Here’s the first in a series of regular articles where we talk to former Premier League footballer ANDY WILKINSON.
Andy, Staffordshire born and bred, is no stranger to supporters of Stoke City and also to many on the property circuit, too.
In the next few months we talk to Andy about his career; how he got into property; advice to footballers on investing in property; his own property company - No.28 Properties; his past, current and future property development work; and about his work alongside us here at Rockett Home Rentals.
Setting the foundations: The Andy Wilkinson story
Remember the days when top flight professional footballers used to run pubs or a newsagents, or had ‘normal’ day-to-day jobs when they retired? I’m showing my age now, I know. But since 1992, with the advent of the Premier League and all its riches, the footballing financial goalposts really have moved!
We now have players on a weekly wage that is bigger than some countries’ GDP’s; outlandish sports cars filling the garages of their several homes around the world; their torsos covered in garish yet obscenely expensive designer clothes; watches akin to Big Ben hanging off their wrists……a whole new culture of the football celebrity was born around twenty six years ago.
Yet Andy Wilkinson remains refreshingly old skool when it comes to all of this. He proudly wore the red and white stripes of Stoke City on almost 200 occasions, including 123 appearances in the Premier League. Wilkinson was also - an integral member of the 2007/08 Stoke City team promoted to the Premier League; played in a 5-0 FA Cup Semi Final wins at Wembley and the subsequent FA Cup Final, and also in the Europa League, too. Some career, that.
But his career and life has very different goals now…..and we chatted about all of this and more at the beautiful tea rooms at the iconic World of Wedgwood in Barlaston.
Born in 1984, Andy Wilkinson was raised in Stone, a bustling market town just to the south of Stoke-on-Trent. After making his professional debut in 2001, he not long after bought his first property. And property is something that Wilkinson has always had close to his heart, and something that we’ll go into detail with over the next few months.
One thing is for sure: Andy Wilkinson’s foresight and providence in having more than a passing interest in property development was much-needed after the events of February 14th 2015.
On that afternoon, he was hit in the temple area of his head by the ball during The Potters 4-1 defeat in the FA Cup at Blackburn Rovers. For the 5500 Stoke fans there that day - and I was one of them - the result was put firmly into perspective as it later became clear that Wilkinson had suffered a serious injury and would be out for some time.
That perspective reached new heights a year later, when the player that Stoke City fans adored as one of their own, had to announce his retirement from the game as a player at the age of just 31.
The ex-Stoke City player states, “In the weeks immediately after the Blackburn game, I knew something wasn’t right and after visiting various specialists I was told that it could be a career ending injury. It was.
During and since the injury I had a lot of people to be grateful and thankful to, such as Stoke City and their medical team, various consultants and specialists all over the world, my agent, my financial advisor, and obviously my family.”
Luckily, ‘Wilko’ had another string to his bow: So, Andy Wilkinson the footballing warrior was now Andy Wilkinson the property developer. And it’s from the support and the advice of others and the sensible old-head-on-young-shoulders that Andy possessed, which helped him to carve out a new, successful career - in property!
He takes up the story…..
“Well, I always had an eye on the future. As stated before, I’ve had some great advice off a number of people especially after I lost some money investing in a nightclub at a young age, ha ha – even though I did meet my wife Emma there, so it wasn’t all bad! Ever since then I’ve been more sensible with regards to finances.
I’ve always had a passion for houses and the design and building of them and that is something I am now not only looking to do, but actually doing.”
Andy has owned a property development company for a number of years. It’s called No.28 Properties – named after the shirt he wore with pride for so long at Stoke City.
Wilkinson lives in a stunning house set in the Staffordshire countryside - one that he designed himself - and it’s a testament to his fine eye for detail and planning. From visits I’ve made there, what I think sets it apart from many others is that it is a home, not just a house. It’s not only very lovely, it’s very liveable too, which is pretty handy when you have three young children growing up quickly and a wife whose photography business is also burgeoning.
“Yes, I’m a massive family man”, states Wilkinson, before adding “and whilst No.28 Properties is just me on my own, I have help off the wife and my father, too. They’re great extra sets of eyes and ears on projects. And I’ve got some great people who I contract work out to. We’ve been going for around four years now and look to sell properties or let out to professional people”.
Andy Wilkinson admits that he has a really good eye for design, and works with architects and other contractors to create the finished product. Indeed, as he says himself, “If I could actually do the drawings myself I’d save an absolute fortune!!!” And whilst most projects are within Staffordshire/Cheshire, there are others further afield too, and more projects are in the pipeline.
As well as these ongoing projects - which we will come onto in future articles on this website - Andy is looking at taking on more projects - building, designing and developing properties and continuing to build his successful career.
If you want to know more about how Andy and No.28 Properties can solve your property problems please contact the company on Twitter @no28properties or Insta no.28properties
NEXT MONTH - ANDY TALKS ABOUT WHY PROPERTY IS A SUPERB INVESTMENT FOR PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLERS AND OTHER HIGH-NET-WORTH INDIVIDUALS - don't miss it!