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How an autograph hunter 'went from £10,000 in debt to becoming a millionaire' thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Adnan Riaz

| Last updated 

How an autograph hunter 'went from £10,000 in debt to becoming a millionaire' thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

An autograph hunter revealed how he went from £10,000 in debt to building his memorabilia business after securing signed collectables from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Peter Johnson established the business Firma Stella in a bid to offer fans the opportunity to snap up a range of different memorabilia from sports stars.

From pictures to signed shirts to other artefacts, the Firma Stella chief now has 12 people working for him and has ascended himself to millionaire status.

Johnson claimed that his business, which is based in Worcestershire, would hunt down different sports memorabilia from around the world.



And his bid to “chase stuff” from all kinds of sports radically transformed his life, helping Johnson to clear his £10k debt and building an ‘empire’ in the process.

“Instead of a paper round as a teenager, I would chase autographs and collect stuff to sell it,” Johnson told The Daily Mail.

“I loved the buzz of selling them for a lot of money. I started travelling around the world to chase stuff.


“I went to the F1 in Asia, the Rugby World Cup in Japan, Manchester City pre-season tours.

“Then I decided, ‘Let’s make this an empire.’ I was in £10,000 debt… Now I’m a millionaire. All with four and a half years’ work.”

Johnson recalled his shock encounter of crossing paths with Ronaldo as part of his business venture, but he also opened up on the “big risk” he took to secure signed items from Messi.


“Real Madrid were playing Manchester United and I found out about Ronaldo’s flight,” he said.

“I followed their bus from the airport to a hotel and quickly booked a room. I knew they were staying on the top floor and their team room was on the second floor.

“I saw the lift was on the top floor so I waited for it to come down. No joke, the first lift that opened… imagine it, Ronaldo is just standing there!

“So, I jumped in and he was like, ‘What the hell?’ He signed some stuff and we went from there.


“With Messi, I had to take a big risk. I booked a ‘fake flight’ from Barcelona just to get into the terminal. All of a sudden, the team just walked through security -- Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez… they signed all our stuff.”


Featured Image Credit: Peter Johnson's Instagram/Alamy

Topics: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Football

Adnan Riaz
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