West Ham United versus Chelsea.

The Hammers versus The Blues.

East Enders versus West End Boys.

Package Saturday's game up how you want but, having played for both clubs, one thing's for sure: it's the match of the season for Alan Dickens.

"Whether you're a player or a supporter, it's a fantastic fixture," insists the 49-year-old, who made 234 appearances in the claret and blue before heading way out west to Stamford Bridge in a £600,000 move in summer 1989 and appearing 64 times for tonight's visitors. "You look at the players Jose Mourinho has available and it's frightening. Not many clubs can go out and buy a £50m striker and, alongside Fernando Torres, they've also got Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o, while most teams would give anything to have Romelu Lukaku in their side, yet he's out on loan! Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar in midfield…the list just goes on.

"And, of course, there's Frank Lampard, too," continues Dicko, who made his Hammers debut at Notts County in December 1982 with Frank senior in the side. "Young Frank's had an absolutely amazing career, scoring all those goals and winning 100 England caps.

"Frank still tackles, makes runs and works so hard. I can remember seeing him score a hat-trick for West Ham in the Coca-Cola Cup against Walsall in 1997 and, even then, you could see that he had something. He was applauded off the pitch that night.

"Obviously, as a football club, Chelsea have really come on since I moved there," says licensed black cab driver Dicko, who has kindly stopped the meter and parked up opposite former Prime Minister Tony Blair's palatial Connaught Square home to speak to me.

These days, Alan jumps at the chance to take a fare out towards Heathrow Airport but two decades ago that drive westwards to the Blues' Harlington training ground did not hold too much attraction for the Chelsea new boy, who just three years earlier had been one of the stars of the show, when West Ham United achieved their highest-ever, third place finish.

"Looking back, having been a West Ham boy all my life, I found it difficult to settle at Stamford Bridge and I should have moved from Barking to give myself more of a chance.

"I did okay at Chelsea but I never really grasped the opportunity that their manager - Bobby Campbell - gave me," admits the Boy of '86 with typical Dickensian honesty. "Although it was different in those days - the likes of Glenn Hoddle, Ruud Gullit and Roman Abramovich had yet to arrive - I'm not sure that I ever fulfilled my potential in my three or four seasons there.

"Nowadays Chelsea are always in the top four and they'll come close to winning the Premier League this season but West Ham can certainly hold their own against them.

"Remember, they came to the Boleyn Ground as reigning Champions League winners last year, yet we won 3-1 and Sam Allardyce knows exactly what he needs to do to beat a side like Chelsea.

"Although West Ham are finding goals hard to come by this year, from what I've seen, there's not a lot wrong. For example, they had a great first half up at Norwich City but then it just fell apart.

"Obviously, they're missing Andy Carroll and while they're not scoring like they did last year, the midfield are still getting the ball into the penalty area. Right now, I guess they could do with a young, Tony Cottee-type striker, who can get on the end of those crosses. Who knows, it might be time to throw in a youngster like Elliot Lee to see if he can pop up with a goal or two?"

Having progressed through the Hammers Academy, the once-capped England U21 midfielder knows only too well that the youth system remains the life-blood for many clubs.

"It makes me very proud to see the likes of James Tomkins and Mark Noble as regular first-teamers because, Southampton apart, there are not many other clubs that regularly bring their kids through," says Alan, who is still involved in coaching at Ryman League side AFC Hornchurch and with 45 pupils at nearby Barking Abbey School.

"I look at Noble and think that he's been a bit unlucky not to have sneaked his way into an England squad. He won all those U21 caps and, in my opinion, he's equally as good as, say, Jordan Henderson, who seems to have caught Roy Hodgson's eye.

"Ravel Morrison's a nice footballer, too," observes Alan. "He looks really comfortable on the ball and has clearly got a big future. Looking back, Sir Alex Ferguson probably did him a big favour by letting him leave Manchester United, even though they probably didn't want to let him to go."

Certainly, it is difficult not to make comparisons with a similar starlet of Dicko's era.

"Paul Ince had a difficult start but John Lyall, who was very similar to Sir Alex, ended up bringing a very, very good player through. Looking back at what he went on to achieve, Incey probably thanks his lucky stars that he had a manager, who cared so much for his welfare and I'm sure that Sam Allardyce can carry on helping Ravel to develop.

"Ravel probably needed to get away from Manchester to carry on fulfilling his potential," concludes Dicko as he prepares to start up the cab and put the orange 'For Hire' light back on. "After spending a year at Birmingham City, he's grown up, grasped the situation and has now come back to West Ham to start reaping his rewards."