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Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro thanks Town fans for their magic spell

Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro thanked the Shrewsbury Town fans for their support after ending his two-year spell with the club.

Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro thanks Town fans for their magic spell

The 31-year-old striker was one of eight players released by Town last week and admits he is disappointed at the decision.

But he accepts change is part of football life and will remember his time at the club for his special relationship with the fans, as well as plenty of good moments on the pitch.

Known in the dressing room as 'Premier League Jean-Louis' for his technique and ability, he gained a cult following at Town and had his own song with the fans, sung to the tune of Pilot's 1975 hit 'Magic'.

Akpa Akpro, who is happily settled with his girlfriend and dog in Shrewsbury, missed several weeks of last season to deal with a personal matter in his native France and wants to thank fans for their kindness and patience at a difficult time for him.

"I feel I want to give a message to the fans because I want to thank them for the support they gave me all the time I was there," said Akpa Akpro, who scored 16 goals in 95 games for Town in all competitions.

"They are so important because their support helped me to keep going all the time, so big thanks to them.

"They have been very kind to me and I know they will be the same with someone else, so all the best to them and it doesn't matter what happens, just carry on supporting the team."

Akpa Akpro feels humbled that he was honoured with his own song by the fans.

"It's always nice to see people like you for what you do so I was really happy that they sung about me," he said. "Hopefully I gave them something to sing about because even when I was tired or not playing well, I always gave 100 per cent.

"Sometimes I played well, sometimes I might have played badly, but the fans were always there and they always supported me."

Akpa Akpro has only fond memories of his time at the Greenhous Meadow, after arriving from Tranmere in July 2014.

He scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 win against former club Bury in his first season and there was a memorable headed equaliser against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup last term – which helped set up Town's first ever meeting with eventual winners Manchester United.

Chris Smalling of Manchester United and John-Louis Akpa Akpro of Shrewsbury Town

But one goal stands out more than any other to him. "My best memory is scoring at Cheltenham because it clinched promotion," said the former Grimsby and Rochdale forward.

"That was the highlight of the season and us as a team that season did well, getting promotion.

"Unfortunately we didn't finish top of the league because Burton kept working hard and finished ahead of us. But it was a fabulous season, we played some really good football and we got promoted automatically.

"This season was strange for me because for two months it felt like I wasn't there; it was a hard time for me and it still is but now after a bit of time has passed, I feel more on top of it.

"But every time I got my chance on the pitch I felt I did OK and I kept going."

One of more then a dozen players out of contract at Greenhous Meadow, Akpa Akpro admitted he was unsure whether he would be offered a new deal or released on a free transfer.

"I felt it was 50-50," he said. "Micky Mellon (manager) told me – we had a nice chat and he told me his decision and I understand it's football.

Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro of Shrewsbury Town and Tyler Forbes of Fleetwood Town

"I was a bit disappointed, but it's my career and it's another challenge for me so I'll try to move on quickly.

"As I say, I was disappointed but in football you have to expect anything can happen – if not you can find you're very disappointed.

"That's why I was 50-50 – if it was positive news then all good, if it was negative, you just take it on the chin and move on."

Akpa Akpro has played just over 300 senior games in his eight years in England and ideally wants to stay on these shores.

"I'll enjoy my break because it's been a long, hard season and I need a holiday, but when I get back, we'll have a look and then see what happens," he said.

"I'm ready for my next challenge and I'll look forward to joining another club. Ideally I want to stay in England but you never know."

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