Graham Potter has come up the footballing ladder the hard way.

Which could prove to he handy as he plans to help Albion survive and progress in the world’s most demanding league.

From life as an unsung defender to taking Swedish minnows Ostersunds from regional leagues to the Europa League.

Right through to a traumatic first season at Swansea City, it would appear life in football has not been a bed of roses.

In his first media engagement since agreeing to move his wife and three children from South Wales and signing a four-year deal with Albion, Potter spoke about his progress.

And, without making any headline-grabbing promises, he set about tackling the most high-profile challenge of his footballing life.

Potter battled on with a low budget, youthful squad and off-pitch upheaval at Swansea to produce some flowing football and a tenth-place finish in his debut managerial season in this country.

A year on, he believes he is all the better for it.

Asked whether he improved at the Liberty Stadium, he told The Argus: “I have enormously, on and off the pitch. Great challenges in turbulent times, especially around the transfer windows.

“I had the responsibility at a football club who had lost its way, had lost a bit of belief and identity that it wanted to get back.

“With that comes challenges, putting together a team that supporters are proud of. That process was demanding.

“But I had incredible support from the players, the staff and supporters, everyone connected with Swansea to get me through the year, and I enjoyed my time back in the UK.

“I’m just fortunate to have this opportunity. I thank Swansea City for giving me the last year.”

He later added: “You always need a bit of fortune in life.

“But I think I’ve also worked very hard to get to this point.

The Argus:

“My unglittering football career came to an end at the age of 30, so I had to embark on a coaching career, and try to learn how to be a better coach every day.

“You look at my path that I’ve taken to get to this point, it’s 14 years of quite a lot of hard work and sacrifice and learning and mistakes and development.

“But I’m very proud to be here now, and I’ll do my best to carry on improving and to help this football club reach its goals.”

This first press conference with Albion?

Well that was quite unglittering too. But that’s okay.

The talk was down to earth. Sensible. It didn’t set the pulse racing and won’t have sent tremors through the Premier League but it was a solid start.

Tony Bloom might have made a big headline when handed the chance to describe the appointment of a Premier League novice at a club who only just avoided relegation as “a risk”.

It was a fair question to ask. Albion have weighed up the evidence and taken a calculated decision that Potter can thrive in an environment where he is untested.

They appear to be thinking outside the box – a bit like Potter did when asking his Ostersunds players to take part in local amateur dramatics to help develop their characters.

(It doesn’t sound like Albion’s players will be treading the boards, by the way. “I don’t think you can be as extreme as I was at Ostersunds,” he said. “The players will be happy to hear that on their sunbeds!”).

But this decision could be seen not as thinking outside the box but as taking a gamble. There is a fine line between the two.

Bloom has done the former with appointments he made in previous years, other than when grasping for Chris Hughton’s safe hands in a relegation storm back in late 2014.

Signing Pascal Gross for a small fee or Mathew Ryan, a goalkeeper many said was too small for the Premier League, feel like thinking outside the box.

Splashing out club record fees for Jurgen Locadia and Alireza Jahanbakhsh currently feel a lot like gambles.

There are no guarantees but technical director Dan Ashworth has a long-standing admiration of Potter as a young English coach to keep an eye on.

And Bloom, of course, has done his homework.

The chairman knows a gamble when he sees one.

He said: “We constantly track head coaches so, if and when a vacancy occurs, we are ready.

“Graham stood out as the outstanding candidate.

“We’ve been aware of him for four years now.

“We were very impressed with the work he did at Ostersunds and, more recently, Swansea.

“I certainly don’t think it’s a gamble. Once we’d made a decision to get a new manager in – we’d done a lot of work previously on potential head coaches – quite quickly Graham became the outstanding candidate. He’s an excellent coach, he did a superb job at Swansea in really difficult circumstances.

“He’s great with the players. Sometimes, not making a decision or going for a more obvious choice is a bigger gamble.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Graham is the right choice for this football club at this particular time.”

That will be music to the ears of Potter.

Because his particular time has been a long while coming.