Graham Potter has insisted he will remember Swansea City fans for the rest of his life after ending his spell in charge after less than a year to take over at Brighton.
The 44-year-old – who once said he would remain at the Swans, “for however long they want me to stay” – was confirmed as the Seagulls’ new manager on Monday afternoon.
The Swans had offered Potter a new contract in an attempt to ward off interest from the Premier League club, who sacked Chris Hughton following the end of the season.
But after the club’s American owners had initially rejected Brighton’s approach, former Ostersund boss Potter completed the formalities of a four-year deal.
Following Potter to the south coast as part of his backroom staff are assistant Billy Reid, coach Bjorn Hamberg and head of recruitment Kyle Macaulay, with the Swans receiving £3m in compensation.
“My message to the Swansea City fans is to say thank you,” said Potter after being unveiled by Brighton.
“The support they gave me was incredible. I’ll remember that for the rest of my life’
“I’ve worked very hard to make it to this point and the path that I’ve taken has been 14 years of learning and sacrifice. I’ll now do my very best for the football club and help them to develop.’
“I was sold by the long-term vision and passion shown by Tony Bloom, Paul Barber and Dan Ashworth. The ideas and plans they have for the future of this football club excited me; I am thrilled and honoured to be a part of it.
“I’ve always tried to play football in a positive way but we have to look at the strengths of the players. In any team you have to be defensively organised but we’ll look to bring a combination of both.
Potter, who turned 44 on Monday, had two years left on his current deal at the Liberty Stadium.
Appointed last summer, he guided the Swans to a 10th-place finish in the Championship last season.
But now the club are back in almost the same position they were a year ago – needing to find a new man to get the best out of a young group of players, while costs around them are slashed and high-earning players are moved on.
Recently appointed chairman Trevor Birch claimed the club did all it could to hold onto Potter until the point at which he told them he wanted to leave.
“We received a request from Brighton last week to speak to Graham over the vacant managerial position at the club,” said Birch in a statement on the club’s website.
“We had absolutely no desire to lose the services of Graham after the excellent work he had done over the course of his debut season. We therefore declined Brighton’s initial request to speak to him.
“We then spoke to Graham in length over the request. These discussions included the offer of a new, improved contract and certain assurances regarding future squad strengthening.
“These assurances would have had to sit within our current financial budget, but we were confident that by working together we could build on the excellent progress the team made last season.
“Unfortunately, following those amicable discussions, Graham expressed a desire to challenge himself in the Premier League and we reluctantly allowed him to speak to Brighton after agreeing a compensation package.
“It goes without saying that we are very disappointed to lose Graham and members of his backroom staff, but we would like to thank him for the excellent work he did during our first season of transition and we wish him well at Brighton.
“We will endeavour to keep supporters aware of any developments.’’