Lampard signs on the dotted line

HE'S one of football's greats, known the world over for his pin-point passing and predatory prowess in front of goal.But, today it seems Chelsea and England star Frank Lampard is set to complete a shock move to Ipswich - although this transfer has more to do with bricks and mortar than blue and white.

HE'S one of football's greats, known the world over for his pin-point passing and predatory prowess in front of goal.

But, today it seems Chelsea and England star Frank Lampard is set to complete a shock move to Ipswich - although this transfer has more to do with bricks and mortar than blue and white.

For the midfield ace - rumoured to pocket around £90,000 a week at Stamford Bridge - is understood to have dipped into his savings and snapped up several houses in Ravenswood in the south east of the town.

It is believed he has splashed out on up to eight properties on the contemporary estate, which was built by developer Bellway on the site of the old Ipswich Airport.

Lampard, 28, is no stranger to buying Bellway houses.

A source told The Evening Star: “Frank has bought a number of properties in various places including Chelmsford and his native East London.

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“He's very much into the property investment scene, although it's actually Frank Lampard senior (Lampard's father) who does the negotiating and the buying.”

Property development and investment is not an unfamiliar business to the beautiful game's aristocracy.

Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler is one of the wealthiest sportsmen in Britain thanks in large to his extensive buy-to-let property portfolio, which stretches to some 100 homes. He even owns a whole street in the Lancashire town of Oldham.

His reputation is such that supporters at his former club Manchester City used to sing (to the tune of Yellow Submarine) “We all live in a Robbie Fowler house…”

Tom Orford, a director at Savills estate agents in Princes Street, said: “Footballers have a very short life in their professional world and property is historically seen as the best investment.

“There are no real advantages in terms of tax breaks. If that was what he was looking, he would be more sensible to buy abroad.

“But this is a safe investment, one which covers risks.”

A spokesman for Ravenswood Residents' Association said there were a number of investors buying up blocks of property in the estate.

Bellway said it did not wish to comment on individual purchases.

Do you think buying property in Ipswich represents a good investment? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Fast Facts: Frank Lampard

Lampard spent the first six years of his career at West Ham where his father, a former England full-back, was assistant manager.

He joined Chelsea for £11million in 2001.

His first England goal was scored against Croatia in a friendly at Portman Road in 2003.

Lampard enjoyed a superb Euro 2004, scoring three goals and impressing fans and pundits alike.

He is Chelsea's vice captain.

Source: www.thefa.com

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