His career began as a youth player at Norwich City. He made 58 appearances for the Canaries and also had loan spells at Hereford United and Brighton & Hove Albion before transferring to third tier Gillingham in a £250,000 move in January 1997. In May 1998, he moved to Bristol City for £1.2M.
He scored 23 goals in his only full season at Ashton Gate before a £3.2M transfer took him to Molineux, to join Wolverhampton Wanderers, for just under one season, when he gained his only cap for Nigeria.
In July 2000, Leicester City’s new manager Peter Taylor paid out a Club record fee of £5M to bring Akinbiyi to Filbert Street.
Although he didn’t find the transition to Premier League football easy, Ade nevertheless scored 10 goals in his first season.
Ade Akinbiyi was signed shortly after Emile Heskey's departure to Liverpool.
The Club was in fourth place as late as March during the 2000/01 season, before a run of nine defeats in their last 10 games saw the team finish in 13th place.
Akinbiyi’s second season at Filbert Street ended in relegation. No one faulted his work-rate, but the goals dried up for Akinbiyi at Leicester.
His first goal that season was against Sunderland in November. The celebratory removal of his shirt became one of that campaign’s abiding images.
He was transferred to Crystal Palace for £2.2M in February 2002 before moving to Stoke City, initially on loan, just over a year later, where he was Player of the Year in 2003/04.
The Hackney-born striker scored 10 goals during his maiden season at the Club.
He completed a £600,000 move to Burnley in February 2005. Sheffield United signed him for a club record £1.75M in January 2006 and, a year after that, he rejoined Burnley for an eventual fee of £750,000.
At Turf Moor, although the fans appreciated his endeavour, his manager criticised him for spending too much time in the gym.
After a spell at Houston Dynamo in the MLS, Ade finished his league career at Notts County in League 2.
A three-year spell without a club ended in 2013 when he became player-coach at Colwyn Bay for two years, working with his ex-Leicester and Burnley teammate, Frank Sinclair.
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