Welcome to Freddingham Palace

by JAMES TOZER,Daily Mail

Last updated at 11:39 16 September 2005

His heroic performances in the Ashes series have raised his earning potential to that of our notoriously overpaid soccer stars.

So it is perhaps only fitting that Andrew ' Freddie ' Flintoff should have bought a £ 1.5 million family home which would not look out of place in an episode of Footballers' Wives.

This week, he and wife Rachael will be moving to the new townhouse in a gated cul-de-sac in the Cheshire stockbroker belt.

The three-storey, five-bedroom property is in Georgian style with a portico, sash windows and grand, tiled reception rooms, and gives plenty of room for the couple and their 13-month-old daughter Holly.

It will inevitably be nicknamed Freddingham Palace - after Beckingham Palace, the Beckhams' mansion in Hertfordshire.

Flintoff and his glamorous wife, a former model, have lived for almost two years in a pretty cottage near Knutsford, Cheshire. They are said to feel it was lacking in privacy. But improvements they made to the four-bedroom property - including an Aga and a conservatory - helped them to sell it this month for £750,000, a profit of £175,000.

An adventure playground Flintoff had built in the back garden is expected to be reconstructed at the new house, which is in an area patrolled by a private security firm.

Few homes there sell for less than £1million.

Electricians and plumbers were yesterday racing to finish the house in time for the move, when the Flintoffs will discover that their new neighbours - appropriately - include a Premiership footballer, Paul Dickov, of Blackburn Rovers.

Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy also lives nearby.

And just down the road is the village of Hale, home to so many soccer stars that it provided the inspiration for the Footballers' Wives programme. Flintoff's England contract and sponsorship deals already earn him around £1million a year, but this will soar as a result of his role in the Ashes triumph over Australia.

Publicist Max Clifford predicted Flintoff could make £ 3million in the next year.

'The sky is the limit for him,' he said.

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