From Barry Town to cult stardom: Akinfenwa 14 years on
Over the years, many players have been labelled “Beast”, however Akinfenwa is perhaps the player who has made the nickname his own. Weighing in at 101kg and claiming to be able to bench press 200kg, the striker is a monster. It is this size and strength, along with good footballing talent, that makes Akinfenwa “The Beast”.
Akinfenwa has played for numerous clubs during his career, despite having donned the colours o Northampton Town, Swansea City and AFC Wimbledon, it is his time at Welsh football club Barry Town that will leave a lasting memory in the minds of the Welsh Premier League fans. Although he only had a short spell at the club, he still managed to be a part of their 2002/2003 Welsh League title and Welsh cup win. It is 13 years since Akinfenwa left the South Wales club, so whatever did happen to The Beast after he left Jenner Park?
After his time at Barry Town being cut short, due to a financial crisis at the club resulting in all professional staff being let go, Akinfenwa played for multiple clubs. One of these clubs includes another Welsh team, Swansea City. Akinfenwa’s debut game for the Swans was against Tranter Rovers. The Beast scored on his debut for the Swans and his goal was the first competitive goal at the Liberty Stadium. His most successful periods however came at Northampton Town and AFC Wimbledon. Akinfenwa had 2 spells at Northampton, first from 2008 until 2010 and then from 2011 to 2013 and in total he made 168 appearances and racked up an impressive 71 goals for the Cobblers.
The Beast signed for AFC Wimbledon in 2014, after a year at Gillingham. Wimbledon were said to be in pursuit for his signature for 14 months, and in the end they got their man. Whilst at the club, he made 83 appearances and scored 19 goals. In the FA Cup Third Round, he scored an equalizer against Liverpool, the club he supports. However, on 30th May 2016 after scoring a penalty against Plymouth Argyle in a 2-0 victory, which won them the League Two Play-Offs, Akinfenwa was released. The Beast now plies his trade at Wycombe Wanderers.
Sadly times for Barry Town, his former club, haven’t been as illustrious. Barry Town in the summer of 2003 fell into administration, their once strong and professional squad fell apart quickly, leaving the club forced to fill their squad with amateur level players. It has been a very rocky time for Barry, as the club have experienced relegation, seen budgets slashed and the club even had to reform.
Barry Town’s fortunes are finally looking up. They currently play in the Welsh Division One and the prospect of seeing the once Welsh giants back in top flight is becoming a reality, and perhaps the chance of a player and club reunion could be on the cards for a few years time.