Seventeen-year-old Sam Morgan is unlike most teenagers studying for exams. While other kids work out-of-school hours sitting on checkouts at grocery stores or delivering pizzas, Morgan is supplying elite players with designer clothes and trainers.
"I have had players spend up to £22,000 at once," Morgan explains as if it's the most normal thing in the world.
Last year, he started the Instagram page SM creps and made his first sale to new Arsenal signing Cohen Bramall.
Twelve months later, he has receipts from more than 300 top-level players, including Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy and Borussia Dortmund's Michy Batshuayi, who all turn to him for everything from Givenchy hoodies to Alexander McQueen sneakers.
"People come to me because I can get them stuff that isn’t available in shops, usually because the items are rare, limited or sold out. But shopping with me is also hassle-free. They can text me what they are looking for, and I'll find it through my contacts and deliver to them."
Balenciaga, Fear of God, Amiri and Gucci are in-demand brands that Morgan, an Arsenal fan, uses through a network of contacts across Europe to source stock, with certain stores and resellers agreeing to special deals.
His astonishing success has not come about by luck. He has worked hard, quietly plotting at home in London.
He's always had a mind for business. When Morgan was 11, a school friend brought back sweets from America and started selling them. Morgan suggested he take half of the stock, help distribute around the entire playground during break and then take a cut of the profits. He made £15 that afternoon.
His passion for fashion kicked in at 13, when he started to buy and sell pieces online to fill his own wardrobe. It was that interest that escalated to his current situation. His Insta page has grown to towards an impressive 22,000 followers over the past year. He made his breakthrough while in bed at night, wondering how he could capture a niche market.
"I was in bed and sent a DM to Cohen Bramall, who had just joined Arsenal," says the teenager, who is dressed in a white Fendi hoodie, black jeans and Gucci Snake Ace sneakers when we visit his secret London storeroom.
"I could see he might be interested in the type of stuff I was selling, so I just sent a message. I met him four days later, and he bought a pair of Yeezys. The following week, his teammate Chris Willock contacted me to see what else I had available—and pretty quickly I had the entire Arsenal youth team buying from me. It was pretty crazy how quickly it escalated."
Now he has half the Arsenal first team buying from him.
Like anything in the world of football, word quickly got around that Morgan could get items that were out of reach to other sellers.
He began to receive screenshots of specific items that were being worn by rappers or other high-profile figures and would quickly source and deliver the goods at reasonable prices.
"Like anyone else, footballers want value for money," Morgan explains. "A pair of shoes that retail for £1,200—I might be able to sell to them slightly cheaper because of the deals I get from distributors. Players never get ripped off by me; I think that is very important in the process of building a good reputation. There is one player who likes to knock me down by £15 every time he buys, which makes me laugh."
Morgan is studying economics, psychology and maths A-Levels and admits his teachers do become frustrated with his being on his phone at times during lessons. But he is also aware that his school studies remain important. His family has driven that message into him.
"It's pretty hard to ignore texts from Premier League footballers while you are revising. And it's difficult not to let the business stuff take over because it is going well and it is important. But sometimes the schoolwork does have to take priority. I move my phone away from me during revision so that I can't be distracted."
But Morgan receives hundreds of messages every day and finds it so hard to keep up he will soon have to start employing people to help him.
Footballers contact him through messages on his Instagram page or via WhatsApp, where he has a daily broadcast list to ping out items that are new in stock.
"The Dior Homme sneakers are the most sought-after shoe right now," he says, spinning a pair of the £1,100 kicks through his hands. "I was able to get a pair in every size, but they're not available to the public yet. I knew they would sell quickly."
Chelsea midfield players Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ross Barkley were among the lucky buyers to get a pair. The Dior Homme sold out in an hour.
We asked Morgan to text Barkley, asking why he likes his services. The player replies quickly: "Things I like, I usually send onto Sam, and he provides them within a couple of days. It's a very fast, great service. I'm not sure on the amount of trainers I have, but I have a very big collection."
While we are with Morgan, he receives an order from Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette on his phone, and a courier arrives with Alexander McQueen oversized sneakers in his size an hour later. "I'll drop them off to him at the end of the week," Sam says.
He can't yet drive, so Morgan travels by Uber if a player wants the goods brought to his house. He prefers to do that rather than send a courier—it adds a personal touch, though he does charge a fee. This is serious business, after all.
So who else does he deal with?
Morgan scrolls through his phone, showing all the names that have been messaging him, and then starts to reel off who has bought from him in the past year.
"Benjamin Mendy, Michy Batshuayi, Granit Xhaka, Wilfried Zaha, Mesut Ozil, Tammy Abraham, Trent Alexander-Arnold…" he counts on his fingers. "Kyle Walker, Erik Lamela, Marcos Alonso, Reiss Nelson, the entire England under-21, under-20 and under-19 teams, besides maybe two or three players. Erm, who else?"
You get the picture. It's safe to assume there is no other kid this well-connected to Premier League footballers.
"I know that these people don't let many people into their lives, so I feel very fortunate that so many of them trust me and like buying from me. Some are asking now if I can recommend them items to suit their style," he says. "I have got to know some of the players well enough that we are now friends. One of the Arsenal players even took me to lunch on my birthday. I don't really look at them as stars anymore.
"My friends at school didn't really think this was a thing when I started out, but I stuck at it. I have invested a lot of time in this, and most people that know me realise that.
"The past year has definitely changed my life, and I'm excited about what happens next—I love it."