Touch of class – Southfields Academy

Southfields Academy

Michail Antonio says West Ham will need last season’s resilience today!

Michail Antonio is so softly-spoken, so gentle-mannered, so quick to smile, it’s hard to imagine him being a gang member. But that’s the point. Where Antonio was raised, even good kids found the bad path. It would happen accidentally. Antonio didn’t succumb, only thanks to his brother, his football — and Providence.

But a friend ended battered in a gang attack for one word, while another was murdered and a third was jailed for his part in the killing. Antonio is at Aspire, a community and sports wing of Southfields Academy: this go-ahead school also helped keep him from trouble. He talks about growing up on the edge not with braggadocio but mild-voiced matter-of-factness.

Southfields Academy

He lived a mile from here, in Earlsfield — a generally comfortable area. But either side were Tooting and Battersea, where gangs were rife…

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