When Michael Adesioye heard that the St Matthias youth club was for sale, he knew he had to be involved. The Dalston Lane club held a host of memories for him and as a property expert with a firm that styles itself “London’s leading property buying agent” he believed he could handle the prestige deal. And he did. This is his story
I AM 38 and I attended St Matthias from 11 to about 18. After I left I would still pop in now and then to see Nelson Riley, who was known as “Skip”, and was the club leader from the very beginning many years ago up until a few years back.
He was a father figure to me: he nurtured me and all who went there, constantly encouraging us. He was good, but firm, a man of discipline. It’s why the club was run effectively for so many years without incident.
St Matthias was like a second home for me: I was there everyday Monday to Friday after school. The club offered so many activities and I took part in those I was good at… table-tennis, athletics and football, although I was the goalkeeper, and a very proud one, despite our getting beaten heavily most Sundays, making me the poor sod who had to take the ball from the back of the net every time.
In athletics I was good at high jump — somewhere I may still have the medal I won for coming third when I was 14. Then there was table-tennis — I was untouchable.
A few power-players I remember: Ronald Albert (staff), Adel Rushdi (staff), Leroy James (staff), Jason Roach (youth) and Skip. Ronald would always say: “Watch the spin if you wanna win.”
St Matthias was a safe place for youngsters: to express themselves in, to have fun and to socialise. Everybody respected Skip. You wouldn’t dare answer back or be disrespectful to him, any of the staff or anyone else who went to the club because he didn’t tolerate rubbish from anybody.
As adults, we who went to that club can thank Skip for being the way he was. I’m sure many of us still hold on to something from him; at least, I know I do.
When it came to the potential sale of the property, by London Youth (LY), the federation of clubs, my firm, Dandor, knew a lot of potential buyers. I could have forward put any one of them, but it wouldn’t have been a good strategy. I had to propose somebody with experience of the area and had all the attributes that would put us in a winning position.
As a result, LY chose my client, developer East Eight, from all the contenders that were interested in making an offer. The final price was £2.8 million.
So we have to celebrate Dandor-style. On Saturday 25 March 2017 I shall bring Dalston to a standstill as I did central London after a previous big sale. Now Hackney will get a taste of Dandor when I hold a Batman v Joker event to let people know how well we represent them when it comes to selling or sourcing properties.
That’s the business side. The other side is that I can use the event to inspire local youngsters to think entrepreneurially, to be leaders, not followers.
* The Batman-Joker event is due to be held in Kingsland High Street Dalston, from 1.30pm to 2pm. Then the Dandor team heads for the club, 101 Dalston Lane E8 1NH, for music, confetti and photographs — Dandor is offering a £250 prize for the picture of the day.
* Backstory: Hackney youth club winning its fight to stay in Dalston; Flats future for controversial Dalston club; Property dealing: how and how not to do it; Harlem Renaissance Man; Clapton café broke barriers for black writers
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