When Chelsea take on Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday it will be a special occasion for one member of the Seagulls squad in particular.
Imagine the scenario: you’ve spent your whole life supporting the Blues, watching them become champions of England on numerous occasions, not to mention winning the Champions League. You grew up idolising John Terry and Didier Drogba, stalwarts of the greatest Chelsea side there has ever been.
However, playing for the club of your dreams is something very few manage to achieve, which is why fans take so quickly to ‘one of our own’, and you are instead forced to forge a career elsewhere, building up from the lower leagues to finally make it in the English top flight. And that means coming up against your beloved Blues.
It happened to Roger Johnson when the big centre-half was at Birmingham City, having previously idolised Kerry Dixon and cheered Chelsea on from the Shed End, and now another defender is preparing for his second visit to the home of his beloved Blues when we take on Brighton on Wednesday.
‘As a lad I was playing most weekends so never got to see Chelsea play that much, but I would always watch the games on TV and one of my favourite memories is Michael Essien’s volley against Barcelona back in 2009.
‘There have obviously been a lot of high points over the years but, of course, that all goes out the window [when he plays against us].’
Considering Dunk is 27 years old, it’s safe to assume he has only know good times and silverware during his time following the Blues. But which players has he enjoyed watching the most?
Didier Drogba is clearly a favourite – the family dog is named Didier – but it’s a player who set the benchmark for his position who really caught Dunk’s eye.
‘I always loved watching Drogba, but Terry was the player who I admired and looked up to the most. He was so good to defending and would stick his body in where it hurts and not every defender would that.
‘He would put his head in wherever it was needed and although not everybody enjoys watching things like that, for me it was a joy to watch.
'Obviously I didn’t know his day-to-day leadership skills on the training ground but from watching him on TV you could see what an immense captain he was, a winner who led by example.’