Fate brings Akinfenwa to AFC Wimbledon, but will he bring the goals? (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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Fate brings Akinfenwa to AFC Wimbledon, but will he bring the goals?
Adebayo Akinfenwa almost signed for AFC Wimbledon last summer, and the striker has put it down to fate that he is here now.
The 32-year-old had turned down Neal Ardley for a shot at League One football with Gillingham, but when his contract in Kent came to an end in June, he knew the time was right to accept another approach from the Dons.
Akinfenwa has signed a two-year deal – or “project” as he calls it – at the Cherry Red Records stadium, and if his reception at the meet the manager evening yesterday is anything to by, he will be a fans’ favourite.
He said: “I came within a whisker of signing last year because I was so impressed with what Neal [Ardley] told me about what he wants to do.
“But I wanted to play League One football - any footballer will tell you they want to play at the highest level possible.
“When I decided not to sign a new contract, Neal called me again and I knew straight away that this was the right move.”
Meet the fans: Dons commercial director Ivor Heller introduces Dannie Bulman and Adebayo Akinfenwa to the fans at last night's meet the manager event
He added: “I am a big believer in God and fate, and I believe with the squad that is already here and the new players that have come in, we can do something special.
“I’m here for two years, this is my project. I’d love to win promotion this year, or next, but as long as the club is in a better place when I leave than when I joined, I will be happy.”
There was much excitement among fans last night about the goals they believe Akinfenwa and fellow new boy Matt Tubbs will score – something Akinfenwa understands after a paucity of goals last term.
He said: “If you look at mine and Matt’s records, we do bring goals, and I hear that was an issue last year, and I can understand the emphasis is on goals.
“But we’re both old enough to know we will do what we have done throughout our career and hopefully we’ll continue to do.
Partner in goals? Matt Tubbs with Neal Ardley
“Football is not played on paper, and although I look at our squad and see big names in there, we have to gel and it will take time.”
He added: “When Cody McDonald and I played at Gillingham in a partnership it took us four months to get going, and from December we kicked on.
“Hopefully my partnership with Matt will just click, and that’s what we’re working on in training.
“If it doesn’t click straightaway, the fans need to know we’re working hard on it.
“I believe it will work because we complement each other – I like goals, but I’d get the same amount of pleasure out of setting Matt up as I would scoring.
“He can be the 20 plus man, I am happy with that, I want that from him, and as long as I can pitch in with what I bring to the team, I’ll be happy.
“We’re looking forward to it, we cannot wait to get going.”