Special report: Footballer home truths
We take a look at the prime locations Britain's footballers have spent their huge salaries on which, collectively, are worth £77.6 million.
Who: Wayne Rooney
What: A neo-Georgian mega mansion in Cheshire
How much: £11.3 million
England’s great hope Wayne Rooney has taken (almost) as much sniping off the field over his new mansion as he has for his performance on the pitch during the World Cup.
Manchester United’s Wayne and wife Coleen pulled down a 1930s house in the Footballer Wives’ territory of Prestbury, Cheshire in 2004, to replace it with a six en-suite-bedroom mansion with neo-Georgian pillars.
The Rooneys have spent a fortune on the £4 million property. In Wayne’s World, you get a cinema, sweeping staircase, sports stadium, and Grecian-esque statues in the impeccably landscaped garden. The Rooneys spent £50,000 alone just on garden turf. And not letting the inside be outdone, Coleen has installed a white leather sofa she customised with Swarovski crystals at a cost of £10,000.
The west wing (without American president) has a giant indoor pool with rather a lot of pink on the walls, changing room and Jacuzzi. There’s also a triple garage to house all the cars and a £30,000 CCTV system to deter peeping Toms.
There are overseas properties for the golden couple too: a £320,000 apartment in Port Charlotte, Florida, and a £5 million villa on the Royal Westmoreland estate in Barbados.
Wayne has also bought a £400,000 home on a private estate in West Derby for his parents. And the in-laws, Tony and Colette, live in the £1 million Formby house that was Wayne and Coleen’s first home together.
Who: Emile Heskey
What: Seven-bedroom house in Cheshire
How much: £1.65 million
Security is a big deal for footballers. Two years ago, robbers threatened Emile Heskey’s fiancé Chantelle Tagoe at knifepoint and ransacked the couple’s £1.65 million seven-bedroom house in the Cheshire village of Hale.
Most players already live behind high walls and intercom-controlled gates in developments patrolled by private security firms. But a spate of break-ins has led to some considerably tougher measures, such as panic rooms.
Heskey, who now plays for Aston Villa, lives very privately with his fiancé and two small children in their four-storey Edwardian mansion with carriage driveway and extensive grounds.
“Emile’s very quiet, he doesn’t really like the attention, so we’re not always out at parties getting photographed,” says Chantelle.
Who: Jermaine Defoe
What: A large new-build mansion in Hertfordshire
How much: £4-5 million
England and Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe lives in sporting star splendour in a large new red-brick home tucked behind metal gates in Hertfordshire.
“His place is a classic must-have footballer’s pad,” says a local estate agent from Hatfield.
The agent declines to give many details of the house: “If I did, then I’d have to kill you,” he says, referring to how important confidentiality is in the property game.
Yet, he does estimate Jermain’s grand residence to be worth approximately £4-£5 million.
Jermaine reportedly got into a spot of bother when he held a party last year that had neighbours complaining it sounded like a “rock concert”.
With music blaring past midnight and partygoers being sick on the grass verge next to his plush pad, the police were called. They asked that the music be turned down twice and an environmental officer also was called.
Who: Peter Crouch
What: Large mansion in Surrey
How much: £5-6 million
Beanpole striker Peter Crouch has had a special seven-foot bed made for the bedroom of their mansion in Weybridge, Surrey, to stop his feet poking out.
The Tottenham star has never been able to sleep with his six-foot and seven-inch frame completely covered, girlfriend Abbey Clancy has revealed.
“It will be the first time Peter will be able to sleep with his feet not hanging out the end,” says Abbey. England ace Peter, 29, and Abbey moved into their Surrey pad two years ago.
“He also bought a red Ferrari to go in the drive,” says a Surrey estate agent.
Who: Shaun Wright-Phillips
What: House sharing in Warrington
How much: Not known
Manchester City’s Shaun Wright-Phillips, stepson of former Arsenal and England international Ian Wright, shares a house with his younger brother Bradley.
Unlike many of his colleagues, he lives in a quiet cul-de-sac in the uncomplicated Cheshire town of Warrington.
Shaun, 28, and Bradley are rumoured to share the cooking and drive to training together every morning in Bradley’s Ford Focus. Not the vehicle of choice for most flashy Premiership luminaries.
Yet, Shaun does keep a couple of more expensive cars in the garage at home.
Who: James Milner
What: House hunting for a plot to build on outside Birmingham
How much: Not known
A notoriously private chap and a virtual teetotaller, James Milner, 24, has come a long way since his early days in Horsforth on the outskirts of Leeds.
Having played for Leeds and Newcastle United, James is now at Aston Villa – but probably not for long.
Manchester City’s recent £20 million bid for him was turned down by Villa. It is believed they will up the amount offered, or another club will make a better offer soon.
Milner was brought up in a pebble-dashed semi close to Horsfield Cricket Club but at the moment it is rumoured he is searching for a large secluded house with land in the countryside not far from Birmingham.
Who: Aaron Lennon
What: Selling up his faux-Elizabethan Essex mansion
How much: £2.6 million
Some favour collecting souvenir football strips, others the dreaded vuvuzela horn.
But for those wanting a property-related reminder of the World Cup, you can buy midfielder Aaron Lennon’s Essex house that is on the market with Abbotts in Loughton although hurry - he's had an offer and may accept it, we are told.
A property search agent, who wants to remain anonymous, describes Lennon's £2.6 million four-bedroom detached Epping house set behind electric gates as “a large family home with all the toys. There’s everything from a cinema room with red curtains and black leather seats to a gym, pool house, games room and guest house.”
He adds, “There’s even a white grand piano in the reception room.”
Who: Frank Lampard
What: A Chelsea townhouse and a Surrey mansion
How much: £13.5 milion (two properties)
It was once an easy commute for Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard. His main home, a three-storey west London townhouse, was just around the corner from his club.
Lampard, 32 and with 80 caps for England, had to put the £8.5 million six-bedroom six-bathroom Chelsea townhouse on the market after splitting with fiancé Elen Rives.
The couple spent an additional £1 million renovating the house that was just a stone’s throw from Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground.
Neighbours admired Lampard’s blue Ferrari 599 on the drive, a sports car that befits a major footie star.
Who: Steven Gerrard
What: A Merseyside mansion with an unconventional extension
How much: £3.35 million
England captain and Liverpool star Steven Gerrard lives with his 27-year-old wife Alex Curran in a £3 million mansion in the Merseyside suburb of Freshfield.
Unfortunately, not all the locals are thrilled with Steven’s new gym, calling it an “Asda in the middle of a beauty spot”.
The two-storey £350,000 glass and copper building is so big it has a different postcode from the 30-year-old midfielder’s house.
The gym has been constructed on the site of a former bungalow next to the footballer’s house, but some neighbours claim the only flat-roofed structure in the area is out of keeping with everything else.
Steven is one of eight hit by robbers preying on the city’s Premiership club players. While he was playing in Marseilles, his wife was watching him on TV with a friend when four masked men burst in, escaping with thousands of pounds worth of watches and jewellery.
Who: Joe Cole
What: A west London house
How much: £5 million
Midfielder Joe Cole’s plucky fitness instructor wife Carly defied Capello’s WAG-ban to fly to South Africa with baby Ruby to stand by her man.
Controversy surrounds Joe too, with rumours of him falling out with Chelsea – apparently he was demanding parity with the club’s top earners, which was never going to happen, say sport pundits. He has now left the club.
Joe might find himself at Manchester United from this summer, which begs the question: will he sell his west London home thought to be worth around £5 million?
It is believed Joe shows his softer metro-sexual side in his professional-grade kitchen knocking up delicate brown shrimp and courgette flower frittatas.
Not all of Joe’s associations with property have a happy ending, however. He agreed to promote Thailand's Hua Hin Country Club, but the luxury complex was never built, leaving investors £1 million down - and furious.
Who: Michael Carrick
What: A Cheshire mansion near Rooney's place
How much: £3 million
Midfielder Michael Carrick started off his independent life in a rented house in Romford, Essex after signing with his first club West Ham.
Having grown up in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, pundits say that although Michael, now 28, speaks fondly of his time at West Ham, he’s probably happy to have headed back up north.
Now at Manchester United and in a highly desirable Prestbury home rumoured to be worth £3 million-plus, Michael is one of the footballing smart-set in Cheshire.
His red-brick mansion hides behind a large solid wooden gate and trees that shield the driveway from prying eyes.
Who: Gareth Barry
What: A modest house in Cheshire's footballer belt
How much: £3.5 million
Originally from the gentile south coast resort of Hastings in East Sussex, 29-year-old Gareth Barry signed with Manchester City last year in a five-year, £12 million deal.
Married to his childhood sweetheart Louise since 2007, Gareth has two children, Freya and Oscar.
After renting a house in Cheshire, it is believed the family now live in the county’s footballer belt not far from Alderley Edge. The Barrys’ property is thought to be worth about £3.5 million, according to a local estate agent.
Who: Stephen Warnock
What: He is house hunting in and around Birmingham at the moment
How much: Not known
Funnyman Stephen Warnock – well-known for his Scouser sense of humour – was a surprise late addition to the England squad.
The 28-year-old former Liverpool full-back now plays for Aston Villa.
“He keeps himself to himself and shies away from the limelight,” according to a local estate agent near Villa’s training ground.
The agent adds that Stephen spends time with his family, rather than attending celebrity launches and parties.
Who: Matthew Upson
What: A relatively modest detached house in Essex and a two-bed apartment in Birmingham
How much: £1.86 million (two properties)
Transferred from Birmingham City to West Ham in 2007 for a £6 million fee, the defender from Diss, Norfolk, doesn’t fit the stereotype of a party-mad star footballer.
He lives in a five-bedroom detached house in Essex with girlfriend Elena and their son.
“It is a new-build, Georgian-style property with a bit of land,” he says. “It cost £1.5 million at the end of 2007.”
Matthew also owns a two-bedroom apartment in central Birmingham. He bought it for £360,000, but reckons it is now worth a bit less.
Who: John Terry
What: An ideal and large footballer's retreat in Surrey
How much: £3 million
The captain that never was after his alleged affair with team-mate Wayne Bridge’s model girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel, Terry has also had to apologise for his criticism of Capello’s coaching methods.
Luckily, his life runs smoother when it comes to property. Terry lives in a prestigious £3 million mansion on an exclusive Oxshott, Surrey, estate with 28-year-old wife Toni, his childhood sweetheart, and their three-year-old twins.
He tussled with planners to provide Wychwood House with those footballer necessities: indoor pool, gym, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, changing facilities and a staff flat.
The 29-year-old defender keeps it in the family with mum and mum-in-law living on the same road. Other neighbours include West Ham’s Scott Parker and Chelsea team-mate Ashley Cole and former team-mate Joe Cole.
Who: Ledley King
What: A modest Chelsea apartment
How much: £400,000-£500,000
Tottenham defender Ledley King is teased by team mates for his choice of home in London.
The 29-year-old, nicknamed ‘Deadly Ledley’ or ‘Super Leds’, has bought a flat in Chelsea, west London.
But due to its small size, it is known by his mates as the ‘postage stamp’.
However, even a home on the miniature side can cost a lot in trendy Chelsea. An estate agent in the area estimates even a tiny studio flat can still easily be worth half-a-million pounds in this popular sector just off the King’s Road.
What: Glen Johnson
What: A relatively modest mansion on Merseyside
How much: £1 million
The 25-year-old right-back arrived in Liverpool last year, a city he’s fallen for in a big way, if his press conference comments are anything to go by.
Brought up in London, Glen says, “Obviously I’m from the capital, I grew up there and I love the place.
“At the same time, having moved here I love it. I don’t see why that will change.”
Who: Michael Dawson
What: He is house hunting in London and Yorkshire at the moment
How much: Not known
The 26-year-old Tottenham Hotspur defender was said to be gutted when he didn’t make Capello’s World Cup squad.
But after Rio Ferdinand pulled out with a leg injury, Michael was whisked off to South Africa to beef up the team.
Having just won Tottenham’s player of the year award, Michael looks set to go on to win many more caps.
On the property front, things are less certain.
It is rumoured he’s been hunting for a north London property for himself and his wife Anna.
And a North Yorkshire estate agent reckons Michael might well buy something close to his childhood home in Leyburn too.
“His whole family are football mad – all three of the boys went on to play professionally, which Michael’s dad was on Man U’s books until he broke his leg as a teenager. So, I bet he’ll want a big garden so they can all kick a ball about when they meet up.”
Who: Ashley Cole
What: Sorting his property portfolio out after 'the split' with his Mrs
How much: £12.3 (three properties)
Forget Ashley’s defending on the pitch. All everyone wants to know is what’s going to happen to the aptly named Hurtmore House in Oxshott, Surrey.
After splitting with Girls Aloud singer/X-Factor judge wife Cheryl, will the mansion bought by the couple for £3.55 million in 2007 go on the market? If so, it is worth about £4 million, although one property expert suggests they might not get as much as they think in the current market.
Maybe it was a bad omen when burglars attempted to break in, but fled once they realised the footballer and his wife were at home.
Rumours are that Cheryl is hunting for new homes in Los Angeles and Highgate.
Estate agent Chris Underhill of Prickett & Ellis Underhill says, “I've heard Cheryl is looking to buy in Highgate, but I haven't been approached by anyone directly.
“Celebrities like Highgate, because they can live in relative anonymity without being hassled. George Michael and a few EastEnder stars live here and Clive Owen is often in Costa Coffee on the High Street.”
Who: Jamie Carragher
What: A large suburban house in Liverpool
How much: £1 million
Just like swapping a veteran player for a newcomer, defender Jamie Carragher bought a £400,000 house, tore it down and replaced it with his modern dream home.
The council didn’t at first welcome the new £1 million redbrick mansion in Liverpool’s leafy suburb of Blundellsands. Planners said the mini-stately with seven bedrooms, garage and games room that Carragher shares with wife Nicola and children James and Mia was “out of character” with the conservation area. But new plans got the go-ahead in the end.
A local agent says Blundellsands is the new sizzling “must-be-seen” place for Premiership footballers, overtaking Formby.
“It’s quite ritzy now. Some residents complain about footballers settling here, but aren’t unhappy about them pushing up the values of their homes,” he points out.
Who: Joe Hart
What: Renting while he house hunts in Cheshire
How much: Not known
Young goalie Joe Hart was born in Shrewsbury and he played for Shrewsbury Town, Tranmere Rovers and Blackpool before joining current team Manchester City.
It is rumoured that the 23-year-old is hunting for a home not far from Man City’s training ground. Meanwhile, he’s renting until the right property comes up.
A property finder, who asks not to be identified, says the fashionable area for a cash-rich footballer to hunt for a five-star home is Alderley Edge. It is said to have the most millionaires per square mile in the UK and Oddbins sells more than 150 bottles of Champagne there a week.
“Many of the footballers knock down an £800,000 property and stick up a new one worth over £2 million,” he says.
Who: Robert Green
What: An apartment in London's Isle of Dogs
How much: £1.5 million
Unlucky in love and football, you have to feel for ‘Tainted Glove’ Robert Green, as the Americans are calling England’s goalie.
Letting in a goal to give the Yanks a World Cup equaliser, Green also split up with Canadian lingerie model Elizabeth Minett just before the squad flew out to South Africa.
West Ham’s Green shared a stunning Thames-view flat in East London’s Isle of Dogs with glamorous 23-year-old Minett who he met in Toronto, until she moved out a few months ago.
Green’s parents Steve and Jackie live in a £500,000 detached home in Woking, Surrey, and Robert grew up in the village of Horsell near Woking and considers this area his family base.
Who: David James
What: A luxury mansion in Devon
How much: £1.5 million
England and Portsmouth goalie David James has appeared in more games (548) than any other player and has more clean sheets (166) than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League.
However, in true footie-star style, he’s been better known in the press for his troubled love life.
Last year, it was alleged that he dated Hollyoaks actress Claire Cooper, who was seen entering and exiting his Southampton pad.
After his supposed fling with Claire, it is believed he returned to his partner of six years, Amanda Salmon.
Branded a love rat when he left wife Tanya for Amanda in 2003, history appeared to be repeating itself when Amanda left the couple's £1.5 million mansion in Chudleigh, south Devon.
But David insists Claire is just a friend and nothing was going on.
At a glance: the squadWayne Rooney
- The Football Association
- Wayne Rooney Wikipedia page
- Daily Mail: Footballers' falling property fortunes
The fashionable area for a cash-rich footballer to hunt for a five-star home is Alderley Edge. It is said to have the most millionaires per square mile in the UK and Oddbins sells more than 150 bottles of Champagne there a week.