“Why do you watch it?” A lot of people ask me this question. Well, they certainly don’t understand what football means to us. The untold stories, the firing passion, the drops of tears falling through our eyes, the joy of happiness are what people who never watch football can’t understand. On the behalf of all the football followers, Passion haters; I present you the most inspiring story of a footballer and a manager, a person who transformed a small club of Sweden into world beaters. The story of Graham Steven Potter.
Born in Solihull on May 20, 1975, Potter is a former English footballer who is the head coach of Swedish Allsvenskan club Ostersunds Fk. In a 13 year playing career, he made 307 league appearances and also played for Southampton in the Premier League.
Ostersunds was in deep trouble at one time, and had no idea on the way to overcome those troubles. The owners, then turned to Graeme Jones (the assistant manager of Roberto Martinez at Everton and Belgium), who referred them to speak with Potter. Potter signed a contract with Ostersunds FK in 2011, and the rest- as they say- is history. He took the side from 4th division to the 1st, and also in the Europa league.
In 2011, Ostersunds had no idea to where they were heading, but Potter has taken them to the Europa League and have drawn and played Arsenal in the round off 32 of the competition. Even if they fail to beat Arsenal, it has already been a remarkable journey, with the club defeating Hertha Berlin in the group stages.
His name has become so famous that an Ostersund resident has submitted a proposal to build a statue of him – a plan which has received so much support it will be discussed by the city’s council. When looked at how he transformed a small club into world beaters, there is just one simple formulae; an idea and hard work. Each season the players get some time off training, and learn new skills which they show to the public. During Potter’s tenure, the players have performed a play, written a book and held an art exhibition. This totally displays the co-ordination in the team and the belief the players have put in Graham Potter. Training under Potter is tough, but with the belief that he can take them to the top, the players never shy to train and get better everyday. The belief of the players on Potter is so much, that they could handle a hostile environment of Galatasaray. Eveybody knows how the passionate the fans of the Turkish clubs are. They overcome Galatasaray away, and also beat Hertha Berlin in the group stage. The main aim of Potter’s is to win the Swedish league, and that will finally conclude a remarkable rise to the top. From playing in the fourth tier in 2011, to playing Arsenal in the Europa league and dreaming to win it is a major accomplishment. Potter had no job and was thinking of quitting management before Ostersunds came calling. He had a tough task to handle, but he surely has done a great job in handling it. Nobody should be surprised, if they someday see Ostersunds fighting for the Champions League qualifications. With Potter at the helm, everything is possible for this team, with nothing to lose. Potter dreamt of the top, and his dream is not so far off to be true. Potter has also gained comparison with Roy Hodgson, the former England and the current manager of Crystal Palace, who also gained his first bit of success in Sweden. From being unemployed to taking a team in complete dilemma to the top and gaining comparisons with Hodgson, it has truly been a remarkable journey.
The world was against him and the club, but Potter with the help of the fans and players has fought back. This story of Potter is the most motivational rise to the top, and surely the football haters with different agendas of their own would want to think again after reading his story.
This is a story of a person born in England, who managed to become an angel of Sweden. A salute to you, Graham Steven Potter.