New Chelsea boss, Graham Potter once got his players to perform ballet Swan Lake, and his assistant Billy Reid to rap

I hope Chelsea Football Club is ready to embrace the "Culture" under their new boss, termed as "Modern Football Manager", Graham Potter.

Avignyan Mukhopadhyay
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Graham Potter arrived at Chelsea's Cobham training ground on Thursday to sign a contract to take over as manager. He had earlier verbally agreed to succeed Thomas Tuchel, who was sacked on Wednesday.

Graham Potter could turn the Blues in a 'Culture Club' like he did in Sweden with Ostersunds.

Well before the English coach, 47, arrived on our shores with Swansea and then Brighton, he was making waves in Scandinavia.

But his management style was a little bit different to others.

He encouraged the arts on his players and staff - and in his time with the Allsvenskan club they wrote a book, put on an open-air rock concert and, most memorably, staged their own version of ballet Swan Lake.

Better still, his trusted assistant Billy Reid - who has loyally followed him on this journey - penned a self-written rap which he also performed live.

Graham Potter embracing the culture:

Graham Potter | Sportz Point

From 2011 to 2018, Potter managed Swedish minnows Ostersunds ( Image- AP)

From 2011-18, Graham Potter was a hero with Ostersunds.

He led the Swedish minnows from the fourth tier all the way to the top flight in just six years.

They even enjoyed a miraculous run in the Europa League, beating Hertha Berlin and, more famously, Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in 2018.

Behind-the-scenes, they worked with local artist Kevin Wahlen to create 'culture academy' to bring players and staff out of their comfort zones and challenge them outside of football.

Wahlen, in effect, became the world's first culture coach.

"The players hated it at first," Wahlen told Sky Sports in 2020.

"But we ended up having a lot of fun and life time memories. And it gave them courage, too. It's not always the one who is the bravest on the pitch that is bravest on stage.

"It was controversial having a football club in the Swedish top-flight working with culture.

"People assumed that men can't or won't have the possibility to think about anything besides football, or perhaps FIFA when they get home.

"There was something exciting about getting a group of men to do ballet. The risk is that if we assume that men don't have the capacity to do anything besides play football or video games, then it can becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"Graham was a true inspiration to work with - and he always took a lead role, even if he thought it was scary."

From Swan Lake to spitting lyrics

Sportz Point

Alongisde trusted assistant Billy Reid, Potter led the club to Europa League success against Arsenal (Image-Getty Images)

Back in 2013, Scottish coach Billy Reid joined Graham Potter in Sweden following a long stint with Hamilton Academical.

Two years later, he found himself performing a dance routine to world-renown ballet Swan Lake.

A month later, Reid found himself channelling his inner Eminem.

Reid told Inside Sport in 2017: "The culture aspect is a massive part of what we are doing at Ostersunds."

He added: "It's different but it is tremendous for team bonding. It takes people out of their comfort zone and puts them in different places.

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"You get to see people at a human level.

"It would be wrong for me to pick up that and copy and paste it here. I've kept the theoretical reasons why we would do that and tried to apply them in a different way.

"It's fundamentally about whether you can build an environment which is empathic, where players can appreciate the differences amongst us, sometimes we want everyone to think how we think. Teams and groups can be better when there's a difference.

"We've got a multicultural environment here, which is a gift, something we should cherish and appreciate. Just because we see the world one way doesn't mean the guy sitting next to us does, and we talk about that a lot."

"Build him a statue" -Ostersunds Fan

Graham Potter: GP | Sportz Point

A student of the game, Potter has studied the philosophies of Roberto Martinez, Pep Guardiola and Raymond Verheijen (Image-Getty Images)

Although it never quite happened, Potter's success in Sweden led to an Ostersunds resident writing to his council to build a statue of the Solihull-born tactician.

Potter modestly said when it was proposed five years ago, "I'm hoping they can spend their money somewhere else - it is very embarrassing."

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What isn't embarrassing is Graham Potter's epic rise.

Although a Swedish Cup is all he has to show in terms of silverware in his management career, his teams have always won admirers for the way they play the game.

When he was coming up in the game, he studied Roberto Martinez's training methods at Swansea and became inspired by his possession-based approach, along with the "holistic" training principles he observed during his travels to Spain.

Graham Potter also cites the philosophy of Pep Guardiola and Raymond Verheijen's periodisation model among his influences.

I hope Chelsea Football Club is ready to embrace the "Culture" under their new boss, termed as "Modern Football Manager", Graham Potter.

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