Exclusive: How new Chelsea manager Graham Potter stood out in England’s tenth tier with Leeds

Back in 2010, Graham Potter was managing Leeds Carnegie in the 10th tier of English football. Twelve years on, the 47-year-old is now the new manager of arguably one of the biggest clubs in the world.

The date was Tuesday, September 7, 2010, when Graham Potter arrived with his Leeds Carnegie side in the small West Yorkshire mining village of Castleford to take on Glasshoughton Welfare. 

A capacity crowd of 55 watched on as Potter's men continued their fine start to their campaign in the Northern Counties East Football League, Division One.

Ultimately, it was a 30th minute goal from Brice Tyani which helped Leeds to their fourth win in five games.

The man in the opposite dugout was Glasshoughton manager Craig Elliott, who still remembers the 2010 meeting.

He told Planet Sport: "I was fully aware of his team and we knew who he was because they played such good football, even then. I know it's easy to say now, but they really did.

"I think most managers in that league will testify that his Leeds Carnegie side were really hard to play against. So many patterns of play and really difficult to play against.

"I always remember that game because they had a really good number 10, Kyle Hawthorne, and we man marked him. Tactically he changed it and he moved him around. It was hard to manage and was an eye opener into how he changed the game tactically as manager.

"You could see even then how tactically aware he was and how he got his teams playing.

"Our paths crossed at that level. I sort of kept an eye on him, I know he moved to Sweden, he went to Ostersunds FK. Keeping an eye on his progress, it's just amazing really, it shows what you can do."

Elliott has enjoyed his own rise through England's footballing ladder, working his way up from the bottom of the West Yorkshire League with Kellingley Welfare to the highs of the National League North with Boston United.

When asked about the difficulty of working your way up, Elliott said: "Yeah, it's really hard. I started right at the bottom of the West Yorkshire league and worked my way up and got five promotions. You need a bit of luck along the way but you need the talent as well.

"If you win some trophies and get noticed, there's a pathway there to go as far as you want and I think Graham Potter is a perfect example of that really. Nothing can stop you if you're ambitious enough."

Potter's appointment at Chelsea will mark a rare breakthrough moment for British managers who have struggled to bag top Premier League jobs in recent years.

"I think it's a big thing, especially for the top four teams," added Elliott. "There's not been many British managers who got the opportunity.

"You really hope he does well there and who knows, maybe further down the line he might be in line to be England manager as well which would be truly remarkable. Similar story to the Jamie Vardy situation really but just in management."

Elliott believes Potter will be a success at Stamford Bridge if he is given time. He said: "I think he'll do a great job. You've just got to see what he's done with, no disrespect, players that are nowhere near as good as the Chelsea squad.

"You can only imagine the ideas and tactical work he is going to do with them. There's talented players there and it will be the best squad he's ever dealt with so I think he's going to do really well. Obviously, he just needs time like any other manager would."

Elliott is currently looking to get back into management after leaving Boston last January.

"I spoke to a few clubs in the last few months," he said. "I've been looking around and waiting for that opportunity if it's not too far away. It's the time of the year when managers start to lose their jobs. If an opportunity comes for me to get back in, I am ready to get back in the hot seat really."

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