Potter, too, seems to be sending a message: the right tracksuit for Brighton’s side, but now that he’s stepped into the white heat, he needs to consider somewhat. It seems that clothing is weaponized for soulless opportunism.
But Scott McCarthy, editor of the fan site WeAreBrighton.com, has a deeper perspective on the whole thing. McCarthy says that in Potter’s first year and a half at Brighton, he never gave up his tracksuit. But then, after a bad start to the 2020-21 season, Potter “started his journey to becoming a fashion icon. I can tell you exactly how the game went, because it came as a shock.” It’s the January 2021 game against Wolves, McCarthy said, and Potter wears an ugly outerwear and a dirty brown scarf.
And Brighton started winning. Since then, McCarthy says, Potter has mixed up a wider range of high-end items: “fashionable jumpsuits, stylish chinos, fancy sneakers. He even went so far as to have a hipster-style beard. Once, McCarthy said, Potter looked like a “gym teacher”. But when his personal style is in focus, respectively, “Albion has climbed from the edge of the Premier League’s relegation zone to the highest ever ninth place.”
Is it right? Did Potter’s style slowly develop in Brighton without any of us really paying attention? McCarthy admitted that Potter took a big leap after leaving Brighton. “What else could explain the fact that he appeared on the bench in his first game as Chelsea manager with gray hair?” McCarthy criticized Potter for “depriving the entire first-team coaching staff of the club” and for leaving mid-season. But his anger is contained by two things. First: Brighton is now managed by Roberto De Zerbi, as “a stylish Italian as they come”. And second: at the end of October, at home on the south coast, De Zerbi’s Brighton beat Potter’s Chelsea 4-1.
McCarthy called the former Brighton manager an almost derogatory nickname: Glow Up Graham. He said he heard it from “someone behind me in the red wine queue at halftime against Chelsea.”
I asked, “Do you think he’s changing his new look?”
“Oh yes, a lot,” McCarthy said. “And obsessed with the radicality of it all, I can’t wait to see where it goes next. Now that he is rumored to be earning £12 million a year at Chelsea, Glow Up Graham’s next stop has to be Gucci.”
I have to admit that McCarthy’s view changed my mind. Reading a few more things, I came across this quote from January 2022, when people still thought Potter was someone who lived in Brighton. “It’s hard to be a catchy name when you’re called Potter, especially if your name is Graham,” he said. said in a press conference. “Added to that long face and beard, I just need to continue to be a football coach and work with the players.”
I can’t help but wonder if, in my own way, he is quietly expressing a secret desire to be seen differently. Is his progression in style really as structured and planned as his best Brighton team’s most complex attacking play? At first, I judged him harshly, certain that Potter was dressing grudges for the job of a big boy, no matter what the Brighton fans looked like. But now I realize that, perhaps, something else is going on. Something more personal, something more intimate. He can not become others in Brighton. Not by accident. So is this cause or effect? It’s almost certain that Graham Potter started dressing like this because he took the job at Chelsea. But it’s a bit more likely – and much more interesting – that he took the job at Chelsea because he always wanted to dress like this.