Born: May 10, 1982
Birthplace: Islington, England
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Saheed Adebayo Akinfenwa (born 10 May 1982), is an English professional footballer who plays as a striker for Wycombe Wanderers. He is known for his physical strength and heavy build.
Akinfenwa's first professional breakthrough came at Doncaster Rovers, having spent time up until then in the lower leagues of English football as well as spells in Lithuania and Wales. Following a short but successful time at Doncaster, Akinfenwa moved to his seventh club, Torquay United. He proved to be a goal threat, but left the struggling team the following season to join Swansea City. After spending two seasons with the Welsh club, he joined League One side Millwall and later moved to Northampton Town. Akinfenwa spent six years switching from Northampton to Gillingham, where his goal-scoring ability was still apparent. In June 2014, he signed for League Two side AFC Wimbledon, and two years later Wycombe Wanderers.
Akinfenwa was born in Islington, London. As a teenager, he joined the Lithuanian club FK Atlantas on the advice of his agent, whose Lithuanian wife's brother knew a member of the coaching staff there. He received racial abuse from fans in the country, later saying "Coming from London, where nobody would disrespect me, this was just brazen". He spent two years at the club before returning to the UK early in 2003, where he joined Welsh Premier League champions Barry Town. Akinfenwa helped Barry to Welsh Cup and Welsh Premier League silverware during his time at Jenner Park. However, just a handful of matches into his stint, the club suffered a financial crisis and released its professional playing staff. Akinfenwa quickly joined Boston United in October 2003, scoring a last minute winner on his debut against Swindon Town in the Football League Trophy. Unable to settle, he moved to Leyton Orient the following month, but was released after one month. In December 2003 he moved to Rushden & Diamonds and in February 2004 joined Doncaster Rovers, his fifth club of the season.
In July 2004, Akinfenwa changed clubs again, signing for Torquay United, as a replacement for David Graham. He scored 14 league goals during the 2004–05 season but was unable to help the club avoid relegation to League Two. He declined to sign a new contract with Torquay at the end of the season.
In July 2005, Akinfenwa moved to Swansea City, who were ordered to pay an £85,000 fee as compensation. He scored on his debut against Tranmere Rovers, and this was also the first competitive goal scored at Swansea's new Liberty Stadium. He scored the winning goal in the 2006 Football League Trophy Final, in which Swansea beat Carlisle United 2–1. He also helped Swansea reach the League One promotion play-off final in his first season. After a 2–2 draw, the match went to a penalty shoot-out but Akinfenwa was one of two Swansea players to miss with their penalties, granting promotion to Barnsley. He was a regular the following season, until a broken right leg in the 2–0 defeat at home to Scunthorpe United ended his season. This followed a fractured left shin the previous October.
At the end of the 2006–07 season, he rejected a new contract with Swansea, and agreed to sign for Swindon Town on 29 June 2007. However, he failed a medical.
Following this, in November 2007 he joined League One team Millwall on a month-to-month contract, however he failed to score any goals in seven appearances.
On 18 January 2008 Akinfenwa signed a deal with Northampton Town until the end of the 2007–08 season. He made his debut against Swindon Town, where he came off the bench to score a late equaliser in a 1–1 draw. He then had the same impact in his home debut, scoring the equaliser in a 1–1 draw against Leeds United. He started the following match, at home to Gillingham, and scored two goals in a 4–0 win. He scored three further goals that season.
On 30 May 2008, Akinfenwa signed a new one-year contract at Northampton despite declared interest from Leyton Orient and Grimsby Town. He started the 2008–09 season well, scoring twice in three matches by the end of September.
Akinfenwa ended his stay at Northampton in May 2010. He had been offered a new deal but Northampton could not agree a deal with him within an agreed time-frame.
Akinfenwa returned to Sixfields on 25 May 2011, after new Cobblers manager Gary Johnson brought him in to "capture the imagination of the supporters". He scored his first goal against Bristol Rovers on 16 August. On 10 November 2012 in a match against Accrington Stanley, Akinfenwa scored his first, and to date only, professional hat-trick. Three years later, with Northampton struggling financially, Akinfenwa auctioned off the shirt he wore in this match and donated the proceeds to a supporters' trust, raising £440. Northampton Town released him at the end of the 2012–13 season.
Akinfenwa re-signed for Gillingham on a free transfer on 2 July 2013. After reigniting his successful partnership with Cody McDonald, scoring 10 goals over the course of the 2013–14 season and coming third in their Supporters Player of the Year awards, Akinfenwa left the club on expiry of his one-year contract.
On 20 June 2014, he signed for League Two side AFC Wimbledon, who had pursued his signature for 14 months. In the third round of the FA Cup on 5 January 2015, in which AFC Wimbledon hosted Liverpool at Kingsmeadow, Akinfenwa equalised against the club he supports, albeit in a 1–2 defeat. On 8 June 2015, Akinfenwa extended his contract with Wimbledon, spurning interests from clubs in League One and Major League Soccer. On 30 May 2016, after scoring a penalty in a 2–0 win against Plymouth Argyle in the League Two Play-off Final, Akinfenwa was released from his contract. He told Sky Sports in his post-match interview: "I think I'm technically unemployed, so any managers hit me up on the WhatsApp and get me a job."
Following his departure from AFC Wimbledon, Akinfenwa signed for Wycombe Wanderers, initially on a one-year contract.
In April 2018, he was nominated for the EFL League Two Player of the Season award.
Personal Life and Family
Akinfenwa is a close friend of Clarke Carlisle, his former teammate at Northampton Town. As a child, he supported Liverpool and his favourite player was John Barnes. His father is a Muslim and his mother is a Christian, and while Akinfenwa observed Ramadan as a child, he is now a Christian.
Akinfenwa has become well known for being ranked as the strongest footballer in the world in various editions of the FIFA videogame series. In September 2014 he was invited to attend the launch party for FIFA 15 alongside various celebrities and Premier League players such as Rio Ferdinand, George Groves and Lethal Bizzle. Akinfenwa reportedly weighs around 16 stone (101 kg) and can bench press 200 kg, almost double his own body weight. He runs a clothing label called Beast Mode On which plays on his strong man reputation.