Life is a Cabaret – Östersunds FK

One thing that caught my eye when reading up on our opponents for the upcoming Europa League round of 32 tie, was that the club liked to employ unusual methods to get the best out of its players. So, let’s take a look at the club’s management and its leftfield ideas.

Since 2011 Östersunds FK have blasted their way to the top tier of Swedish football, having been promoted three times. In 2017 they won the Svenska Cupen which enabled them to participate in this season’s Europa League for the first time. Marching past Galatasary and PAOK in qualifying, Östersunds finished second in their group on the same points as Athletic Bilbao, leaving Hertha Berlin trailing in their wake. They are no mugs.

Graham Potter had a so-so career in English football playing for Stoke, Southampton and West Brom amongst others. With a strong desire to stretch himself academically, he studied for a degree in Social Sciences via the Open University and later followed that up with a Masters in Leadership and Emotional Intelligence from Leeds Metropolitan University.

As the man himself has said, “You need to know about football to coach, but you need to know about people, too. Sometimes that can be the difference. It’s about how you bring a team together. How you communicate as a team. How you understand each other. And, ultimately, how you unite the group for a common cause.”

Potter had worked as a football development manager for the University of Hull and Leeds Metropolitan University plus as assistant coach for the England Universities Squad, before being approached by Östersunds chairman, Daniel Kindberg, about a coaching job. After initial hesitation from Kindberg, Graham Potter was eventually employed as Östersunds head coach in December 2010.

Together they came up with the idea of a ‘Culture academy’ when former lieutenant colonel, Kindberg, realised he might have to take an unorthodox route to make the Swedish minnows successful.

As the Östersunds chairman has said about his playing staff, “Many of them were discarded by their clubs — leftovers that people perceived as not good enough, but when we put them together, in an environment like ours, they have become fantastic players in Europe.”

How to get the best out of individuals and the team as a whole has been the cornerstone of the club’s philosophy. An art exhibition, writing a book, dancing to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake plus various singing and theatre assignments have followed, all designed to bring the players together and make them ‘comfortable in uncomfortable situations’.  Scheduled rehearsals go on throughout the season, fostering a real sense of camaraderie and team spirit which extends to the football pitch.

Billy Reid, Potter’s Glaswegian No.2, used to manage Hamilton Accies but recently wrote and performed a rap about the Sami people, an indigenous minority of the Swedish Arctic known for reindeer herding.

To say it’s an unconventional approach is an understatement – take a look. This was the Östersunds players opening the 2016 Swedish Football Gala by dancing along to ‘There’s No Business Like Showbusiness’.

What do we think? Could a similar approach be successful at Arsenal?

Maybe Snow Wenger and the Seven Dwarfs, a rueful tale about the manager’s obsession with skillful, slight midfielders of limited stature?

Or The Wizard of Oz – starring Brave Sir Robin, Samir Nasri and Adebayor as the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow alongside Cesc Fabregas’ Dorothy?

Can you think of any productions Arsene and the boys could have featured in, in the past?

However strange the approach taken by the Östersunds FK management might seem, it has certainly reaped dividends and Arsenal can be sure of a warm welcome on Thursday evening.




70 Responses to Life is a Cabaret – Östersunds FK

  1. Jjgsol says:

    I hope our players are not complacent, otherwise I can see another forest looming.

  2. RC78 says:

    Best way to win an important trophy and qualify for the CL so we must put in a solid performance. However, given the opposition, I would not necessarily risk unecessary injuries and I would use the game to boost some players’ playing time and confidence.

    Ospina – Chambers, BFG, Holding, Koli – Xhaka, El Neny, AM – Miky, Iwobi – Laca

    If Wellbeck is fit, then play him ahead of Miky

  3. chas says:

  4. RC78 says:

    Laca is out for 6 weeks 😦 So let s play Wellbeck

  5. Excellent Chas!

    My favourite bar in Samui is “Noi” Bar.
    Noi is a Thai bird and her husband is a Swedish bloke, Bjorn.
    He’s my best friend here in Samui.

    Over the years the bar’s garnered a reasonable following of Swedes, all of them good fun types.

    When I sit with Swedes (which I do regularly) they will speak to each other in Swedish only when the subject is purely for the Swedes, so, perhaps only 20% of the time. Then they will speak in English (as best they can) to accommodate my presence, as much as 80% of the overall conversation(s).

    My favourite foreign nation.

  6. chas says:

  7. chas says:

    Cheers Big Al.
    Thanks for sharing your Swedish connections. 😊

  8. mickydidit89 says:


    That is the most refreshingly different and original post we’ve had in ages. Thanks very much indeed.

    Ok, down to the nuts and bolts. I can’t watch the rap video because I’d probably be sick, but that aside, I think this Potter fellow is dead right about team spirit and a common cause.

    I read this morning old Klippety Klopp going on about spirit and desire being more valuable than any tactics bollocks and I agree.

    Love the line about Snow Wenger and his midgets 🙂

  9. mickydidit89 says:

    10:24 genius. Up yours parking clamp pigs 🙂

  10. RC78

    Arsene has stated that he will play pretty much his strongest side from now on in the EL. Easy to find him saying this on video.

    I therefore will predict that your entire back line is wrong.

    I think Ospina will play.

  11. Rasp says:

    Great work chas, thank you.

    I love the free thinking involved in Ostersund’s development. If we can learn one thing from Ostersund’s success, and Leicester too, it’s that if you are up against opponents who have massively more financial clout, the only way to compete is to create a winning, never say die culture in the club, dare to believe and you’re half way there.

  12. Eddie says:

    thanks chas, superb post!

    the video inside the post is probably representative of great scandi humour ha ha ha ha

    Even without a striker we could beat them. but will we? hell knows

  13. mickydidit89 says:


    I agree. Over the last ten years, mediocrity at Arsenal has been rewarded and you only have to look at contracts/pay of yer Arsene’s and Theo’s to know that. Hopefully this recent window marks the beginning of a turnaround.

  14. mickydidit89 says:


    What exactly are you suggesting we save our good players for? The FA Cup? 🙂

  15. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Superb post.

  16. Big Raddy says:

    When BFG and JW play together it could be Jack and the Beanstalk

    Our expensive signings in The Emperor’s New Clothes

    Xhaka starring in Sleeping Beauty.

    I’ve got more 😀

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    Brilliant Chas.

  18. Copy and paste this into your URL (your top Google bar)…

  19. Eddie says:

    I don’t know if such an approach can work for long. To start with, everybody is excited and eager to try something completely new, but novelty wears off, cracks begin to appear and the old order prevails. Wenger had new approach to football 20 years ago and it worked for 8+ years, some may say 18, but none would say for all 20. Such is human nature – we become resilient and new tricks eventually become old and ineffective.

    Re Sami people – they are also known as thieves, scum and nuisance. They are persecuted and discriminated against. I read a book about their culture, very much in tune with nature and the spiritual world, wonderful.

  20. LB says:

    All part of the spills and thrills of this competition, an excellent insight into a club I had never heard of before. Thanks for the read.

  21. chas says:

  22. Eddie says:

    “Tom Daley announces baby news with husband” – found this on Amazing Nature

  23. Eddie says:

    LB- chas mentioned Ostersunds twice before his post 🙂

  24. LB says:

    Some of us don’t think that it is Wenger’s approach that has gone stale, some of us think that it is arrival of clubs like City and their ability to outspend us four fold that is the reason that Arsene is no longer as successful as he once was.

    We shall never know, of course, we just take a side we believe to be true, mine is as stated above.

  25. chas says:

  26. Eddie says:

    I suppose it was City’s fault that our team was shit in the second half of the NLD.

  27. chas says:

  28. chas says:

    Apparently it’s a Vanilla Smoothie IPA with soft serve.

  29. chas says:

    Sorry for interrupting your chat. Didn’t think anyone was about.

  30. LB says:

    And we weren’t that good in the first half either…………………….

    I thought the context was the bigger picture but hey ho.

  31. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie & LB. Can’t you both be right?

    3.53 Swedish meatballs in Stockholm. Yummy.

  32. Eddie says:

    chas – no reason why you should not enjoy yourself looking at pictures of food shaped like genitals 🙂

  33. chas says:

    Oh my god, your new boyfriend must be deformed. 🙂

  34. Eddie says:

    🙂 🙂

    raddy – NO, LB is wrong 🙂

  35. chas says:

  36. chas says:

  37. chas says:

  38. chas says:

  39. Big Raddy says:

    It was like that in the train station in Paris with the Arsenal.

  40. Big Raddy says:

    And on the walk from Copenhagen town hall square to the Parken stadium in ’94, which was probably the best atmosphere I have ever experienced on an away day.

    strange to think I now live less than 400m from the Parken

  41. chas says:

    PSG keeper – bet he feels the cold.


    Great stuff chas.

    Been Valentines I am preparing for a big date, so have drafted some sad Bastard who can’t get a bird to fill in.

    Seems these men of snow and theatre have performed a footballing miracle. I congratulate them.

    I also salute the philosophy of team bonding by forcing the players to uncover hidden emotions. This approach definitely works. Before attending opera I believed anyone in the pub wearing a frilly shirt was trying through covert politics to make homosexuality compulsory so I therefore had no choice but to give them a kicking.

    However, since watching Carmen the opera, I have been charged and convicted of a crime of passion. The judge let me off jail after admiring my rendition of the aria Toreador and my frilly shirt.

    If Osterrunts continue this emotional intelligence bonding, I predict in two years they will win the Champions League and perform in Eurovision. However, the downside is that after four they will get relegated. There manager will no longer bear the magnificence of his exsistence so retire to writing poetry and there best player will, after falling in love with a 62 year male director, leave to perform in musical theatre.

    Good luck to them.

  43. Big Raddy says:

    6.40. Love that PV4 goal

  44. chas says:

  45. chas says:

    Words fail me

  46. chas says:

    Cue Eddie talking about there being no reason why I shouldn’t be enjoying myself looking at pictures of food shaped like genitals. 🙂

  47. chas says:

  48. chas says:

  49. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    very strange. Post’s headline and then Liza decides to reduce her credit card debt by selling all she has.

    It IS a Cabaret

  50. Big Raddy says:

    6.40 Truly amazing

  51. chas says:

  52. mickydidit89 says:

    Are we going to Eddie’s Spursday night pilates session or watching Arsenal v Oster… urrr..?

  53. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie needs to be supple for her men. Definitely pilates

  54. fatgingergooner says:

    Ostersunds have a couple of English players. One of them used to play for Ossett Town which is where I grew up and the team I played junior football for upto the age of 16!

  55. mickydidit89 says:

    Ahhhh, the Eddie men. Indeed 🙂

    Mmm, I agree, not sure I’ll bother tonight

  56. Eddie says:

    football. Any day. Men always let you down, always. Valentine’s day and all I got is text messages!! Can you believe it – foocking text messages. The romance (2) are over.

  57. fatgingergooner says:


    If he’s on pay as you go then that’s an acceptable Valentines gift, espescially if it’s a picture message, but if it’s all inclusive minutes and texts then I’d get rid.

  58. fatgingergooner says:

    Plastic pitch, cold weather, opposition full of confidence…..I see a media lockdown on the horizon!

  59. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. Consider yourself lucky, I didn’t even get a text. They don’t do Valentines Day in Scandi

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    I reckon Eddie is spot on. The men are on dating sites, and like Eddie herself, are not “exclusive”

    She’s probably rumbled the fact that the texts were “send to all” 🙂

  61. mickydidit89 says:

    FGG ha ha

  62. Eddie says:

    fattie 🙂 thanks for the advice. All inclusive company phone, no excuse. Sadly that means that I am not going to the Watford game 😦 Mind you, he has season tickets in directors boxes – no signing, shouting or swearing. I wouldn’t enjoy myself there.

    I am a smelly old spinster 😦

  63. mickydidit89 says:

    Use and abuse him Eddie. Visit the Directors box to put a tick on the bucket list, then on the final whistle, apply the no touch rule firmly and scarper

  64. Eddie says:

    singing not signing.

  65. Eddie says:

    no, I already blocked him on my phone.
    He really fecked up yesterday.
    I have more blocked contacts than not 🙂 Chas and peaches are blocked, not that I expect them to call me, just …. 🙂

  66. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

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