Graham Potter says his three years at Albion changed his life – but accepts his sudden departure could be hard for some fans to forgive.
An open letter from the former head coach was published on Albion’s website.
It was completed on Thursday evening after the Queen’s death was announced.
However, it was deemed inappropriate to release the statement on Friday or Saturday.
Potter says Albion have a great owner and supporters, discussing some of the highlights – including last Sunday’s 5-2 win over Leicester which turned out to be his last game in charge.
He said it was a poignant moment for him and his colleagues as they left the club.
Potter, Billy Reid, Bjorn Hamberg, Kyle Macaulay, Bruno and Ben Roberts visited the Lancing training complex on Thursday morning to say goodbye and it is understood it was an emotional occasion.
He opens up about the “unexpected hurricane” that struck when Chelsea came in for him last week and he hopes fans understand his professional decision to move on.
Potter refers to the club as “the Albion”, as many fans do.
In his open letter he wrote: “It has been a wonderful three years with a club that has changed my life and I would like to take a moment to say goodbye to everyone who made this such a special time of my career to have.
“I’m saying goodbye to a great club that will always mean so much to me and my family. For some I realize that the change that is so sudden in football is difficult to accept. I may not be able to get you all to forgive my departure – but at least I want to take the opportunity to say thank you.”
“All good clubs need great owners and great fans. Brighton & Hove Albion have both. I will appreciate the relationships I have built in all aspects of the club. My players have done everything. My employees gave their all. The focus was on the Albion fans. Every game day at the Amex, the bond with the team was strong. When we played away, they came by the thousands to cheer us on. I know what you went through to finally see your club in a modern stadium and thrive in the Premier League. I felt it every time I stood on the sidelines.
“To those of you who have spoken when I was in town or further afield, and to the many who have written to me, all of these connections meant a lot. Their personal stories of following the club – from parents and grandparents who were fans – helped me understand what makes Albion so special.
“I hope you will understand that at this stage in my career I felt I had to take a new opportunity.
“I would like to thank Tony Bloom, Paul Barber and the directors for the opportunity they gave me three years ago and for the unwavering support that has come with it. Thanks also to Dan Ashworth and David Weir, two first-class technical directors. To the staff at the stadium and at the training ground: you all impressed me with the pride of your work. You have supported the club and you have also supported me in some difficult times in my private life.
“Brighton & Hove Albion is a club full of good people working together in the right way to get things done.
“We shared some brilliant moments. The 3-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur in my first season stands out. So did the 2-1 win over Arsenal after lockdown. It was an amazing afternoon, especially considering what many had been through over the previous months. My only wish was that our supporters would have been there to enjoy this with us.
“When the stadiums were partially open, we witnessed an incredible atmosphere in the 3-2 win over Manchester City in the final home game of the 2020/21 season. I know many of you enjoyed the 4-0 win over Manchester United last season. We ended the season with a 3-1 win against West Ham on the final day of the game to seal a record points tally for the club and their all-time highest league position. Those are great memories.
“The Albion gave me that and more. I feel like I’m a better person and a better manager for the experience I’ve had here. Not every team selection or decision has been perfect. But the club has created an environment that gives you the opportunity to make mistakes, learn from them and then improve. I’ve always tried to act with integrity and be a good person. Those are values I hold dear, and I know the Albion do too.
“What turned out to be my last game against Leicester City last Sunday was a good ending. I didn’t know then that it would be the end but looking back we played so well. There were so many positives at the club. The last few days have been an unexpected hurricane. Leaving the training ground last time was a poignant moment. Not only for me, but also for Billy, Björn, Kyle, Bruno and Ben.
“Albion fans know the club is in safe hands with Tony, Paul and David. To my successor, whoever that may be, I would like to say congratulations. You’ll be working for a great club with a fantastic squad backed by a great chairman and board. The team is playing at a high level and will get even better. Above all, the fans will support the team at home and away.
“To everyone at Brighton & Hove Albion: Thank you. It has been my pleasure and honor to serve the club for the past three years. I wish you every success for the future.”
The letter was simply signed: Graham
https://www.theargus.co.uk/sport/21272292.chelsea-boss-graham-potter-sends-open-letter-brighton-fans/?ref=rss Chelsea boss Graham Potter sends open letter to Brighton fans