Premier League winner Ian Pearce says West Ham fans can relate to their team more than Newcastle's

Former West Ham defender Ian Pearce has claimed West Ham United fans can relate to their team more than Newcastle United's beleaguered supporters.

Pearce, who won the Premier League title with Blackburn Rovers back in 1995, played for the Hammers more than any other club in his career, turning out 142 times and scoring nine goals.

West Ham enjoyed some of their best years in recent memory during his time at the club, including a fifth-placed finish under Harry Redknapp in 1998/99.

That team was built on a core of British players including the likes of Pearce, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Neil Ruddock, Ian Wright, Trevor Sinclair, John Hartson, Steve Lomas, Julian Dicks, Scott Minto and Steve Potts.

High-flying Hammers connecting with terraces

And Pearce has told the Knees Up Mother Brown Podcast Slaven Bilic's current side, who are sitting pretty in third place after a fantastic start to the season, are connecting with the Hammers faithful like the class of 98/99 thanks to their British core.

But the 41-year-old feels Newcastle supporters can't relate to their team in the same way because they have too many foreign imports in a team that has won once in nine matches so far this season.

"You had Jenkinson, Tomkins and Cresswell at the back on Saturday - whilst James Collins is sat there waiting to come on and run through walls for you," Pearce told the KUMB Podcast.

"If you look at Newcastle for example, how do the fans relate to that team?

"There's hardly any English or British players there to get you excited, apart from Jack Colback.

"At West Ham you have a core of English and British players who have been there and know what the club means."

Pearce joins Mourinho in criticising Magpies

Pearce is not the only person to have their say on Newcastle this week after Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho blasted the Magpies, saying they 'choose when to perform'.

But a look at the facts shows Pearce may have a valid point.

In Newcastle's current squad they have just seven British players, and only five of those are English.

Of that seven only Colback, Steven Taylor - who is out for two months through injury, Mike Williamson and Paul Drummet are in and around the first team picture under Steve McClaren.

By contrast the Hammers have no fewer than 10 British players, eight of whom are English, and all of whom are either first team regulars or in the first team picture under Bilic.

Their captain is also a homegrown Hammer in the shape of Mark Noble

It's not the Brit awards, but it helps

While no prizes are handed out for having more British players, it seems to be working well for the East Londoners.

They have showed real team spirit to win away at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City already this season as well as a comfortable victory over the Magpies at Upton Park.

West Ham also showed great fight to twice come from behind to draw 2-2 with Norwich City at the weekend.

Newcastle meanwhile are second bottom of the Premier League with no wins from their first seven games, just three points and a minus six goal difference.

The Hammers could even go top if they can beat basement boys Sunderland on Saturday.

Meanwhile the Magpies face a daunting trip to the Etihad to face Manchester City, fresh from their last gasp 2-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

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