Graham Potter – who guided Swedish minnows Ostersund to a shock Europa League victory at Arsenal this week – has admitted there would have been no point in him applying for the York City manager’s job when he was working as an academy coach at Bootham Crescent.
The former England under-21 international, who played at left back for the Minstermen during the first three years of the new millennium, went on to cut his coaching teeth with an under-13 side that would go on to become the club’s best youth team during recent times, finishing runners up to Hull City in the 2009/10 Football League Youth Alliance north-east table.
Jamie Hopcutt, who followed Potter to Scandinavia after being released by the Minstermen and drifting into amateur football with the likes of Ossett Town and Tadcaster Albion, was a member of that team, along with current Halifax right-back Michael Duckworth and highly-rated centre-halves Dean Lisles and Ryan Qualter.
But Potter freely confesses that – despite having gone further in European football this term that any other Englishman – his potential as a coach was never going to be recognised by any chairman at a professional club in his birth country, whilst he was working at such a young age group and in universities, as he did at Hull and Leeds Met.
Reflecting on those formative years, in an exclusive interview with The Press after the excellent 2-1 triumph at the Emirates, Potter said: “There are talented people everywhere, but it’s not so easy to get the opportunities.
“That’s the reality of football, I suppose. I started off at York City coaching the under-13s and really enjoyed it.
“It was great. Then, I just tried to think about how I could improve as a coach and what I needed to do to get better and took the opportunity that came my way to do that. I couldn’t really rely on what I’d done as a player, because I wasn’t very good and the truth is, when I stopped playing at 30 and went into coaching at youth and university level, I was never going to get the York City job because people want somebody with experience.
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