Adebayo Akinfenwa is living the life right now.
The 38-year-old striker has helped Wycombe Wanderers into the Football League Championship for the first time in their existence after the club beat Oxford United 2-1 in the League One playoff final on Monday.
If Akinfenwa’s name sounds familiar, it should. The muscular 38-year-old “Beast” shot into the spotlight when he used Wimbledon’s promotion to broadcast that managers should “hit him up on Whatsapp” because he wasn’t done playing the game.
[ MORE: Maguire, Solskjaer rue late Man Utd draw ]
The striker mentioned Whatsapp again on Monday, saying “The only person who can WhatsApp me tonight is Klopp so we can celebrate together. ”
He was recently in the news for vile reasons, reporting that he had been called a “fat water buffalo” in Wycombe’s semifinal win over Fleetwood Town. Akinfenwa says that if the barb wasn’t intended as racial abuse, then his opponents need to be educated on racism.
He didn’t want to speak about that on Monday.
“Today is about, listen, for me, life in football is all about opinions. Four years ago someone gave an opinion about me and that was their opinion. I hope my story shows that the only opinion that matters is the opinion you have about yourself. I was lucky and blessed to find a manager and players who believed in me. I’ll say it for the people in the back: Wycombe is in the Championship. Wait, wait, I’ll say it one more time. Wycombe’s in the Championsh- WAIT! The people in the back didn’t hear me: Wycombe is in the Championship.”
Akinfewa played the final 28 minutes of Monday’s win and his next league appearance will be the first above League One in his long career that started with Watford’s academy in 2000.
He scored 10 goals and added six assists this season, giving him 200 professional goals in more than 650 appearances.
The field for the fourth round of the 2014-15 FA Cup is all set — for the most part. With the exception of two more games on Tuesday and seven (thus far) third-round replays, the field and matchups are all set following Monday’s draw and results.
Liverpool resisted a valiant AFC Wimbledon performance at Kingsmeadow to knock out the League Two side and see themselves through to the fourth round, where they’ll face Bolton Wanderers. Meanwhile, Premier League sides Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur played to a 1-1 draw in front of just 9,348 spectators — 2,494 of which were traveling Spurs supporters — at Turf Moor.
[ MORE: Full FA Cup fourth round draw results ]
Steven Gerrard’s brace was the story of the day following a weekend in which the Liverpool legend also dominated headlines, announcing he will leave the club at the end of the season and reportedly sign with MLS side LA Galaxy.
Gerrard’s goals came on 12 and 62 minutes, bookending an Adebayo Akinfenwa equalizer which set the social media world ablaze as the 238-pounder put The Dons back on level terms (pictured above) and within reach of a famous victory 10 minutes before halftime. Gerrard’s second goal, a free kick that dipped under the bar at the near post from 22 yards out, was the best of the bunch.
Nacer Chadli scored to put Tottenham 1-0 up on Burnley after 56 minutes, but Sam Vokes equalized to force a third-round replay for the right to host Leicester City in the fourth round.
All FA Cup third round results
West Bromwich Albion 7-0 Gateshead
Tranmere Rovers 2-6 Swansea City
Blyth Spartans 2-3 Birmingham City
Leicester City 1-1 Newcastle United
Millwall 3-3 Bradford City
Rotherham United 1-5 Bournemouth
Brentford 0-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
Rochdale 1-0 Nottingham Forest
Cambridge United 2-1 Luton Town
Charlton Athletic 1-2 Blackburn Rovers
Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Bristol City
Derby County 1-0 Southport
Huddersfield Town 0-1 Reading
Preston North End 2-0 Norwich City
Scunthorpe United 0-0 Chesterfield
Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Wigan Athletic
Barnsely 0-2 Middlesbrough
Fulham 0-0 Wolves
Sunderland 1-0 Leeds United
QPR 0-3 Sheffield United
Dover 0-4 Crystal Palace
Man City 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Stoke City 2-1 Wrexham
Aston Villa 1-0 Blackpool
Southampton 1-1 Ipswich Town
Yeovil Town 0-2 Manchester United
Chelsea 3-0 Watford
Arsenal 2-0 Hull City
AFC Wimbledon 1-2 Liverpool
Burnley 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Tuesday’s third round fixtures
Scunthorpe vs. Chesterfield
Everton vs. West Ham United
Wimbledon striker Adebayo Akinfenwa has been around the block. The giant 32-year-old has played for 12 clubs since 2001 and, judging by the photo at right, lifted a ton of weights and drank a ton of milkshakes in addition to scoring goals.
Akinfenwa, you see, can bench press nearly 400 pounds and has been called “the world’s strongest footballer”. He’s also is a fan of Liverpool.
And despite playing in promotion matches and derbies, the Dons attacker is readying for Monday’s FA Cup tilt against Liverpool like its the biggest game of his life… and the biggest game in the world.
[ RELATED: FA Cup roundup ]
Saying to him it was bigger than the UEFA Champions League final, the longtime Reds supporter can’t wait for Monday. He unleashed a slew of quotes that show why the FA Cup is such a cool competition.
From the BBC:
Akinfenwa, who is playing for his 11th club, added: “I was doing a dance in my living room when I saw the draw.
“As a Liverpool supporter, the three best feelings are: to play for the team, to play against the team and score against them. I have the opportunity to do two out of three.”
“They are Premier league players and you want to be able to look back and say: ‘I pitted myself against the best and handled myself well’.
“If there’s a 50-50, hopefully I will come out on top. I would back myself… 100%.”
Whether the bookies would back him is another story. Wimbledon may have history on its side after shocking ‘Pool in the 1988 tournament, but Skybet lists Liverpool as 1:5 favorites to win, with the Dons getting 12:1 odds.
The third round proper has been nearly devoid of upsets, so a Wimbledon win would be an extra big deal. The only lower league teams to pick up wins over higher opponents were Rochdale, Preston North End and Sheffield United. The Blades were the only victors to defeat a Premier League team.