded victories against Galatasaray and PAOK Salonika in the qualifying rounds before progressing from a group which included Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao.

A return to England?

Potter’s success has begun to see him linked with jobs in England – most recently at his former club Stoke prior to their appointment of Paul Lambert last month. A relative unknown before the start of this season, his exploits with Ostersund have now caught the eye and he has the chance to enhance his growing reputation in the two matches against Arsenal.