Devon

The friends selling football boots to the stars

Dani Alves Image copyright Rareboots4u
Image caption The Brazil captain Dani Alves is one player who has bought boots from the entrepreneurs

Two friends who started selling classic football boots from their bedrooms are now supplying some of the world's top players.

Cam Sangster, 19, and Jake Self, 20, from Devon, started the business three years ago using reward money for passing their GCSEs.

They buy classic boots online that are no longer available in shops and sell them for a profit.

Clients include Xavi, Alexander Lacazette, Phil Foden and Mason Mount.

Image copyright Rareboots4u
Image caption Barcelona legend Xavi bought five pairs of the models of boots he used to wear

The pair bought their first pair of classic boots for £100, and managed to sell them to a customer in Australia for £170 via Instagram.

But Mr Sangster, from Newton Abbot said it was a "savage introduction to business" as the customer asked for their money back because the boots split.

Undeterred, the pair found more boots and offered them for sale.

Image copyright Rareboots4eu
Image caption The pair say it was when Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata promoted their business that it really blew up

Mr Sangster said: "We used to say, 'one day hopefully we will supply a professional footballer', genuinely thinking even that might be a bit difficult for us.

"But now we are supplying literally some of the best, most elite footballers in the world and speaking to them on Instagram and WhatsApp every day.

"It's absolutely crazy to think where we were three years ago and where we are now."

Image copyright Rareboots4eu
Image caption Jake Self and Cam Sangster got a signed shirt from their client Jack Wilshire in December

Mr Self, from Paignton, said: "We first got Chelsea player Ethan Ampadu. He's from Exeter and we sort of know him so we sent him a message and a free pair of boots and in return, could he give us a shout out on his Instagram, because he has got a big following.

"He led us on to David Luiz, and he led us on to Alvaro Morata. We have just blown up from him."

Mr Sangster is himself a professional footballer with Plymouth Argyle in League Two while Mr Self is now committed full time to growing the business since finishing college.

Players will pay up to about £600 for a pair, and although some are contractually tied into wearing the latest models in matches, they often prefer to wear the classic styles for training.

The most popular boots they sell are from 1998 to 2007 and include Adidas Predators and Nike Mercurials and CTR 360s.

Image copyright Rareboots4eu
Image caption Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang holding a football boot from the pair

"We think they're not too keen on the latest models and prefer the classic ones, but they can't get them anywhere apart from us," Mr Self said.

Other players buy them for different reasons.

"Xavi bought five pairs of Predators from us. He's only worn one pair but is keeping the rest for memories, to remind him of when he was playing in the World Cup or Champions League finals" added Mr Self.

Image copyright Rareboots4u
Image caption Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic is another client

Some players are given their first pair free or discounted, with an agreement they will promote the business on their own social media, tell their team mates and return to buy more.

They are now supplying dozens of professional clients and have boxes of rare boots filling a lock-up unit, as well as their garages and houses.

There is one player Mr Self has got his sights set on.

"We do want to get the big dogs like Ronaldo," he said.

"I have asked some of the Juventus players to ask him if he is allowed but I don't think Nike will allow him."

But one thing the pair will not divulge is where they source the boots.

"We can't tell anyone that - that's our trade secret," they said.

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