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15 August 2012
Considered one of rugby union’s world best has experienced his most recent property undertaking result in disaster as he and his wife have been made bankrupt, reported by the New Zealand Herald.
Ex - All Blacks star Zinzan Brooke, 47, and his wife Alison, 44, were placed in the Bankruptcy Orders section on the London Gazette website, which referred to the couple’s Frances Lodge Bed & Breakfast operation in Windsor.
Bankruptcy orders were shown separately for both Brooke and his wife and they were registered on July 27th 2012. G. Rogers from the Insolvency Service in Reading has been designated as the receiver for the business, which launched 3 years ago.
Frances Lodge, the boutique B & B operation, is referred to on its site as having an atmosphere of “sophistication married with simplicity”. Appearing on the outside like a traditional Victorian villa, it contains 10 en-suite bedrooms, an open-plan communal lounge, and dining spaces.
A write-up in the Telegraph in 2007 looked at the links among rugby stars and property, and detailed Zinzan Brooke’s property background and portfolio.
Brooke, a plumber and gas fitter by trade, said: “I was involved in construction and buy-to-lets in New Zealand. It is amazing this rugby and property link. My brother Robin (another former All Black) was a site foreman and other members of my family are in the building trade."
Brooke said that he constructed his own home aged 23 after which had taken a few equity out of it and invested in buy-to-lets in Auckland. He explained he acquired properties at the bottom of the market, leveraging as he went. “At one time I had around 27 properties. I did building work on some of them. My trick was to go for quick settlements and therefore negotiate hard on purchase price.”
Brooke came to England in 1997 to play and coach at Harlequins. After his retirement in 2002 he restarted his interest in construction and property and he go about establishing himself with a range of refurbish and new builds around his adopted home town of Windsor.
Soon after establishing himself in the local residential scene an opportunity emerged to expand into the rapidly growing apartment market. From here his property development company, Valentines Homes, progressed and developed some premium sites surrounding London.
Valentines Homes had 24 flats at a development referred to as North West in Watford. These were tenanted but on the market to investors seeking out good rental returns. These high-spec apartments were available from £140,000 to £275,000.
In the Telegraph piece, Brooke stated that Valentines Homes was a £12 million turnover business and its work was “a mix of renovation and new build”, with developments to its name in Windsor, Watford, Chesham and Rickmansworth. He incorporated: "We build a mix of apartments and houses and I am hoping eventually to build Valentines Homes into a £50 million company," says Brooke, whose properties sell for anything between £175,000 and £1million.
However, in July a year ago it was reported that Valentines Homes LLP and Valentines Homes & Construction Limited were to be wound up voluntarily and liquidated.
Brooke likewise started another endeavour called No 8 Recruitment, a work hire business for labourers, carpenters, bricklayers and quantity surveyors, which is still running.
Brooke is thought of by many as the best No. 8 ever to play the game. Between 1987 and 1997, he played 58 tests and have scored 195 points made up of 42 tries and three drop goals.
He is undoubtedly recalled most notably for his 47m drop goal against England in the 1995 World Cup Semi-Final.