From Swan Lake to Swansea City: Billy Reid charts remarkable Ostersunds voyage

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Billy Reid recalls 'Culture Academy' at Ostersunds

Former Hamilton Academical boss Billy Reid believes Scottish football can learn from the "blame-free" culture he experienced while coaching in Sweden.

Reid, 55, assisted Graham Potter as he led lower-league side Ostersunds to the Europa League group stage and has joined him in moving to Swansea City.

And he thinks taking the Swedish attitude of tolerating mistakes can benefit the game in his homeland.

"When things went wrong, we wouldn't blame, we stuck together," Reid said.

"The culture at Ostersunds was really open and it was an eye-opener for me.

"Players made mistakes, but Graham realised that, at the level we worked at, players were going to make mistakes and to improve they had to make them.

"That allowed us to get players of a lesser ilk to compete and win games at European level."

'We had an art exhibition & rapped on stage'

Potter took charge of Ostersunds in 2010, with the club in Sweden's fourth tier and attracting an average home gate of around 500.

Three years and two promotions later, the Englishman was joined by Reid after his departure from Hamilton.

Together, they led Ostersunds to the top flight and embarked on a Europa League voyage that featured wins over Galatasaray, PAOK and Hertha Berlin, culminating in a 4-2 last-32 aggregate loss to Arsenal in February.

Part of the progressive approach was an annual "culture project" laid on for the fans by the players and staff. Art, rapping and ballet had not been part of his job description.

"Nobody mentioned the culture academy to me before I signed the contract," Reid told BBC Scotland.

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Swansea City: Billy Reid calls for fans' backing

"My second day, I get called to a meeting by the chairman. He spoke about how the ambition of the club was to reach European football.

"We're sitting 10th in the second division in Sweden and you're thinking, 'woah, that's some statement to make'.

"Then he spoke about the next culture project - 'it'll be an art exhibition' - and I thought, 'did I just hear that?'."

He did. And, during his time at the club, Reid has taken part in a play, performed Swan Lake and rapped on stage.

"We had 2,000 fans come and pay to watch us singing on the stage," he said. "It takes you right out of your comfort zone.

"You see players develop as people expressing themselves in an area they never could have thought imaginable."

From Swan Lake to Swansea

If transforming Ostersunds was hard, rejuvenating beleaguered Swansea City may be even more arduous.

The Swans have burned through seven managers in three years and dropped into the English Championship in May.

Potter was appointed boss in June, taking the Scotsman and recruitment analyst Kyle Macaulay with him to the Liberty Stadium.

Reid had been approached about becoming Swansea boss eight years ago when in charge of Accies but opted to remain with the New Douglas Park club.

The composition of the Welsh outfit's squad for the new season remains unclear, so Potter and Reid have "to get our heads around quite a lot".

"I think we're gradually making progress," he said. "We try to be our best every day, to improve the players, on or off the pitch, every day. If we do that, we'll be happy.

"Hopefully the chairman and fans get behind us and we create an environment here that can bring Swansea back their identity of how they play."

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