Mullins leaves for Portsmouth

West Ham United have allowed midfielder Hayden Mullins to join Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee.

Mullins has been a loyal servant for the club since signing from Crystal Palace for £800,000 in October 2003 and was the longest-serving first-team player at the Boleyn Ground. Mullins was given permission to talk to Portsmouth on Sunday after a substantial bid was made for his services. He then travelled to the south-coast club to complete a medical and agree personal terms.

The midfielder, who turns 30 in March, played 178 league games for the club, scoring four goals. However, he had started just eight games in all competitions this campaign, along with 13 appearances off the bench. The Reading-born player has agreed a three-and-a-half year contract at Fratton Park.

West Ham United manager Gianfranco Zola said: "I wish Hayden well for the future. I did not want to lose him but at this point in his career he wanted to play regularly and I respect his wishes. 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."

West Ham United CEO Scott Duxbury said: "I would like to thank Hayden for his valued contribution. I wish him well and have no doubt that our supporters will give him a good reception whenever he returns. Gianfranco has been clear about allowing players on the fringes to get first-team football elsewhere if the opportunity arises and - given the fee, his age and his desire to play regularly - this deal is good for all parties.

"The manager has also spoken about improving the squad and I am working closely with him and technical director Gianluca Nani to make this happen. Any new arrivals will complement our blend of experienced internationals and homegrown youngsters. Our aim is simply to continue progressing in the league and the FA Cup, and build for the future at West Ham United."