Jets, trainers & birthday cakes - the life of a footballer's concierge

By Julien LaurensFrench football writer
Juventus's Weston McKennie, Wales and Schalke midfielder Rabbi Matondo, Emmanuel Ntow and Ward Struwer.
Emmanuel Ntow (left) and Ward Struwer (second right) have worked for Juventus' Weston McKennie and Schalke's Rabbi Matondo

Imagine receiving a WhatsApp message from Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic, on a Friday evening asking you to find him a flight from Belgrade to Ibiza for the following day for him and some friends.

That's the daily routine for three friends who run a concierge service for footballers. They sorted out the private jet for Vlahovic and his mates and everything else they wanted.

Emmanuel Ntow, 26, Mitchell Spel, 24 and Ward Struwer, 23, are the founder members of football lifestyle management group AmsLux - one of a number of companies set up to cater for football's stars.

Their motto? Provide everything and anything their clients want or need at any time.

A watch for £125,000? Done. A handbag worth £20,000? No problem. A pair of the new eagerly awaited trainers which will sell for about £10,000? Ordered. For their players, they are available pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It all started three years ago in Amsterdam, where they still live. At the time, Ntow was working in a call centre while Spel and Struwer were personal trainers.

However, they shared a love for football, fashion, designer clothes and, more importantly, they knew where and how to find rare trainers or a piece of clothing.

They contacted Turkish winger Bilal Basacikoglu on Instagram. During his time at Feyenoord In the Netherlands, he was well known for fashion style and they made a deal with him; they sent him a pair of trainers in exchange for some publicity via a post on his Instagram account.

He agreed and they have never looked back since. More players contacted them with Renato Tapia, the Peruvian midfielder from Feyenoord at the time and now at Celta Vigo, the next one to work with them. The template was the same: the trainers he wanted against a post on social media.

Their clients have since included Italy internationals Alessandro Bastoni, Federico Dimarco and Federico Chiesa, Leicester's French defender Wesley Fofana, and Netherlands internationals Myron Boadu, Pablo Rosario and Ryan Gravenberch, just to name a few.

There are also some of the players' girlfriends or wives who also call upon their services like Zoe Cristofoli, wife of AC Milan's Theo Hernandeze or Kira Winona, Benfica's David Neres' wife. They now have about 100 players all around the world as customers.

And from just finding trainers and being personal shoppers and stylists, they realised there was much more they could provide.

Orkun Kokcu
Orkun Kokcu, Turkish international and Feyenoord player, is one of AmsLux's clients

"We offered the players three things: time, knowledge and trust. They save time by letting us find anything they want," said Ntow. "We provide expert advice on the latest fashion trends, what to wear, what is cool and they know they can trust us.

"They started asking us for more - holidays, watches, private jets, parties and so on. We never thought it would grow so quickly but the pandemic helped us because the players could not go shopping physically any more, yet we could still deliver anything to them."

One of their biggest worries was the first holiday they arranged for a client, a trip to the Maldives.

"We knew there was a market for us to provide luxurious holidays for the players somewhere other than Ibiza or Miami, but it was still unknown to us. We organised something great but we were praying for everything to go well and it did," Ntow continued.

"We just want our players to focus only on the pitch and so we take charge of everything else. For example, we organised our first birthday party for one of the players' sons. We found the venue, the cake, all the decoration, the theme. It was perfect. And then we had more requests to organise more of them."

They have now left their former jobs and have a team around them as more players join. Of course, working with players bring its share of interesting stories.

Recently, they were asked at the last minute to find a yacht charter for the day in the Caribbean. They also had a request this summer for a private jet but it was not for a player - it was to transport a group to a party he was organising.

"One player asked us to send some flowers for Valentine's Day," said Ntow. "We said no problems and told him to send the address. He got back to us with four different girls' names and addresses in four different countries. He was very happy with the flowers we sent and so were the women."

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