Hothouse; SCORE DRAW: Spurs'Paul Robinson Is the Face of the Resort's Soccer School AP / LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Article excerpt

A safe pair of hands on the Costa del Sol?

When you're trying to flog apartments on a sporting development in a toughmarket on Spain's Costa del Sol, it helps if you can get a celebrity to promoteit.

Pity the poor developers of The Village, at Valle Romano near Estepona, whomust have hoped that David Beckham, Michael Owen or Brazilian Roberto Carloswould come on side and put their name to the football academy that sits besidetheir two golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts and five-star hotel.

Although Roberto Carlos has bought an apartment, along with Seve Ballesterosand tennis ace Rafael Nadal, it is Paul Robinson, the sometimes haplessTottenham Hotspur and England goalkeeper, who is the public face of TheVillage.

Robinson, 27, who has conceded a string of calamitous goals in the past 12months, has bought a two-bedroom penthouse overlooking the 18th hole of one ofthe golf courses, and has given his name to the soccer school.

The goalkeeper is a serial property investor and the Spanish flat is the latestin a long line of purchases.

'I own several properties that generate income and which I use for my family,'says Robinson, whose air kick let a gentle Gary Neville back pass roll into theEngland net against Croatia. 'In the dressing room, the other players arealways trying to give me tips about property, but I end up advising them.

'I like to be in control of my investments - with property I can always buy andsell when I want to and not when someone in the City tells me to.' The formerLeeds United player, who was forced to move out of his North London home afterburglars struck three times, plans to visit several times a year with wifeRebecca and daughter Lucy May.

It may be an odd place for a mercurial player to escape the needling headlines:after all, the development is being marketed almost exclusively to soccer fans.Season-ticket holders of 12 British clubs, including Spurs, Arsenal, Newcastle,Celtic and Aston Villa, are being given first refusal at a series ofpresentations in the next three months.

At a launch at Tottenham's White Hart Lane ground last week, sales oftwo-bedroom apartments, whichstartfrom a260,000 ([pounds sterling]181,000) and will be completed in 2009, were, however, brisk.

Presumably thanks to fans desperate to escape their team's woeful performances. . .

? 0870 066 3696; www.thevillagespain.com.

NOEL'S HOUSE IS NO BIG DEAL It's a deal for Noel Edmonds who, after months ofhouse-hunting while staying at a cottage in the grounds of Lucknam Park Hotel,near Bath, has found somewhere without room service. …