What brings so many Spurs and Arsenal players to Hampstead?
PUBLISHED: 20:06 06 November 2015 | UPDATED: 10:57 11 November 2015
Olivier Giroud and Hugo Lloris aren’t the only footballing rivals to abide by the old adage of keeping your friends close but your enemies closer. The streets in Hampstead and its surrounds are heaving with, mostly European football stars who may share a national team but within the Premier League are not on speaking terms.
Footballers with Hampstead pads
Patrick Vieira bought a £3 million house near Hampstead Heath in 2001 and has had widely reported planning battles over it
Cesc Fabregas may no longer play for Arsenal, but he still reportedly owns property near Hampstead Heath
Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina, whose Hampstead Garden Suburb home was burgled recently
DeAndre Yedlin may be on loan to Sunderland from Tottenham Hotspur at the moment, but he has spoken in the past about his fondness for Hampstead
Emmanuel Adebayor has played for both Spurs and Arsenal in the past, so it's no surprise that he has roots in the area
Former Arsenal player Fredrik Ljunberg has moved within north London
Gael Clichy transferred to Man City in the same year as Nasri but retained a foothold in the Village
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris may be facing off Arsenal striker on the pitch, but the French national team mates are such good friends, they even rent flats in the same development
Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertongen (top) is part of Spurs' Belgian contingent encroaching on traditional French, Gunners territory
Laurent Koscielny is rumoured to have bought a property that his Arsenal teammate Giroud had been eyeing up
Mesut Özil moved to a rented property in the Kenwood area when he transferred to Arsenal in 2013
Tottenham Hotspur's Mousa Dembele is another Belgian reported to live in Hampstead
Belgian Nacer Chadli of Tottenham calls many compatriots neighbours in north London
Arsenal's Per Mertesacker has been so bowled over by English gardens that he and his wife have said they would consider staying in London, even after the German player retires from football
Per Mertesacker, Arsenal
Former Arsenal and France player Robert Pires is a fan of Belsize Park and has remained living in different properties in the neighbourhood for many years
Say Thierry Henry and Hampstead in the same breath and 40ft fishtanks spring to mind. The player turned pundit has be loyal to the area since 2001. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA
Samir Nasri may have transferred to Man City in 2011 but he still owns property in the 'Crofts'
Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld, another Belgian in Hampstead
Marthieu Debuchy and countryman Oliver Giroud live in Temple Fortune and near Kenwood respectively. Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Ahead of the north London derby, we ask what draws these players to the area and find out who lives there
For the French players there’s an instant community in place and Arsenal and Hampstead have a well-established French connection since Henry and Vieira bought in the area back in 2001, retaining their footholds through transfers and retirement.
The Gallic contingent are rapidly being caught up with by members of the Belgian national team, many of whom play for Spurs. However, when it comes to relocating country, as the close quarters of Giroud and Lloris shows, sometimes national allegiances are stronger than those in the Premier Leage.
Jan Vertongen, who lives in Belsize Park, has acknowledged the cross-team prevalence of footballers in the streets of Hampstead. Speaking in 2013 he said: “It’s funny. A lot of players live there [in Hampstead] so sometimes you see them. But we live in peace.”
Players often don’t sell their Hampstead houses even after they transfer to clubs out of London or retire. The area’s appeal for WAGs should not be underestimated in this respect. Hampstead is also hugely child-friendly, with excellent schools catering for footballers’ children.
Robert Kramer of Glentree Estates, who has dealt with many re-locating footballers over the years, explains: “It’s equidistant between their training ground and the stadium. They like the proximity to London and the Heath.
“A lot of them like Hampstead because it’s very cosmopolitan and several of them have kids so they love the excellent schools in the area. For the older ones it’s always the schools.”
James Morton of Benham & Reeves agrees: “If they’ve got a young family then, like any other wealthy family, they’re going to be attracted by the excellent schools.”
Safe and sound
Another major draw to the area is the private security on many of the streets, a huge plus to players who are not only wealthy, but can be the objects of obsessive attention from football fans.
Morton explains: “It’s a safe and discrete area. In some cases there are guards at the top of the road like on Courtenay and Compton Avenues, and on West Heath Road there are also gates and private security. At the Mount Vernon development, where some of the Spice Girls had penthouses there are gates on the front, underground parking and a leisure centre.
“Not only do they not want to be burgled – and clever burglars do keep an eye out for away fixtures – but obviously there’s the potential for some weird stalker.”
And while many players still rent, despite their huge salaries, they often get a taste for the area and end up buying and staying put.
As Kramer says: “A lot of the old guard still live round here, even when they’ve retired. They stay so they obviously like it.”
Perhaps proof that a little neighbourhood rivalry can be more enjoyable when it’s about more than merely keeping up with the Joneses.
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