HAD things worked out differently, Stephen Broad could have been lining up for either side at Stamford Bridge this Saturday.

But the charismatic former centre back will instead be concentrating on driving his cab.

Broad spent five years with Chelsea before joining the Shrimpers in March 2001 and is now steering himself to success away from football.

“I actually really enjoy being a cabbie,” said Broad who made 65 appearances during his two seasons with the Shrimpers.

“Sometimes I do miss playing but not that often and this is really good fun.

“I’ve been doing it for nearly three months and it’s long hours but there are worse things you could do and I’m actually getting more money being a taxi driver than I did playing for Southend.”

Prior to his involvement with the Shrimpers, Broad rose through the ranks at Chelsea and captained the club’s reserve side while also partnering John Terry.

“It’s strange to think I was captaining the future England skipper,” said Broad.

“I think I only got the armband by default because I was from an older age-group but it was a good time and it was amazing being at the club.

“Training alongside the likes of Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli was just tremendous and being given a professional contract was just a dream come true.

“I probably didn’t appreciate it enough at the time but it was a good achievement for me.”

But Broad failed to progress into the Chelsea first team and knew he had to leave to further his career.

A switch to Southend soon materialised and the 28-year-old holds mixed memories of his spell with the Shrimpers.

“It was great to start with it and I loved it,” said Broad.

“It was much better than the reserves at Chelsea because it just meant so much more and playing in front of 5,000 people every week was a real buzz. But then I picked up a hernia around Christmas time and I really struggled with injuries.

“I just couldn’t get fit and it got me down in the dumps. My heart and head just weren’t in it and in the end I was released.”

Broad, who still lives locally in Noak Bridge, near Basildon, played for Kingstonian following his departure and also spent five months coaching in America.

He still takes an interest in the game despite having hung up his boots and follows the fortunes of his former team-mates, including Leon Cort who is now playing for Stoke City in the Premier League.

“It’s funny how things work out really,” said Broad.

“I’m delighted for Leon. He was my centre back partner at times at Southend and although he was better than me at that stage there wasn’t too much between us.

“But a few years on he’s playing in the Premier League and I’m driving a taxi!”

Broad will again be taking an interest in the game this weekend and he knows Southend are in for a real test.

“Chelsea won’t play their full strength side but they have some great players,” said Broad.

“I think Southend will do well to keep it below 5-0.”