FORMER BLUE ANTICIPATES CRACKING ENCOUNTER
Sunday afternoon's game at Stamford Bridge is shaping up to be an open, entertaining one according to John Mortimore, a past Chelsea player with a keen interest in Southampton.
Having played over 250 games as a centre-half for Chelsea in the late 1950s and early 1960s, helping us win the League Cup for the first time in 1965, Mortimore was subsequently a coach for the Saints and briefly joint caretaker manager. He was Southampton's club president until the most recent change in ownership and lives near the south coast.
Mortimore was one of the many former Chelsea players at the Annual Lunch on Friday and will be back at the Bridge for the game tomorrow.
'I will have divided loyalties,' he tells the official Chelsea website. 'I have a season ticket at Southampton and I go to every game unless I occasionally let my daughter use my ticket, but I am looking forward to a very good match on Sunday.
'With where Southampton are in the league, they are doing tremendously well. They are far more attacking than they used to be. A while back they were making 10 passes and finished up passing to their own goalkeeper. There was no movement forward, it was all played in their own half, so their opponents were happy to let them have the ball.
'The whole structure has changed and their manager is doing a tremendous job there, being positive about the whole thing.
'The big tall striker Rickie Lambert is in good form, the central defenders are controlling it well and the goalkeeper, Artur Boruc, is having a very good season although it was a crazy goal he gave away the other day. But generally speaking, there is no better word to describe them at the moment than positive. I am looking forward to a cracking game.'
Mortimore is also highly revered in Portugal where he managed Benfica to league and cup success, and he was the guest at half-time when we played the Lisbon club at the Bridge in 2012, receiving applause from both sets of fans.
'I like to see a Portuguese manager do well at Chelsea and I have met Jose Mourinho a couple of times,' he says, 'and he is quite a character!'