IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Selfie discipline! How Arsenal saved troubled Islington teen

'Without a doubt, if I hadn’t got involved with Arsenal five years ago, I would be in jail or worse'

28 November, 2016 — By Joe Cooper

Lloyd Agyekum, left, and Alex Iwobi pose for a selfie with youngsters at the Arsenal Hub on Wednesday

BOTH decked out in full Arsenal regalia, and both barely out of their teens, Alex Iwobi and Lloyd Agyekum posed for a selfie at the Arsenal Hub on Wednesday.

Alex, 20, is now a ­regular winger for the Gunners, having joined the club while still at ­primary school.

But the path 21-year-old Gunners fan Lloyd took could have been very different had he not encountered Arsenal in the Community while playing football at his local pitch on the Elthorne estate.

As a teenager he fell in with the wrong crowd and started getting into trouble. Football was a release, said Lloyd, who still lives in Archway.

“I had the ambition and the drive but I just wasn’t using it in the right way,” he added.

“Without a doubt, if I hadn’t got involved with Arsenal five years ago, I would be in jail or worse.”

But Lloyd, a former St Aloysius and Central Foundation school pupil, has turned things around.

He’s been involved in a host of Arsenal programmes – he even went to Hong Kong for 10 weeks as a football coach – and is now ­training to be a sports therapist at university. He also mentors young ­people who live on the Cally.

“I love engaging with the kids and finding out what their interests are,” said Lloyd.

“It’s helping them get off the streets and do something constructive. I can relate to them and they can see that, if they have the determination, they can do it too.”

On Wednesday, he was showing Alex around the Arsenal Hub, which opened last year and is the base for Arsenal in the Community. The young player wanted to see first-hand what they do as he and all Arsenal players will be donating a day’s wages to the Arsenal Foundation next week when they play Stoke.

“The thing I always say about Arsenal is that it’s like a family,” said Lloyd. “No matter who are you talking to, a ­player or whoever, ­people talk to you with respect, like you are a family member.”

Would he like to get a full-time job at Arsenal, as a physio perhaps?

“That’s the dream,” said Lloyd.

 

Categories

Share this story

Post a comment

,