Tuesday, 31 May 2016
Adebayo Akinfenwa: AFC Wimbledon icon released after play-off final win
Iconic AFC Wimbledon striker Adebayo Akinfenwa revealed he has been released by the club - seconds after helping them win the League Two play-off final at Wembley.
Akinfenwa - nicknamed 'The Beast' - asked managers to "hit me up on WhatsApp" in his post-match interview.
The 34-year-old scored a 101st-minute injury-time penalty in the 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle.
Embracing manager Neal Ardley, Akinfenwa shouted: "He's releasing me!"
Ardley said the decision to release Akinfenwa was made in the week before Monday's final after a very long, heartfelt chat".
But he added that he felt the 16-stone frontman had got his "mojo back" and still had "two years of starting games still left in him".
AFC Wimbledon will play in English football's third tier for the first time in their history next season after sealing their sixth promotion since the club's formation in 2002.
They were set up by fans of the old Wimbledon FC, following their relocation to Milton Keynes.
Cult hero Akinfenwa, who is known for his bulky physique and strength, told BBC Radio 5 live: "Come on now, there ain't no better way to send off.
"I said let's complete this fairytale - and that's what we've done. It's what dreams are made of. It's beautiful."
He added: "To see this team get promoted, to score with the last kick of the game, I couldn't even write that.
"I'm going to miss this team, I'm going to miss this place, but there ain't no better way to leave it. It's about progression and AFC Wimbledon are getting stronger and stronger."
On his future, he told Sky Sports: "I think I'm technically unemployed, so any managers hit me up on the WhatsApp and get me a job."
Lyle Taylor's goal looked to have settled the match for AFC Wimbledon.
But they had the chance to score a second when Adebayo Azeez was fouled in the Plymouth penalty area 11 minutes into injury time.
Callum Kennedy picked up the ball for the spotkick, but Akinfenwa grabbed it off him as the two players argued about who should take it.
Akinfenwa eventually got his way and scored to seal victory.
"I did promise Cal K that I would let him take the pen, but it was just set up too beautifully and I'm bigger than Cal so Cal's unlucky," said Akinfenwa. "Sorry Cal K, I love you, though."
The lower league journeyman revealed he had been nervous taking the spotkick.
"I would have usually said I had it covered, that I knew I was going to score," he told BBC Radio 5 live. "But I was nervous. When it hit the back of the net, it was elation."