Why Graham Potter won’t have an ‘easy life’ if he returns….

Just 20 months after departing Brighton for Chelsea, Graham Potter has become the clear favorite to take over as head coach of the Brighton team.

Potter is expected to return to the south coast, according to bookmakers, and Brighton’s supporters are already divided over the idea.

Those who acknowledge Potter’s prior accomplishments at Brighton—who under his direction achieved a first-ever top-10 finish in the top flight in 2021–22—are in the more forgiving blue zone.

In the more vehemently angry red area, there are those who blame Potter for undermining Brighton’s chances due to his remarks about having a “easy life” while he was at Chelsea.

Two months into his Chelsea deal, five months before he was fired, Potter stated, “If I wanted a nice, easy life, I could have quite easily stayed at Brighton in the Premier League, signed a new contract and been absolutely okay.”

Potter may discover that a comeback is anything but “easy” after decimating Brighton’s backroom staff and then having head of recruitment Paul Winstanley join Chelsea.

media and forums, where Jack Stephenson—one of the two Brighton supporters stabbed in Italy prior to their game against Roma in March—joked on X that if Potter returned, he would burn himself on fire outside the Amex. A response to this joke stated there was a “0.000001% chance” that this would occur.

Now that it appears more likely, and considering that Potter believes this is a step back, the more irate Brighton supporters have every cause to worry that the club, which rose to greater heights after he left, is taking a step backward as well.

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Analysis of Brighton chairman Tony Bloom’s remarks is also worthwhile. After Roberto De Zerbi guided the team to sixth place and their first appearance in European football at the end of the 2022–2023 season, Bloom commented, “In all the years I’ve followed Brighton & Hove Albion, I’ve never seen us play football of such quality and style.” It gives me great pleasure to say that we are witnessing the best Albion team we have ever seen.

Not only is it visually beautiful, but we are also winning games and playing with a genuine goal to defeat the enemy. It’s been enjoyable to observe as we play with a new dimension.

It makes sense for a chairman to take pride in his team’s most purple patches, but if Bloom decides to go back to a coach who provides a drop in both quality and style, it might invite further scrutiny.

Naturally, Bloom’s easy way out would be to say Potter set the groundwork for De Zerbi’s team to succeed, and the chairman might find a more accommodating coach in Potter.

In a nutshell, De Zerbi left Brighton “so that the club and I can continue to work in the way that suits each of us best, following our own ideas and visions.” This is code for a disagreement over the club’s recruitment strategy, which primarily combines signing experienced Premier League players with scouting out young talent from around the world.

When the team signed “veterans” Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck in 2020–21, along with 17-year-old Evan Ferguson from Bohemians and 18-year-old Moises Caicedo from Independiente del Valle, Potter got to see this strategy firsthand.

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He was also present when Ben White, a year before Marc Cucurella, Yves Bissouma, and eventually Potter himself went, launched the massive and lucrative exodus.

De Zerbi hoped to see the £122.8 million profit in 2022–2023—a record profit for the Premier League—reinvested into big-name players who were still in the peak of their careers.

Brighton is unquestionably in rude condition ahead of what might be the second coming of Potter, even while sustainability does not draw fans out of their seats as Profitability and Sustainability Regulations (PSR) limits strike other Premier League clubs this summer.

Brighton could do much worse than go back to a coach who has coached the team from scratch and led them to ninth place, leaning toward the blue corner.

Henrik Rydstrom, the Malmo coach who has successfully abandoned rigid positional play, is preferred by some, but Brighton is unwilling to take this risk.

Additionally, Potter is perhaps the strongest candidate given that Manchester United may have to reconsider their intentions if main target Kieran McKenna stays at Ipswich.

Given what he has already accomplished there, it is a good fit, and Potter will have a platform to grow on if he drops from sixth to eleventh.

However, it appears that should he return, he will have fires to put out right away. In this sense, those in the red corner won’t be very patient, thus getting off to a good start is crucial.

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