Graham Potter claims he received emails wishing he and his children were dead.
Chelsea have launched an investigation into their manager’s five-month abuse who only managed one win in ten games in 2023, “that I die and wants my children to die,” Potter said. “So this is obviously not pleasant to receive.”
The club have offered full backing for the former Brighton manager, who replaced Thomas Tuchel in September, while the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust said in a statement on Saturday it was “appalled” by the “beyond unacceptable” threats.
It is understood that the decision to report the abuse to the police rests with Potter. Poor results, including last week’s 1-0 home defeat by bottom Southampton, have angered a sizeable segment of Stamford Bridge faithful.
Chelsea, who travel to Tottenham on Sunday, are 10th in the Premier League, 11 points off Champions League qualifying spots. Potter accepted that the fans’ unease was understandable, but made it clear that the criticism affected him.
“Your family life suffers, your mental health suffers, your personality — it’s tough,” he said. “My message is that you have to take the situation as it is, accept the criticism, take the position that we’re in, which is that it should be better, but don’t engage in things that are wrong. Try to have perspective, but at the same time acknowledge the criticism and the bad feeling. That’s how it should be.
“It’s challenging and if you go to work and someone scolds you, it’s not going to be comfortable. When you’re called the worst person in the club’s history, you can be like, ‘oh I don’t care’, but you know I’m lying because everyone cares what people think because we’re hardwired are to be socially connected.”
Potter knows his quiet demeanor during games has led to accusations from fans, who have been tipped off about Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte’s touchline antics, that he is not sufficiently emotionally invested in their club.
“I want to succeed here, so this idea that I don’t care is nonsense,” he countered. “Ask my family. Because people get the impression that you don’t care and my answer is based on that? How do you know? And I would like you to ask my family how life was for me and for them. It wasn’t pleasant at all.
“I understand that the fans go home and are really upset because their team doesn’t win. But I assure you that for the last three or four months my life has been a daily average, apart from being really grateful for this experience, that I can do this, but also to say what a great challenge it is. “
Potter also acknowledged that a man who makes millions of pounds a year does not automatically qualify for sympathy, instead insisting to his detractors that he worked as hard as anyone.
“The world is hard for everyone,” he said. “We are going through an energy crisis, a cost of living crisis. People go on strike every two weeks. Things are tricky so nobody wants to hear about the poor old Premier League manager.
“You asked me ‘Is it hard?’ And I say ‘yes, that’s it, you’re suffering’. You get upset when you are private and show genuine emotion towards your family.
“My job is to act as I think I should act best for the team and the club and to act with what integrity is right for me. I never want to be anyone else. I don’t wanna be fake I’ll be me and I’ll do my best and if my best isn’t good enough, ok, I accept that.
“You know there is a problem when the email sent is from potterb——@gmail.com.”
Potter also made no attempt to hide from the fact that, despite repeated assurances from the club’s American owners, he will be under pressure until the winless streak is ended. “Of course, if we don’t get the results, that happens,” he said. “This is football.”