WHEN deciding on a life after football, Sol Campbell thought long and hard about how he wanted to earn his money.
The England legend had money in the bank after earning a fortune from the game, most notably from the bumper four-year £20m contract he got when he moved to Arsenal from bitter rivals Spurs in 2001.
22 Sol Campbell and wife Fiona Barratt are a dream team when it comes to building a property portfolioCredit: Getty – Contributor
22 Together, Campbell and Barratt have built a property empire worth around £50m, including this Northumberland abodeCredit: Sanderson Young / Savills
So, the new manager of Southend United decided he was going to invest in property.
Campbell, now 45, made shrewd buys – building up a property empire worth a staggering £50m through the years.
He also married interior designer Fiona Barratt, and they own a high-end furniture company together.
In truth, despite wanting to prove himself as a manager, Campbell really doesn't need to work in football ever again.
WEST LONDON IS WHERE THE HEART IS
His playing days might've been spent in North London, but when it comes to building a property portfolio he's not so interested in that area.
Over the years, he bought homes in expensive areas of West London that mere mortals could only dream of living in.
The standout property was a £25m townhouse with stunning views across the Thames and Albert Bridge.
It boasts six bedrooms, five bathrooms, a drawing room, library, dining room, as well as a separate mews home that can be reached by an underground tunnel.
In 2008, with the help of his missus, the 7,224 sq/ft space, which also has a 45-foot garden and a lift, had a complete renovation.
22 Campbell loves living in West London, and has this home worth around £25mCredit: John D Wood & Co
22 It boasts incredible views of the Thames and Albert Bridge
22 There are six bedrooms in Sol Campbell's townhouseCredit: John D Wood & Co
22 The living room is spacious and very well litCredit: John D Wood & Co
22 An outside space offers ample opportunity for al fresco diningCredit: John D Wood & Co
22 The garden is 45-feet longCredit: John D Wood & Co
22 Sol Campbell put the property on the market after Labour proposed a mansion tax that would've cost him £250k-per-yearCredit: Getty – Contributor
In 2014, Campbell put the property on the market after slamming Labour's proposed mansion tax which would've cost him £250k-per-year.
He called Labour: "the grim reaper of business entrepreneurs or anyone that has done well!"
Campbell added: "An Englishman's home is his castle, there will be uproar with this tax!"
Carlyle Mansions are a block of luxury flats that can be found on Cheyne Walk in the Kensington and Chelsea borough.
It earned the nickname the 'Writer's block' because of the high-number of prolific authors who lived there.
Of course, wanting to join that exclusive club, Sol bought an apartment for a reported price of £4.25m in 2011 that used to be owned by James Bond creator Ian Fleming.
Located on the fifth floor, it boasts four bedrooms, two bathrooms, – one en suite – as well as a shower room, study area, laundry, passenger lift and porter.
22 Campbell reportedly splashed around £4.25m on this West London apartment in 2011Credit: Strutt & Parker
22 The property originally belonged to James Bond creator Ian FlemingCredit: Strutt & Parker
22 Carlyle Mansions can be found on London's exclusive Cheyne WalkCredit: Strutt & Parker
22 Sol Campbell listed the property for sale in 2015 for £6.75mCredit: Strutt & Parker
To boot, there's a lavish marble kitchen and an interconnecting reception room that can be found at the front of the building.
Again, perturbed by Labour's purported mansion tax, he listed it for £6.75m in 2015.
Lucky for Sol, mansion tax never came to fruition, so he took both this and his other Chelsea abode off the market.
A HISTORY LESSON
In his twilight years, Campbell had a spell at Newcastle United from 2010-11 before he hung up his boots.
But, he wasn't interested in living in the city centre, renting a property and then counting down the days until he called time on his career.
Sol bought the Grade II-listed Hallington Hall in Northumberland, near Whittington, which was built in 1768 and renovated by his wife Barratt.
The 60-acre estate has nine bedrooms, seven en-suite, a games room, private cinema, and three cottages within its grounds.
22 During his time at Newcastle Sol bought Hallington Hall in NorthumberlandCredit: Sanderson Young / Savills
22 Hallington Hall is a Grade II-listed buildingCredit: Sanderson Young / Savills
22 Dotted around the house's games room are framed football shirtsCredit: Sanderson Young / Savills
22 Hallington Hall was built in 1768 but was renovated by Campbell's wifeCredit: Sanderson Young / Savills
22 The property boasts seven en-suite bathroomsCredit: Sanderson Young / Savills
22 The cinema room is perfect for entertaining guestsCredit: Sanderson Young / Savills
There was rumoured to be a huge portrait of Sol inside the home, as well as a games room full of framed football shirts.
But the towering centre half put it on the market a year after he was racially abused in the nearby Hexham town centre.
However, he had to slash the asking price by £700k to £5.25m when he struggled to find any takers for it.
PART OF THE FURNITURE
Together with his wife Fiona, the daughter of North East builder Lawrie Barratt, Sol owns FBC – a luxury furniture brand selling high-quality, traditional British items.
They launched FBC in 2013, and it has continued to go from strength to strength – adding a showroom in Westminster to join its Pimlico store.
From armchairs that cost around £5k, to Christopher Boots lighting and fancy artwork, FBC deliver it all.
22 Campbell and Barratt are in business togetherCredit: Getty Images – Getty
22 In 2013 Campbell and Barratt launched a furniture shop called FBCCredit: 2018 GC Images
22 FBC is thriving for Campbell and Barratt, who are making a mint from their investmentsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
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“Business has felt like a natural fit after my playing career," Sol told Real Business last year.
"For me, I could see a lot of transferable skills from my playing days that I knew I could use in a business environment.”
And you can't argue that Sol has excelled off the pitch just as well as he did on it.