Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro
Akpa Akpro playing for Shrewsbury Town in 2014
|Full name||Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro|
|Date of birth||4 January 1985|
|Place of birth||Toulouse, France|
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|2007||→ Stade Brestois 29 (loan)||15||(2)|
|2014||→ Bury (loan)||10||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:13, 8 May 2016 (UTC).
Akpa Akpro came through the youth ranks at Toulouse where he picked up Ligue 1 experience, before moving to Belgian side FC Brussels. He subsequently moved to England, playing for Grimsby Town, Rochdale, Bury, Tranmere Rovers and Shrewsbury Town. He was previously called up to play international football for France at U18 level but injury forced him to withdraw from the squad.
Akpa Akpro was born in Toulouse, France. He started his career at his home town club, French First Division side Toulouse as a youngster in 2003. While at with the club, he spent time on loan with Stade Brestois 29 in the French Second Division where he scored twice in 15 appearances. He featured in around 40 games for Toulouse from between 2003 and 2007, managing to score a total of three goals. While with Toulouse, Akpa Akpro was briefly called up to the France U18 International team, but was forced to withdraw from the squad due to injury. He was never selected again.
Akpa Akpro was released by Toulouse at the end of the 2006–07 season. He then left France and headed north where he signed for Belgian side FC Brussels in the summer of 2007. He remained with the club for the 2007–08 season, playing only a cameo role in the clubs season by making only three appearances for the club. Akpro was released at the end of the season. After his departure from Brussels, Akpa Akpro had travelled to England where he joined Milton Keynes Dons in a pre-season trial, before also spending a week training with Colchester United. However both trials didn't pay off and Akpro began the 2008–09 season as a free agent.
On 2 December 2008, Akpa Akpro joined English club Grimsby Town on trial with a view of earning a permanent contract. A day later he received international clearance to play for Grimsby's reserve team in their league fixture away against Bradford City. He played the entire 90 minutes in a 2–1 win for Grimsby. Two days later, on 4 December 2008 he was offered and subsequently signed an 18-month contract keeping him at Blundell Park until the end of the 2009–10 season. The signing of Akpro at Grimsby would be the third French speaking player to join the club under in the Mike Newell tenure, with Congolese midfielder Jean-Paul Kamudimba Kalala and fellow Frenchman Mickael Buscher also arriving at Cleethorpes. He originally was set to make his debut against Port Vale on the 6 December, but his papers from the Belgian Football Association were not received on time for him to feature. He instead made his debut against Shrewsbury Town on 13 December, and helped Grimsby to record their first home league victory of the season with a 1–0 victory. He went on to make it into the League Two Team of the Week after setting up Nathan Jarman's winner against Wycombe Wanderers on 17 January 2009. In the remaining months of the season, The Mariners were involved in a relegation battle, in which Akpa Akpro found himself playing a key part, mainly being fielded in attack alongside Adam Proudlock. In March 2009, Akpro and Proudlock destroyed local rivals Lincoln City in a 5–1 victory, with Akpa Akpro scoring two, and Proudlock hitting a hat-trick. Towards the very end of the campaign Barry Conlon became Akpro's regular strike partner, and the two would turn out to become vital to the clubs eventual survival from relegation. During the 2009–10 season, a managerial change saw the man responsible for his arrival at Grimsby, Mike Newell sacked in October 2009. During the season in which many different players were used all over the pitch, Akpro's role in the first team would change from week to week, with some weeks new boss Neil Woods choosing to play him in his usual attacking role, whilst other weeks he operated in a wide left position or on the wing, and in other weeks merely only a substitute and in some circumstances also failing to make the 18 man squad at all. Akpro would play his part in ending an awful club record when he scored in a 3–0 victory over Shrewsbury Town on 6 March 2010, which was Grimsby's first league victory in 25 games. Following relegation from the Football League, Akpro rejected Grimsby's new contract offer and left the club on 26 June 2010.
On 7 July he signed a two-year deal with League One newcomers Rochdale, after he turned down a new contract at Grimsby. He made his Rochdale debut in a friendly match against Fleetwood Town in which he scored from 20 yards out in a 3–0 victory. In his first season with Dale, the club earned a very respectable 9th place in Football League One, and were unlucky to miss out on capturing a play-off place. During the 2011–12 campaign Akpro and Rochdale were relegated.
On 19 June 2012 he signed a two-year deal with Tranmere Rovers, after he turned down a new contract from Rochdale. He scored a brace on his debut against Leyton Orient on 18 August 2012, this prompted his manager Ronnie Moore to comment saying Jean-Louis is capable of playing in the Premier League and that he fully expected him to score 20 goals throughout the coming season. After topping the scoring charts of League 1 with 7 goals in 10 games, it was announced Akpa Akpro would be out for 3 months with a fractured metatarsal, coming off in the 18th minute in a 1–0 victory away at Notts County.
Unfortunately Akpa Akpro, low on confidence following the injury, was never able to recapture his sensational early season form, scoring only 1 goal in the six remaining games of the season in which he played.
Following his release from Tranmere, Akpa Akpro signed a one-year contract for Shrewsbury Town in League Two on 2 July 2014. He made his Shrewsbury debut away at AFC Wimbledon on 9 August, and scored his first goal for the club ten days later, converting a penalty in a 4–0 rout of Accrington Stanley at New Meadow. His next goals for the club came in a career first hat-trick, against former loan club Bury in a 5–0 home win on 21 October. On 29 November, he scored a late winner against Burton Albion for Shrewsbury's 12th victory in 14 home games, as well as handing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink his first defeat as Burton manager.
Akpa Akpro scored the decisive goal in a 1–0 away win at Cheltenham Town as Shrewsbury secured promotion to League One on 25 April 2015. With the club close to the Financial Fair Play limit and unable to move on fringe players, chairman Roland Wycherley agreed to fund a one-year contract extension, which was signed in time for the player to be available for selection for the opening league match of the following season against Millwall. He scored his first goals of the season – a brace in a 2–0 win against Blackpool – to secure a first home victory of the campaign on 26 September. He ended the 2015–16 campaign with seven in total, including important late goals in the season run-in against Scunthorpe United, Bradford City and Gillingham, as Shrewsbury finished in 20th place, four points above the relegation zone. In May 2016, the club announced Akpa Akpro was to be released at the end of his contract.
- football.co.uk profile
- "Town sign Akpa Akpro". Shrewsweb. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "AFC Wimbledon 2–2 Shrewsbury". BBC Sport. 9 August 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- "Shrewsbury Town 4–0 Accrington Stanley". BBC Sport. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- "Shrewsbury Town 5–0 Bury". BBC Sport. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
- "Shrewsbury 1–0 Burton". BBC Sport. 29 November 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
- "Cheltenham Town 0–1 Shrewsbury Town". BBC Sport. 25 April 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
- "Shrewsbury: Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro deal funded by chairman". BBC Sport. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
- "Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro signs Town deal". Shropshire Star. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
- "Shrewsbury 2–0 Blackpool". BBC Sport. 26 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "Jean Louis Akpa Akpro Season 2015/2016". Soccerbase. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- "2015/16 League One Table". Soccerbase. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- "Town announce retain list". Shrewsweb. 20 May 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro signs for Barnet