Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has paid a glowing tribute to West Ham and their supporters ahead of Sunday's game against his former club at St James' Park.
Pardew may have made his name on the field in the colours of Crystal Palace, yet it is clear his affection for West Ham runs deeps after a four-year stint at Upton Park that saw him secure promotion to the Premier League and come within seconds of lifting the FA Cup in 2006 against Liverpool.
"The West Ham supporters were magnificent to me during my time at their club and I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for the support they gave me," said Pardew.
"I have been very fortunate to work for two clubs who can both lay claim to having the best supporters in the country, as both West Ham and Newcastle fans are among the very best."
Meanwhile Pardew has urged Newcastle supporters to refrain from jeering former Toon Army favourites Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll, as well as ex-manager Sam Allardyce as they make their return to St James' Park in West Ham colours.
"While I'm sure fans will enjoy the banter with them, no one will forget what they did for this club," Pardew added. "Kevin was a great captain in that period of going down and coming up. As Sam has said at West Ham, he's perfect for that. He did a great job for us
"As for Andy, he was fantastic for us. His attitude was first class during my brief time working with him and this club benefited greatly from the transfer fee we got from Liverpool for him.
"He came through our academy, worked his way into the first-team and we got a massive fee for him that helped us develop our squad.
"However, we cannot get distracted by the return of Kevin, Andy or Sam Allardyce on Sunday. This is all about winning and getting ourselves up the league table. We have two home games in the next week and if we can win both of them, we will be in good shape."