Saturday's game at the Boleyn Ground pits West Ham United's Sam Allardyce, Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll against their former club Newcastle United.

Another who has played for both the Hammers and the Magpies is Rob Lee, a West Ham fan, whose son Olly is now at Birmingham City and whose younger boy Elliot is making his way through the Academy of Football.

Earlier this week whufc.com caught up with the former England midfielder, and began by asking him to sum up his time at West Ham.

"Brief! There was a lot going on," Lee said, "I came in under Glenn Roeder, just after the team had been relegated. We had some fantastic players at the time like Joe Cole, Glen Johnson, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, and we went to Bournemouth for a pre-season friendly and won 5-0 and I thought 'We've got a good team here'.

"But, within two weeks, they'd all gone bar Michael and Jermain. But I still had high hopes for the season, especially after we made a decent start. But Glenn Roeder left, Trevor Brooking took over and did really well, but didn't want the job full-time and Alan Pardew came in, and that was that for me at West Ham. Pardew bought in younger players like Nigel Reo-Coker so that meant I had to leave."

In all, Lee played 14 games for the team he had supported and could have joined earlier in his career.

"I was at Charlton under Alan Curbishley, and Curbs was great friends with Billy Bonds. I had heard the rumours that West Ham wanted to buy me and I waited for them to come in and get me. I spoke to Lennie Lawrence at Middlesbrough, but when it became clear West Ham couldn't afford me, I went up to Newcastle to speak to Kevin Keegan."

That was very special for Lee, who revealed to me that Keegan was his all-time hero as a boy.

"Kevin was my idol. As a kid I had pictures of him on my wall, despite being a West Ham fan. He was the first footballing superstar."

Lee's chat with Kevin Keegan wasn't without trepidation. "I remember Matthew Le Tissier once told me never meet your idols. His was Glenn Hoddle, but with England the two never got on. But for me with Kevin it was everything I thought it would be. He was extremely friendly and we had a laugh.

"Signing for Newcastle when I did was the best thing I ever did. I had a great time and couldn't have picked a better time to go there as the club was growing. It was the first time I'd played for a big city club."

While at Newcastle, Lee made some great friends and as the names of great players he played alongside rolled off the tongue.

"Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand, David Ginola, Peter Beardsley and David Batty. I played with Batts and Paul Ince with England and thought Batty was technically a fantastic player. He was labelled a hard man, but he was better than that as he suited my game down to ground. He'd get the ball and give it to me and off I'd go."

Lee's footballing ability has been passed down to his sons, with both Olly and Elliot set to follow in Dad's footsteps. Elliott's a second-year scholar here at West Ham, so we asked Rob what kind of season he'd had.

"I'd say he's done blooming well this year when you remember he's only 18. He's been playing with the Under-21s all season and scored some impressive goals against Spurs in the FA Youth Cup defeat, and more recently against Liverpool. Elliot's a goalscorer."

Olly began the season at Barnet, but is now at Birmingham, with Rob's old Newcastle team-mate and good friend Lee Clark.

"Olly was unlucky at West Ham where he wasn't really given a chance. That happens to a lot of kids. If he'd been given a chance and failed, I'd have said 'Fair enough', but he didn't and is now rebuilding his career. At the start of the season we were sold the idea of going to Barnet, but it never really worked out and I ended up having a bust-up with Edgar Davids.

"Olly is at Birmingham now with Lee Clark and I have high hopes for him. He can certainly play and reminds me of Michael Carrick. If he has half the career Michael Carrick has had, he'll have done well."

So who does Lee want to win today?

"Well it'll be tough for Newcastle after 3-0 and 6-0 defeats. From the last two home games the obvious question to ask is 'Where is the fight in the team?'. I think they'll stay up, even if they don't get another point as I don't see Wigan getting enough points.

"Upton Park was always a tough place to come I found as a player, although I always used to score here. With my allegiances I guess I'll have to go for a draw today."

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