West Ham United are delighted to announce the permanent signing of highly-rated goalkeeper Stephen Henderson.
The 24-year-old, who initially joined the Hammers on loan in March 2012, has moved to the Boleyn Ground on a three-year contract after completing his move from Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee.
A former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, Henderson was among the substitutes as West Ham won promotion to the Barclays Premier League by beating Blackpool 2-1 in the npower Championship Play-Off final at Wembley.
"I'm chuffed to bits to get it wrapped up," Henderson told West Ham TV. "I'm a very happy man today. It's been absolutely brilliant since I joined and it obviously topped it off on Saturday with us getting to the Premier League. The lads have been brilliant with me and have made me feel welcome so I'm very happy.
"To be honest, I think Saturday was probably the poorest I've seen us play in a while! Blackpool had a few great chances to get their noses in the lead but at the end of the day we took our chances and Vaz has popped up at the end.
"It was a fantastic day. The support was a real buzz. It was absolutely brilliant. Considering the trouble I've had with Portsmouth and their relegation battle, I'm very lucky to be here and to be a Premier League goalkeeper, I hope."
Born in Dublin, Henderson is the latest goalkeeping member of his family, following grandfather Paddy, father Stephen and uncles Dave and Wayne. Paddy appeared in the European Cup with Shamrock Rovers in the 1960s, while Stephen senior kept goal for Shelborne, Dundalk, Limerick and Cobh Ramblers and later managed Cork City. Dave won the League of Ireland title with St Patrick's Athletic, while Wayne was capped six times by Republic of Ireland before retiring in 2011.
Henderson began his career with Belvedere FC in Dublin - the same club that produced Norwich City midfielder Wes Hoolahan, Fulham full-back Stephen Kelly and Burnley winger Keith Treacy - before moving to English football with Aston Villa at the age of 17 in 2005.
The goalkeeper moved to Bristol City in 2007, making his debut against Queens Park Rangers in August of the same year. However, facing competition from Adriano Basso and Chris Weale for the No1 jersey, Henderson was loaned to York City, Weymouth, Aldershot Town and Yeovil Town, making a total of 64 first-team appearances.
The continued presence of David James at Ashton Gate saw Henderson join Portsmouth on a permanent basis in summer 2011. At first, he served as back-up to Jamie Ashdown before breaking into the side and making his debut in a 1-0 npower Championship defeat at Leeds United on 1 October last year.
Henderson has also been capped regularly by Republic of Ireland at age-group level, appearing for the U16s, U17s and U19s before making his U21 debut in a 3-2 win over Sweden in Uppsala in October 2007. He totalled eight caps at U21 level.