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Zola: why Hayden went

Filed: Monday, 26th January 2009
By: Staff Writer

Gianfranco Zola has revealed that he allowed Hayden Mullins to leave as he could no longer guarantee him first team football.

Zola, talking to whufc.com this morning revealed that Mullins had asked to join Portsmouth having started in just eight of his 21 appearances for the Hammers this season.

"I did not want to lose him but at this point in his career he wanted to play regularly and I respect his wishes," said Zola.

"He asked me if he could talk to Portsmouth and I could have said 'no' but he is a man that has shown this club a lot of respect. He has been loyal and it would not have been fair to stand in his way."

Mullins was Alan Pardew's first signing back in October 2003 when he joined in a 500,000 switch from Crystal Palace. He went on to make over 200 appearances for the Hammers but sadly missed out on the 2006 FA Cup Final having been sent off the week before.

He first began to get itchy feet back in October when he voiced his discontent at losing his first team spot. Speaking at the time, he said:

"I don't really want to go and knock on his door and ask why I'm not playing. It's just a case of waiting for my chance.

"Hopefully it'll come soon. If I get my chance I have to take it, and if I don't we'll have to see where that leaves us."

Hayden Mullins: fact file

League appearances: 151 (28 as sub) - 4 goals
Cup appearances: 25 (2 as sub) - 3 goals
Other appearances: 6 - 0 goals

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