Forward in upbeat mood after signing new deal
Bayo Akinfenwa says his fame as a footballer has grown significantly since joining AFC Wimbledon, but his main motivation is to achieve success with the club next season.
He may have turned 33 since last season ended, but Bayo believes there is much to come from him after a 2014/15 campaign that saw him feature in over 50 matches and score 15 goals.
Speaking during an in-depth interview for Dons Player after signing a new contract, Bayo backed manager Neal Ardley to bring in the right players and talked about repaying Wimbledon fans for their support.
“On a personal note football is AFC Wimbledon and I want to achieve something here,” said Bayo. “I want to get promotion with Wimbledon next season. I scored goals and sampled the love from the fans last season. It is a cliché, but I want to achieve something for the supporters. I was involved in 52 games last season and that reflects the manager’s training methods and his attention to detail.
“Though I did not get as many goals near the end of the season, I still felt strong and I continued to make a contribution. I am a firm believer in the manager. He is our general and we are his soldiers and he will lead us to success. We were still in with a shout of the play-offs until about six games from the end of last season so hopefully we can go closer next season.
“We had quite a few young players coming through last season and I think it is mandatory for senior players like me to help them to progress. The future is bright for AFC Wimbledon.
pre-season though and I know how important it is. As a footballer I am looking forward to getting back out onto the pitch and seeing the new players that the manager will bring in. Hopefully, we can bond together and have a successful season.”th"I am not going to lie and say that I am looking forward to pre-season! I think it will be my 15
It’s almost a year since Bayo joined Wimbledon and he added that his popularity has grown since joining the Dons. As well as his personal Twitter account soaring to almost 150,000 followers, Bayo was in America recently to shoot a documentary that will be aired next season.
“Signing for AFC Wimbledon has doubled my profile,” said Bayo. “With the Liverpool game I can only say it would have been better if we had drawn, but on a personal note it has been overwhelming. I was out in America and people must have thought I was Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas! I was getting stopped so much. My profile sits alongside Premier League players and that’s not me being arrogant. The interest I get is overwhelming at times. Just the other day I was doing stuff for Soccer AM and lower league players don’t get that kind of attention often.
“I would like to think that the fans here know I am genuine person. I did not want to string anyone along (about signing a new contract), but I had to weigh up a few options. AFC Wimbledon were always out in front, but I had to sit down and look at what was best for myself, the club and my family. Thankfully, it came down to staying here being the best thing for me.”