Graham Potter has been named as the new manager of Brighton & Hove Albion.
Potter, who turned 44 on the day he was unveiled as Brighton’s new boss, has signed a four-year deal to take charge of the Seagulls after Chris Hughton was fired last week.
The former Premier League defender, who played a handful of games for Southampton in the late 1990s, has had a nomadic coaching career as he led Swedish minnows Ostersund to several promotions and then qualification to the UEFA Europa League.
In the past 12 months he has stabilized Swansea City after their relegation from the Premier League, with the Swans finishing in 10th place in the second-tier this season amid plenty of financial restrictions and Potter having to lean heavily on youngsters from their academy.
Speaking alongside chief executive Paul Barber, owner Tony Bloom and technical director Dan Ashworth about his arrival at he Amex Stadium, Potter is excited by the challenge of pushing Brighton further up the league in their third-straight season as a PL club.
“I’m delighted to be here. I’ve had a couple of days speaking with Paul, Tony and Dan and I’m impressed with their vision on how they want to take things forward,” Potter said. “I’ve always tried to play football in a positive way but we have to look at the strengths of the players. In any team you have to be defensively organised but we’ll look to bring a combination of both.”
Potter has never previously coached in the Premier League and admitted his entire career has been leading up to this point.
“I’ve worked very hard to make it to this point and the path that I’ve taken has been 14 years of learning and sacrifice. I’ll now do my very best for the football club and help them to develop,” Potter added.
After Hughton led Brighton to their first-ever promotion to the PL in the summer of 2017, the Seagulls have finished in 15th and 17th place respectively in their two seasons back in the top-flight. The main criticism of Hughton was that his side was too defensive and didn’t score enough goals, and they did score the fourth-lowest amount of goals in the PL season (35 in 38 games). However, many will argue that Hughton set his team up to defend well and grab goals from set pieces and crosses, as he knew that was the only way he could keep Brighton in the PL with the squad of players he has.
Potter will be tasked with transforming the style of play for Brighton, as his teams play a possession-based game which while also launching quick counters when possible. Whether or not he has the players to make this a success remains to be seen, but Potter will likely be given funds to add to the squad to ensure Brighton are not battling against relegation during the 2019-20 season.