Men's Team

Akinfenwa: 'We didn't want City!'

Akinfenwa: 'We didn't want City!'
Wycombe Wanderers legend Adebayo Akinfenwa says City were the one side the Chairboys didn't want to draw!

Akinfenwa, one of the game's most popular figures, says this is likely to be his final season as a player.


Now 39, he has played 768 games and scored 228 goals during a 20-year career - the last six of which have been with Wycombe.

Nicknamed 'The Beast', he is relishing the prospect of a first-ever game at the Etihad - and a career first match against City.

“In truth we wanted anyone but City!” laughed Akinfenwa.

“Everyone knows we are going to be doing a lot of running around on Tuesday,  but when you play in the lower leagues, you want to pit your wits against the biggest clubs you can, and there’s no doubt City are one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“When the draw was made it was all, ‘yeah! City at the Etihad Stadium!’ and then the realisation quickly sank in and it was more like, ‘boy, we may not see the ball very much!’.

“We are going to go into the game and just try and enjoy it as best we can and hopefully spring one or two surprises.

“We got back to winning ways against Charlton on Saturday and I’m sure there will be changes from the starting XI for that game on Tuesday, but we’re looking forward to it."

Though Akinfenwa has never previously played at the Etihad, he did arrive as a guest last week to witness the nine-goal Champions League thriller.

“I was in Manchester the day City played RB Leipzig doing some filming and my agency also represent a couple of the City boys so I was invited to the game and I got to experience one of your boxes – the chicken wings weren’t the greatest, just putting that out there!" he said.

“I know Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden because I’ve met them at a few events and we’ve kept in touch ever since.

“I’m a Liverpool fan, but I’m always happy when those boys do well – especially for England.

“You want to see great football and salute great players and the only time I don’t want City to win is when they play Liverpool.

“The truth is, you want to play against the best. I was watching the game and doing some research as well, saying ‘we can get at City this way or that way’ and then watched as City scored six goals.

“We won’t sit back and we’ll put our best foot forward and give it a good go and see what happens."

And if this is indeed the last season of his long career, Akinfenwa says finally playing City will be a great memory to look back on.

“I’ve never played against City at home or away for any of the clubs I’ve played for so I’m really looking forward to it," he said.

“I’ve said this is my final chapter, so to be going up against Pep Guardiola who I think is one of the best in the business, is fantastic.

"And it doesn’t matter what City team we play – A, B, C or D – we know it’s going to be something special, so I’m sure myself and the lads will really enjoy it.

"We are fans before the game, then during the 90 minutes, City are our opponents, then after the game we are fans again."

Finally, who does 'The Beast' believe will win the fashion stakes on the touchline?

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth - now in his tenth season at Adams Park - and band member of band Cold Blooded Hearts - cuts a dashing figure with his long locks and rock star attire.

It's earned him the nickname 'Wild Thing'.

With that in mind, Akinfenwa reckons Pep might lose this particular battle!

“Oh 100% ‘Wild Thing’ and though Pep is slick, I’ve got to give him that, you’ve got to go with The Wild Thing!" concluded the Chairboys idol.

"It should be a great night."


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