Graham Potter departs Swansea City for Brighton with a 'heavy heart'

Graham Potter
Graham Potter played for Birmingham City, West Brom, Stoke City and Southampton

Graham Potter says uncertainty at Swansea City and the lure of the Premier League combined to convince him to join Brighton.

Potter has said sorry to Swansea's support for leaving just 11 months after taking charge.

He departs with a "really heavy heart" but felt he could not reject Brighton given Swansea's financial issues.

"I can only apologise (to the fans). I hope they understand the rationale," he said.

"I tried my best at Swansea in difficult circumstances. I know it's football, it's emotional and there are people who are disappointed.

"But hopefully, when you zoom out of it all, they can understand a little bit as well.

"My feelings for them won't change regardless of what they think of my decision or me.

"My position on them is one of huge gratitude and respect because they have been brilliant to me. I will always remember that and be thankful for that."

When Brighton's interest became apparent, Swansea offered Potter an improved contract which would have made him one of the best paid managers in the Championship.

But after a year of cost-cutting at the Liberty Stadium - and with further player exits expected this summer - Potter opted for Brighton.

"They (Swansea) did indicate they wanted us to continue and I was very happy for that," he added.

"But it wasn't necessarily about my own personal situation or getting extra salary or anything like that. It was more how can the club carry on moving forwards - what the position was there.

Graham Potter
Graham Potter has signed a four-year contract with Brighton

"In fairness to them, that economic challenge we faced still remains. I suppose that until a lot of that gets cleared up it's hard to give solid assurances as to what we can do in the short to medium term, because you are waiting for potential sales or to clear people off the wage bill.

"I appreciate (the contract offer) was an indication of their support for me. But it was more: 'How can the club go forward in the short term to match the opportunity I had at a Premier League club?'."

'Little bit sad, but excited for new challenge'

Potter has signed a four-year contract at Brighton, who are looking for improvement in the top flight having narrowly avoided relegation last season.

"I have mixed emotions," Potter added.

"I am sad because I had a great time at Swansea. You are a little bit sad that we couldn't finish off what we started.

"Then of course you are excited for a new challenge and trying to test yourself in the Premier League.

"I was looking forward to the challenge at Swansea. I had no intention of moving or leaving.

"But the Premier League brings its own attraction. The chance to play against the best teams and have that experience - I felt in the end it was one I couldn't turn down.

"Whilst I'm disappointed and I am sure others are that I wasn't able to see out my time at Swansea City, I am happy with the progress I made in a short space of time.

"I feel the club is in a better position now than it was when I arrived, but at the same time I understand it would have been nicer to finish things off in a better way."

'Positive future'

Potter says he was conscious of the fact Swansea had given him his chance to manage in English football when it came to deciding whether to go.

The fact that his young family had settled in Wales was also a factor, but the pull of the Premier League proved decisive.

"You have to weigh up everything. I did that and thought about it very carefully," Potter said.

Billy Reid, Graham Potter and Kyle Macaulay
Graham Potter (C) will be joined at Brighton by Swansea assistant Billy Reid (L) and head of recruitment Kyle Macaulay

"In the end I made a decision with a really heavy heart - while at the same time being really excited - because I had left somewhere I had a lot of feeling for and I still do.

"I know it's just words and it doesn't mean anything, but I have a lot of time and respect for Swansea City. It's a fantastic club with great people and I really enjoyed my time there."

Swansea say they have received numerous applications having begun the search for their next manager.

Despite opting to go, former Ostersunds FK boss Potter feels Swansea have "a positive future".

"I think they will probably make a couple of sales which will clear the economic situation somewhat and allow them to be on the front foot," he said.

"There's the nucleus of a really good team and there are assets on the pitch, so financially the club will be in a better position eventually.

"Football is about players and supporters. They have good players and fantastic supporters, so I am excited for them and I look forward to watching them progress."

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