There is now another former Blues player in the betting, this time it’s 42-year-old Graham Potter.
Currently manager of Swedish club Östersunds FK, the Solihull-born man could be a shock name to take the reigns at St Andrews.
Sky Bet currently have him at 16/1 to take the hotseat. That’s strong odds considering he’s come straight into the betting only yesterday and player-coach Paul Robinson is only at 28/1.
Meanwhile, Potter has been head coach over in Sweden since 2011 and is the only British manager in this season’s Europa League group stages after leading Ostersunds to a comeback win over PAOK Salonika in the play-off.
The Swedish side – who have risen from the fourth tier right to the very top since Potter’s 2011 appointment – are currently sitting at a comfortable 6th place in the league.
Daniel Kindberg and the rest of his Ostersunds FK board sat down in the autumn of 2010 to discuss how they could revive a tiny football club that, having sunk to the fourth division, was on its knees.
They needed a coach so they called a young Englishman who they had been trying to persuade to come to Sweden over the previous 15 months. Graham Potter had been studying for a master’s degree at Leeds Metropolitan University, with the expected birth of his first child further complicating a move abroad. However, the former Blues man then took the leap.
“He’s not only a football coach. He’s probably one of the best men I’ve ever met in my life.” – club captain Nouri
Over three years, Potter spent time as a football development manager for the University of Hull, an assistant coach for the England University Squad, as well as a technical director of Ghana’s women’s team at the 2007 World Cup in China, before heading to Leeds. That’s when the remarkable turn around begun…
At the first time of asking, Potter steered Östersunds to promotion, back into the third tier. The following season the club were promoted again. With back to back promotions you’d expect a club to be happy with their current position and try and stay in the division. Instead, the Englishman planned his route to the very top. In 2015, that plan worked and he guided his team to the top, finishing as runners-up, just a point behind top spot.
For the first time in their history, Östersunds are in the top flight. It remains to be seen where the future lies for the former Birmingham man, but one thing for sure is he’s curated one of the most greatest stories in football.
The former Southampton man said: “It’s easy to just say: ‘They won’t be able to do that.’ It’s our job to prove such attitudes wrong. In football, you need stories like ours to show anything is possible.”
Remarkably the club are now hitting full capacity at their home ground, 9,000 compared to 800-odd before Potter’s arrival.
Owner Kindberg has received enquiries for his manager from a number of English clubs, but it seems he’s not willing to let his man go and believes they have a very good chance in Europe:
“We can win the Europa League. Absolutely, we can,” Kindberg said. “If we couldn’t, there’s no point competing. You shouldn’t hope. You should believe. That’s the difference.”
Whether or not the six years at the club is enough for Potter to turn his cheek, remains to be seen. But having those Blues and Midlands connections could be a major head-turn and having the chance to manage in England with a fresh challange will be an attractive prospect, after fulfilling everyone’s expectations in Sweden.
Potter obviously has a wealth of football and coaching knowledge, and with an astounding four promotions to his name, his CV is definatley worth looking through.
The St Andrew’s faitful are calling out for a young English manager that knows the game in this country. Is an ex-Blues player, ex-Premier League player and most probably Blues fan the man we should be looking at? We’ll leave that up to you and maybe even the board to decide, but he certainly ticks all the boxes!
What do you think, is this the man for the job? Let us know in the comments below!