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Wednesday, 14 March, 2001, 10:20 GMT
Wedded bliss for Hammers ace Foxe
Hayden Foxe
Foxe can now start his Hammers career
West Ham have finally completed the signing of Australian international defender Hayden Foxe - after the player married his fiancée.

The 23-year-old free agent had been denied a work permit because he was one international appearance short of the required total.

But after tying the knot with his 20-year-old French girlfriend, the player has now signed a three-year deal with the Premier League outfit.

The club have been patient, I've been patient, and it's all come good. I just had to keep my bottle
  Hayden Foxe

"I've got a visa through my wife as a spouse of a European national," Foxe explained.

"We are in love and that's what you do when that hits you - you get married. If I'd done it for a visa I would have done it last June.

"The club have been patient, I've been patient, and it's all come good. I just had to keep my bottle."

The player could be set for a swift appearance when West Ham reserves take on Watford on Thursday evening.

Hammers boss Harry Redknapp said: "Hayden has waited a long time to play for us. He is a free transfer and we hope he will do well."

Foxe's protracted move has taken several twists and turn since Redknapp first spotted him playing for J-League side Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

Hayden has waited a long time to play for us
  Harry Redknapp

A foot injury prevented Foxe from completing the required 75% of international games for a work permit, with Olympic appearances not counting.

Leeds pair Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell both wrote letters to the government in support of their fellow Australian while West Ham appealed twice on his behalf.

Redknapp then threatened legal action to solve the dispute in December 2000, while Foxe kept fit by playing for Belgian side Mechelen.

The player even attempted to take advantage of a legal loophole by buying shares in the club in the hope he could sell them his services as a self-employed free agent - but the long-running saga has now drawn to a close.

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