It’s taken a while, and probably longer than it should have, but today we finally had it confirmed that Graham Potter will be the next manager of Swansea City.
This is the most excited I’ve been about a managerial appointment since Michael Laudrup took over half a dozen years ago.
Our most successful appointments have been those who have been those left field appointments who were looking to make a name for themselves and this has the hallmarks of those type of managers.
He has done a phenomenal job in charge of Ostersunds in Sweden. Three promotions, a Swedish Cup win and a Europa League run that saw them knock out Galatasaray and push Arsenal close.
It sounds very similar to what the Swans achieved from 2005 to 2014 except for one man achieved all of that whereas we had a number of different managers during our successful era who all contributed to the journey.
The best part about all of this though is that he hasn’t achieved this success by playing long ball one dimensional football, but by playing with a style similar to the Swansea way of old which has been sorely missed in recent seasons.
In a this excellent interview on this website https://inews.co.uk/sport/football/football-indepth/graham-potter-interview-osterdunds-arsenal/ Potter described how he achieved his success in Scandinavia saying “We’ve gone through the leagues and built our reputation on being a tactically flexible, attacking, possession-based team, I would say. We’ve had to use players that maybe the conventional Swedish system hasn’t valued as much and therefore you have to adapt your style around the strengths of those players. I think that’s been our identity. “Players that are brave, that aren’t afraid to make mistakes. That can get on the ball and show courage and really try to enjoy their football. If the players are enjoying their football, there’s a chance that the supporters will enjoy it as well. And that’s how you grow and develop as a club.”
Reading that is so refreshing after the boring, slow paced, defensive crap of the past couple of campaigns. We so badly need a manager like this, how many times have you come away from the Liberty over the last three seasons and enjoyed the game? I bet you can count them on one hand for each term.
I don’t see a big change coming overnight but I’m hopeful that given time Potter can steer us in the right direction. This is a huge rebuilding job. Several players will have to leave to balance the books but that’s certainly not a bad thing. After the way most of them played in 2017/18 and the lack of effort in various games then I couldn’t care less if nearly all of them left.
The problem is going to be shifting them which will be especially difficult for our new manager in a World Cup year which always slows the market down early on and as well as the transfer window closing on 9th August. The Swans have done late business in the last couple of years but these factors suggest that a lot of our players will leave the club late on. Especially the likes of Alfie Mawson and Sam Clucas if they are to leave because they are unlikely to be fit until then anyway.
Due to this we will be unable to sign too many players as we don’t know positions will need strengthening as well as our lack of finances and by the time we can act most of the players who are available will have most likely already moved leaving us with a limited pool of players to choose from.
Speaking of limited pools of players hopefully Potter can broaden our horizons where this is concerned so we aren’t being linked to the same players as normal and hopefully the chairman has now learnt that he needs to take a backseat where transfers are concerned. Potter must have the final say in terms of who goes out and comes in unless finances dictate that tough decisions have to be made. So for example if we get a high offer for Mawson I think we’d all accept that it’d be difficult to turn down. But other than incidents like that it should be what the manager says goes. There are many reasons for our failings in the recent past and recruitment is one of the standout ones. If this doesn’t change then whoever comes through the door is going to find life very tough at the Liberty.
As fans we need to show patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say and as long as we are trying to rebuild the Swansea way and avoid a serious battle with the drop next term then he should be given two full seasons before we even consider parting company. It will take him a few transfer windows to remould this squad and he needs to be given time to do this. Having four full time managers in two and a half years is a recipe for disaster which has been proven. Stability is what we need now and the fact that Potter stayed as Ostersunds for over seven full seasons shows this is a man who would be coming here for the long term.
Let’s hope it turns out that way.