MANY years ago, when I was involved at Southampton, I helped start off the Saints Foundation. Many years later the foundation is still thriving and full marks to everybody for carrying it on.

The Saints Foundation was set up to try and raise funds for people living in the area who are for one reason or another struggling.

In recent years we have seen legendary players such as Matt Le Tissier, Francis Benali and James Beattie getting involved in initiatives to help raise the profile and carry on the great work.

Speaking of James, he was involved in an amazing event that happened last weekend. He jumped out of a plane, not because he hadn’t bought a ticket, but because he was helping raise more funds for the foundation.

Full credit to him and the other brave people who made the lead of faith for not only landing safely on the ground but for also raising £14,000. Fantastic.

The good news is that the club themselves have continued to boost the foundation and the funding they are trying to create for it.

A new initiative will take place this weekend where the Men’s and Women’s teams will be wearing a new special equality warm-up shirt before their games against Leeds United and Birmingham respectively.

Supporters will notice that they are wearing a rainbow shirt, which was been created alongside the club’s kit manufacturer hummel, and is designed to raise awareness for equality in football.

After the game, all the shirts that were worn will be available for fans to win from an auction, with all the proceeds going to the Saints Foundation.

Not only is it a great way to raise money for the Foundation, which will be reinvested into the local area, but it will also allow fans to purchase a shirt which has been worn by one of the Saints players.

As mentioned, our opponents this weekend are Leeds United, who have always had a space in my thoughts. One of my closest friends was Jack Charlton, whom I met at coaching courses and functions over the years.

Billy Bremner too was a real character and let’s not forget Don Revie, who won countless trophies when he was the man in charge at Leeds United. Not only was he a winner but he always looked after young coaches and managers.

When I spent my coaching time at Sheffield Wednesday, which was just up the road, young coaches like myself were always put in a nice room at home games and he always went out of his way to pop in and see us.

He of course was one of the most successful managers, not only with Leeds, but in the history of the league itself. I’m sure that the current manager and staff will be reminding the Leeds players about the difficulty supporters will have had to get to Southampton with it being an early kick-off.

The supporters will have truly gone out of their way and our coaches will be pointing that out to the players that this won’t be an easy game. Not only that but Saints have lost the last four while Leeds haven’t conceded in four games.

Saints need at least a draw, more than ever, to turn around this bad run of form.

And while it doesn’t look good for Saints supporters at the moment, things look much better for the other clubs along the south coast. Brighton are third top in the Premier League, Bournemouth are 17th but are, of course, still in the Premiership, and worse still, Pompey are top of League One.

I’m sure their supporters will have let everyone know that they haven’t lost any of their games. With due respect, I still think it’s better for everyone concerned that all clubs could be in the same division.

That’s obviously not going to happen for a while. Let’s hope Saints can move up the table. If they don’t get promoted this season they could be in the same division as Pompey, if they keep up their League One form, which could set up another instalment between Saints and the blue boys down the road.

Talking about derbies, at present Manchester City are top of the Premier League and are looking down on their rivals Manchester United who are in ninth place.

In Merseyside, you have Liverpool who are second, while Everton are down in the bottom third as their struggles persist. Coming from the northeast I am always looking to see what is happening up there.

Newcastle are looking comfortable in the top third, having thrashed Sheffield United 8-0. Sunderland are in the top third of the Championship - they’ve kicked on since their 5-0 win over Saints. Middlesbrough are also looking better in recent weeks having beaten Saints - a result I wasn’t too pleased with.