Adebayo Akinfenwa went viral at the end of last season’s League Two play-off final between AFC Wimbledon and Plymouth Argyle.
‘The Beast’ - as he’s affectionally known due to his remarkable stature - scored a penalty in the 11th minute of stoppage time to help Wimbledon secure promotion to League One.
However, it was a bittersweet moment for the 34-year-old journeyman. He’d already been informed by the club that his contract wasn’t going to be renewed.
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“I think I'm technically unemployed so any managers, hit me up on the WhatsApp and get me a job,” Akinfenwa said, much to the amusement of viewers, live on Sky Sports after the match.
“Playing at Wembley, the hallowed turf, it don't get no better than that, I promise. All those who said I was too big to play football, come on now. Haa haa.”
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Akinfenwa snapped up by Wycombe
Akinfenwa was indeed released by Wimbledon at the end of the season, but his pleas for a manager to get in contact didn’t go unheeded.
Wycombe Wanderers’ boss Gareth Ainsworth snapped him up and Akinfenwa will continue plying his trade in League Two this season.
Akinfenwa reveals what happened after TV plea
But it wasn’t only the Choirboys who were keen to secure the big man’s services.
Akinfenwa has revealed that he received offers from across the world following his TV plea.
“It was so frenzied and in the moment, I just said it on TV. I thought it was just good banter, but immediately I calls and texts from Australia, Qatar, Mexico, Turkey and the USA who were all after me,” Akinfenwa told The Sun.
“It was just an instantaneous thing, but by the time the squad went to Las Vegas the next day for a promotion holiday, I had tens of offers from massive clubs all over the world.
“And it hit me the fact I am so well known in countries I’ve never been to so it was a humbling feeling. I am not a spring chicken anymore so the amount of interest I had aged 34 was amazing.
“On top of that I had the vast majority of League 2 teams who wanted to have a sit down with me. But when I spoke to [Wycombe boss] Gareth Ainsworth, the interaction was so good and the dynamics needs to be important at this stage of my career, so it was an easy decision”
Akinfenwa keen to help young players learn
Akinfenwa admits he was tempted by the prospect of moving to the United States this time last year, but is now focused on helping young players learn from his experience.
“I got interest from America again this summer but nothing materialised. Last year I was thinking heavily about it, but I had just had my fifth child,” he added.
“This time around I was less intrigued to go abroad. I have a lot of projects outside football that are UK based so I had to take that into consideration when I made my move, and abroad was not high on my agenda.
“At this stage in my career, playing in massive stadiums front of 50,000 people is not as much as a priority.
“Playing with a team that is together, going in the right direction and where I can teach and mentor youngsters with my experience is where I am at.
“Even though I am getting my coaching badges, I am more into mentoring. I was raised on an estate in an inner city school where people had a go about my size, people saying I am too big to play football – which still happens today – and I used that to inspire me.
“With hard work comes rewards and I want to make youngsters who could have gone left but went right find the right path. So I will be opening a BMO Football Academy hopefully later this year.”
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