Wycombe Wanderers striker Adebayo Akinfenwa’s televised plea for talks with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp have proved successful to a certain extent – he has bagged himself an invite to the club’s Premier League trophy parade.
Akinfenwa, a long-time Liverpool fan, was part of the Wycombe side that achieved promotion to the Championship for the first time in their 133-year history thanks to Monday’s 2-1 League One play-off final victory over Oxford United.
A Wycombe cult hero, Akinfenwa’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season, but in a memorable post-match interview he on reflected a difficult journey from being “technically unemployed” four years ago to winning promotion to England’s second tier.
In his speech, he said the only person who could “hit me up on WhatsApp this time is Klopp” so they could celebrate their successes together, and the German duly obliged with a congratulatory video message.
Klopp then went one better on Tuesday, extending Akinfenwa an invitation to the club’s Premier League trophy parade, when such an event can go ahead.
“When it’s possible, in the future one day,” Klopp said when asked if the two will meet. “I don’t know when exactly, but he is invited for the parade, 100 per cent.
“I saw, before the video, when he was sitting in the team meeting in a Liverpool kit, which I thought was really funny. I watched the game [and] yes, he responded – he sent a video back. It’s private [what he said], at least a few things in life should stay private. It was nice, he was obviously really happy.”
Klopp said stories in football such as that of Akinfenwa – who could play in England’s second tier for the first time at 38 years old – were part of why he loves the sport so much.
He said: “I just enjoy these kind of stories. I like it because, how you know, as a player I was in similar situations, that’s how it is.
“Football meant everything to me before somebody thought, ‘It’s worth giving him some money for it’ and that never changed. That’s why I always will love this game because you can fulfil your own dreams, it just depends on the dreams.
“For some teams it’s a bit earlier, for other teams they have to wait a little bit longer but if you work hard then there is still a chance for you and still a possibility for you. I hope this game stays like it is – and I’m not worried about that, this game will always have these kinds of chances.
“It’s just exactly how it should be: if you work really hard, you can make it.”
Akinfenwa responded to Klopp’s invite with a delighted post on Twitter: “This is getting silly now, I’m smiling like a grown kid.”
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