The amount of games I played for the club - over 300. I was injured for some of my time at Chelsea. particularly in the second spell with the reoccurrence of an ankle injury, and in the first two years I didn’t play at all for the club. Winning what we won too, despite the training ground not being very good was also an achievement.
How much does a crowd influence a football match and what was the most hostile ground that you ever played in?
The crowd does influence games. If the crowd is really behind the team, you can really feel it. You only have to look at Celtic in the Champions League to see how important a crowd can be. If the crowd are anxious or negative then this can feed down on to the pitch. I think generally fans are satisfied when they see people giving everything - that’s the bottom line. If you give everything then you will always have their support. That’s what I tried to do as a player. As a young player you can get a bit nervous about the crowd but as you get a bit older, you really feed on it and rely on it.
At home, if the team’s not playing well then it can create a really negative atmosphere, but we’ve created a bit of a fortress over the years at Stamford Bridge and the crowd almost act as an extra person on the pitch.
Galatasaray away was the most hostile ground we played at. We were getting stones thrown at us on the pitch. We had police escorts with riot shields just to get on the pitch. Our bus was stoned and windows were broken. We smashed them 5-0 though, Tore Andre Flo got a couple and we played so well - it destroyed the intimidation from the crowd. By the end of the game fans were cheering for us and they had turned on their own team. They were throwing stones at their own players. Amazing turn-around from the crowd.
You've played with some amazing players - what was the best bit of advice that you ever received from a teammate?
Tough question. Best bit of advice? We’re kicking this way! You’re always getting bits of advice from players and coaches, so nothing really sticks out. I’ve learned a lot from players and coaches I’ve worked with over the years.
Many of the players you played with at Chelsea, including Di Matteo, Clarke, Zola and Poyet, have moved into management. Are you tempted to move into coaching or management?
I’m doing my licenses. I do coach some younger players which is extremely rewarding. I won’t rule myself out as I think it would be an amazing experience one day to see how good you can be at putting a team together, tactically and seeing how they go and perform. I’ve been very busy since I’ve retired though. As a player I was so involved with everything, becoming a manager straight after retiring just wasn’t something I was interested in.
Despite all the rewards that a managerial job would bring, the reality is it’s a very tough job, and quite selfish in terms of your friends and family, and I know that and I wouldn’t want to commit to something that I couldn’t give 100% to. I’m enjoying the work I’m doing at the moment with Chelsea, the FA and 5Live. I do have very strong opinions about the game, though. I have my own ideas. I’ve learned a lot from people I’ve worked with over the years.
We'd like to add a 2D animation to this post. Will it be the run-in with Fowler at the Bridge or that magical chip against United? What do you think was Le Saux's most memorable moment in a Chelsea shirt?