The Beast sees beauty in team spirit that proved so successful
Adebayo Akinfenwa notes promising comparisons with AFC Wimbledon in Wanderers’ dressing room
ADEBAYO Akinfenwa believes Wycombe Wanderers can emulate what AFC Wimbledon did last season and reach the promised land of League One.
A year after Wycombe lost the League Two play-off final, Wimbledon went one better by beating Plymouth at Wembley to reach a level Wycombe have not played at for four years.
Akinfenwa bagged the Dons’ second goal in their Wembley win before being released by the club and making Wycombe the next stop on his famed career.
He said: “It’s very similar to Wimbledon here, there’s a very similar spirit. It’s a very family-orientated club, but it’s also been tough every time I’ve played them.
“From January onwards last season there was a togetherness at Wimbledon – win, lose or draw we stuck together. We aimed to get into the play-offs, and once we got there we didn’t look back.
“Team spirit and togetherness goes a long way, and it seems like that here too. Both teams have players who wear heart on sleeve, and when you cross the white line you know you’re in it together.
“I’m not a young pup, I’ve been around and played against a lot of these players. Wycombe are one of the teams that has nullified me, so I know how good they are.”
Akinfenwa famously asked managers to WhatsApp him during his post-match interviews at Wembley, knowing he was about to be released, and actually turned down offers from around the globe to choose Adams Park as his next destination.
It helped that Wycombe is just a short journey down the M40 from London, the centre of operations for Akinfenwa’s BeastMode clothing label – built on his status as the world’s strongest footballer.
He added: “I got a new phone, so not many could get me on WhatsApp – I didn’t think that one through!
“But the gaffer got hold of me and this is where I wanted to be.
“I had a lot of interest at the age of 34, which is nice, from all over the world too, which was a bit strange – places like Australia, Mexico and Qatar.
“It was mad to be thinking all these places know about me, but I didn’t want to go too far as I’ve got too much going on here.
“Location was key as I’ve got a lot of things going on in London and this isn’t too far away. It all married up and ticked more boxes than not.”
No better send-off: Adebayo Akinfenwa scores a penalty for AFC Wimbledon against Plymouth Argyle in the League Two play-off final at Wembley in May.