Rob Lee

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

East End boy Rob Lee insists there will be no divided loyalties when his boyhood team take on the club which stole his heart on Saturday.

The former Magpies midfielder was born just yards from Upton Park, grew up supporting West Ham and played for the Hammers for a season and a half, while his son, Elliot, is currently on the claret and blues' books.

But while Sam Allardyce's men sit comfortably in midtable, Newcastle are still involved in a fight against relegation and Lee - who spent the best years of his career at St. James' Park between 1992 and 2002 - is backing the black and whites this weekend.

"I'm a West Ham boy but I played here for ten years," the 21-times capped England international told nufc.co.uk. "My son's still at West Ham and I know a few of the lads there so it's probably one of the hardest games to have to pick a team. But I'd always pick Newcastle."

Lee, now 47, started his career at Charlton before Kevin Keegan tempted him to the North-East, where he helped Newcastle win the Division One title and gain promotion to the Premier League in his first season.

He went on to make 381 appearances for the Magpies in all competitions, scoring 56 goals, before moving to Derby County and then onto the Hammers, for whom he played 19 times before ending his career with Oldham and Wycombe.

But the family name lives on in the football league; eldest son Oliver is currently on loan at Birmingham from Barnet, while 18-year-old Elliot made his West Ham debut against Manchester United in the FA Cup back in January.

"We're very, very proud of him," Lee smiled. "He did very well against Man United at Old Trafford.

"I said to him there aren't many better places to make your debut than that, so hopefully he'll go on and do very well."

Elliot Lee

The young forward was born in Durham during Lee's time at St. James' Park and has been prolific at under-18 and under-21 level this term.

And his dad admitted that he would love to see him involved against Newcastle - particularly as the teenager has yet to make his top flight bow.

"I'd be very proud," he said. "Both my sons play - one's a West Ham fan, one's a Newcastle fan so I think they'd love to play against them.

"And more than that, I think later on in life they'd love to play for them because as I keep telling them, it's a fantastic place to play football."