Nigerian-born Michael Akinfenwa is still in cloud nine after Liverpool Manager, Jurgen Klopp messaged him on WhatsApp in celebration of his Wycombe Wanderers’ promotion to the English Championship after beating Oxford United at the Wembley on Monday.
After the Chairboys triumphed 2-1 on Mondayto reach the second tier for the first time, veteran striker Akinfenwa gave an on-pitch interview to Sky, in which the 38-year-old referenced a similar post-match interview from four years earlier.
On that day in 2016 – after scoring a penalty for AFC Wimbledon against Plymouth Argyle in the League Two play-off final – he famously said: “I think I’m technically unemployed, so any managers hit me up on the WhatsApp and get me a job.”
So after Monday night’s result, Akinfenwa, a long-time Liverpool fan, joked: “Let me tell you something, the only person that can hit me up on WhatsApp this time is Klopp, so we can celebrate together. You get me? Oi!”
And so that’s just what Klopp did.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday ahead of the visit to Arsenal, Klopp stated about Akinfenwa: “He is invited for the parade! I saw before the video when he was sitting in the team meeting in an LFC kit, I thought that was really funny. He responded to the video, it was nice, he was really happy.”
Akinfenwa’s story will move you as four years ago he was unemployed after he was released by AFC Wimbledon.
Klopp added : “I just enjoy these kinds of stories (like Akinfenwa) and football meant everything to me before someone thought you can earn some money from it.
“You can fulfill your own dreams. For some teams it’s early but others can do it if they work hard,” Klopp concluded.
Messages of congratulation followed from other Liverpool players, including Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson himself.
The much-travelled Akinfenwa – as well as AFC Wimbledon, his former clubs include, but are by no means limited to, Torquay, Swansea, Northampton, Gillingham, Doncaster and Millwall – is celebrated almost as much for his physical stature as his goal-scoring prowess.
He goes by the nickname ‘The Beast’ and has written an autobiography called ‘The Beast: My Story’.
But The Beast has a soft spot for newly crowned Premier League champions Liverpool.
When the Reds sealed their first league title for 30 years last month, he happily took a club fine for turning up to training at Wycombe wearing an LFC shirt.
And apparently he even waived a rebate on the fine due to him after Monday’s heroics, having subsequently revealed: “The gaffer told me he would halve my fine if we got promoted, but I’d be so happy if we went up, I’ll still gladly pay the full amount. It would be money well spent.”