Every seven days Graham Potter laces up his trainers and goes for a jog down the Brighton seafront. It is, by some margin, the worst half hour of his week.
‘I absolutely hate running,’ the Brighton supervisor tells Sportsmail.
‘But I try to do it once a week just for my brain, just to deliberately do something I don’t like. It’s sort of a torture however I’ve to be ready to take care of the ache.
‘I just think, “I hate this, I hate this. Why am I doing this?” I don’t discover a zone or a psychological excessive. No. I Just discover actual satisfaction when I’ve performed it. That’s all it’s for. To present that I can.’
Graham Potter displays on Premier League administration as he begins a fourth yr at Brighton
Football administration is a nerve-racking enterprise. It might be argued there may be sufficient ache and anguish at work with out including extra on prime in your spare time.
But Potter’s outlook on life has all the time been about asking himself only one extra query, taking only one extra step. Three years into his time at Brighton that philosophy stays.
‘In football the best way to convince people you are on the right path is to win,’ says Potter. ‘And when you are at Brighton or a lot of clubs in the Premier League, you don’t win that usually. International breaks come, you get attracts, you get a defeat, the fixture schedule throws large golf equipment at you.
‘Psychologically that may be an enormous problem so I attempt to see it as one thing I’m lucky to expertise. I attempt to suppose, “I am getting this challenge that allows me to try to grow as much as possible”.
The 47-year-old led the Seagulls to their highest ever Premier League end of ninth final season
‘It is brutal at times. But you have to see it as a way of making you better as a person. Because what is the alternative?
‘Work is sometimes needed to find perspective, to zoom out of the emotional rollercoaster of the Premier League.
‘Because if you can’t do this it may drive you insane and alter you for the more severe. I’d by no means need that.’
Three months in the past nearly to the day, Potter watched his Brighton workforce demolish Manchester United 4-0 on the Amex Stadium. Brighton had been to complete ninth within the Premier League, a file for the membership.
‘It was one of those days you have to appreciate,’ he recollects.
‘The sun was shining, the team was playing well, we scored, caught the opposition at a good time and that was everything we needed. It was a good game and a good day. But it’s gone.’
On Sunday, Brighton start their season at Old Trafford. United have a brand new coach and new gamers. Brighton will likely be with out Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella, bought to Tottenham and Chelsea for a mixed whole of £90m. Potter, as all the time, is optimistic.
He says: ‘Sometimes you find yourself standing on the side of these pitches thinking, “Wow, this is amazing”. There is nothing wrong with that. It would be a shame if I ever thought differently.
Potter admitted his three years at Brighton had been ‘challenging’ amid grief and Covid
‘My mum and dad aren’t with us any extra, bless them. But they had been working folks and would have beloved to have watched these video games.
‘Think of all the people in the world who would swap places with me. It’s unbelievable.
‘So you owe it to the game and everyone who has supported you to at least try to enjoy the opportunity to succeed or fail. It’s not all the time so easy. It’s robust however you actually do need to strive.’
Potter misplaced each his dad and mom throughout his first season at Brighton. Soon after that, Covid struck. At the tip of it, he stored Brighton within the Premier League by seven factors however at occasions it felt a bit extra twitchy than that.
‘The three years here have been incredibly challenging,’ he nods.
‘It’s been actually robust however sensible as nicely. The older I get the extra I realise life is like that. There is a great deal of great things however a great deal of unhealthy stuff as nicely. Nobody escapes it. We are all the identical.
‘The first year was probably the toughest of my life. Losing two parents so quickly and dealing with the emotion of the Premier League.
Potter lost both his parents in his first season before football was shutdown due to the virus
‘I was asking myself if I was feeling angry or upset because of the football or because of the stuff I was going through as a human being. You have to try and work that out. Maybe I still don’t know.
‘Then the pandemic hit and with all this in the background I was trying to convince everybody we were on the right path here and the truth is there isn’t a large quantity of endurance within the trendy world.
‘Ultimately people want to win and when you are getting 41 points — as we did — then it’s clear you aren’t successful that a lot.
‘So it’s robust to maintain going ahead and that’s the place I’m lucky to have a great membership right here with good folks to provide me the soundness to have the ability to be a coach. None of us are good. We all want that help and I’m at a spot the place I get that. I’m grateful.’ Brighton’s endurance has been repaid. The workforce’s soccer is intelligent and progressive and has steadily improved beneath their 47-year-old coach together with their league place. Potter has additionally ignored not less than one — probably two — overtures from Tottenham within the final yr or so.
Always a person to comply with his personal path, Potter arrived at Brighton having coached at college stage, then in Sweden and solely briefly at Swansea within the Championship. If anyone was going to show away from an opportunity to leap on the first large membership that approached him, it was him.
‘There are different jobs and different challenges,’ says Potter.
‘The truth is that in this league there is nothing easy. You look somewhere else and you could think, “More money, more problems”.
‘The ego can constantly make you look or compare yourself to someone else. You can think, “That could be better”.
‘But I try not to compare myself to another manager or this club to another club. Because it’s a recreation I can’t win. I don’t learn about anyone’s circumstances other than my very own.
‘All I know is my own journey in life, my own ups and downs. So I focus on me and this club and how we can improve. It still feels right for me here.’
Realism about Brighton’s long run plans is partly behind the sale of Marc Cucurella to Chelsea
Cucurella’s sale to Chelsea for £60m this week represents very good enterprise by Brighton. The Spanish defender was purchased final summer time for £15m. It is, in some methods, typical of what the membership do however on the identical time it feels pertinent to ask whether or not this serves as any comfort for a supervisor whose job it’s to win matches.
‘We could soon be in a position where we have sold £150m of players in the last three windows,’ Potter acknowledges.
‘Would it be easier to win games with Ben White, Dan Burn, Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella? Yes. But that’s the job right here. I’ve to grasp this stuff will occur and it’s then about what we do with the cash and the way we preserve progressing. That’s the fascinating bit.
‘If the remit here was to win the Premier League, I would be saying a different thing. But it’s not. Our intention is to be a top-10 Premier League membership and a part of that technique is knowing that if Champions League groups come in your gamers on the proper time and proper worth then it’s a must to use it as a strategy to recruit your subsequent participant and develop and develop your membership.
‘It is tricky as we need to be mindful of the supporters. We don’t wish to be seen as a improvement membership.
‘We are here to win points and move forwards but most of our supporters understand that it’s not a straight line upwards.
‘We have a good foundation and strategy and that enables us to keep calm even though it will once more be a huge challenge. Because, as I say, the Premier League is brutal.’
Potter tries to maintain himself busy with a weekly stroll, as a part of his restoration from administration
Before his first season at Brighton, Potter spoke to this newspaper in regards to the challenges forward. He stated he hoped the pressures of the Premier League wouldn’t change him. So have they?
‘I am sure I have changed but I would like to think it has been for the better,’ he says. ‘Three years ago I am sure you asked that meaning would it change me for the worse.
‘Of course the challenge is increased. You need to continually fight off the external noise. It’s so all-consuming and since the bubble is so ridiculous — and I say that not in a nasty means — it may make you’re feeling prefer it’s extremely necessary.
‘It is, of course, but at the same time I look at my kids and ask myself if it really is that relevant.
‘I am at a club that has fought relegation and we know the consequences of going out of the Premier League. So it can consume you. Therefore you have to work hard to put things in place that give you a breather emotionally and mentally so that you can maintain the quality of your work.’
For Potter, launch comes primarily from his spouse, Rachel, and three youngsters. During his early time at Brighton he felt he was not exercising sufficient or studying sufficient. He believes he has mounted that now.
He sometimes escapes to stroll on Brighton’s South Downs — often with a hat on — however admits the emotional affect of 90 minutes on the touchline will be exhausting to exorcise. ‘I try to be controlled during a game as if I am too emotional I am not helpful to the team,’ he explains. ‘Being angry is fine but it has to be at the right time and I don’t all the time get that proper.
‘But games do take it out of me. After a match I say you need 48 hours. That’s the restoration course of. Games are so emotional and a lot occurs to your physique it takes me two days earlier than I can really feel regular once more. Every week you might be pushed to a restrict.’
Potter is an formidable man. His pure equanimity shouldn’t be misconstrued. He will handle at an enormous membership at some point and is deservedly excessive on the FA’s listing as an eventual alternative for Gareth Southgate.
For the meantime, his aims stay pure and that’s uncommon. ‘My motives at the start of my coaching career were about making a difference to myself and other people,’ he says.
He believes his spell at Swedish aspect Ostersunds has taught him his job is about serving to folks
‘In Sweden at Ostersunds we won promotion three times, won a major trophy and went in to the last 32 in Europe.
‘So winning is part of the process. It convinces people and it speeds up development. You need both and, don’t get me flawed, I wish to win trophies.
‘But I am also clear that this job is about helping people and making a difference to teams and clubs.
‘That’s incredible and that’s what you do it for. It’s not me doing this, it’s the gamers. My function is comparatively small. I’m simply making an attempt to offer them with an setting by which they’ll progress.
‘But when I think back to Sweden and guys who came from lower levels who then had great experiences that enabled them to change their life, that’s a tremendous factor as a human being.
‘I still track them and am still happy for them. Helping people is essentially a really good thing in life, isn’t it?’