THEY say footballers are the new aristocracy.
So perhaps it is no surprise that several have snapped up luxury apartments in Blackpool's stately Miners' Home.
Manchester City striker Robbie Fowler – Britain's richest footballer – has added a 450,000 penthouse suite in the former convalescent home to his property porfolio while England skipper David Beckham is also rumoured to be a potential buyer.
Crystal Palace and ex-Preston striker Jonathan Macken, young Manchester United starlet Madds Timm and former United player Lee Sharpe are all said to have treated themselves to sumptuous homes in the 1930s Grade II listed building on Queens Promenade.
According to Lee Flaherty, a director of Blackpool-based Turnkey Management Independent Property Services, which has overseen the sales, players have shelled out up to 500,000 and are not just buy-to-let investors.
He said: "They have had interior designers in and these are people who charge 9,000 just for a consultation so whether they intend to live in the apartments just when they visit Blackpool or not I don't know, but they are not buying them to rent out.
"It's no surprise really that they are interested in these apartments. The building is spectacular with rooms that have 19ft high ceilings and oak Victorian floors. It's breath-taking when you go in.
"Some apartments have 11 front-facing windows with some 9ft 6in high. And the beauty of the building is that there are no two apartments the same. Security is also excellent and there is underground car parking."
Macken is said to have bought a 450,000 apartment, while Timm is reported to have spent 500,000.
Madrid-based Beckham, who is no stranger to Blackpool having visited the resort in the past to purchase a TVR sports car, is said to have insisted on viewing his potential property late at night, but has yet to be persuaded to sign up for one.
The Miners' Home, now officially called Admiral Point, has been developed into 47 self-contained apartments, along with 112 apartments and houses in two and three-storey blocks, by housebuilder Persimmon Homes.
It inherited the project after taking over former company Beazer Homes, which paid around 1.75m for the building in November 2000.