Homes under the Hammer presenter Dion Dublin admits he fell into the property world almost by accident after signing for Manchester United in 1992.
The former England striker made his first property investment 30 years ago, and admits he had no idea he would become one of the nation’s most popular home-buying personalities.
The 53-year-old presenter is one of daytime TV’s best known faces and property gurus, as he follows the adventures of aspiring developers on Homes Under the Hammer.
“For me it started in 1992, I sort of fell upon it by mistake," Dublin tells Yahoo. "I had one, two, three and then four houses and then it’s like ‘Oh, I’ve started something here.’
“Then I realised I had a portfolio and they’ve all been rented out. I think the people at the BBC and Homes Under the Hammer must have known that I like my property and said ‘let’s give him a go.’
“I’ve got a building company as well, so I’m always around building sites and auction houses, it’s my real passion along with my footy, and my music.”
But he admitted that his property work was not planned. The much travelled footballer found himself buying a new house every time he was transferred to a different club and soon developed a knack for investment and rentals.
Dublin celebrates eight years touring housing estates and auctions this year, and said he’s loved his new career. While he’s also seen on more traditional footballer haunts like Sky Sports and Match of the Day, Dublin is delighted with his daytime TV move.
As a footballer, he played for some of the biggest clubs in the world including Manchester United, Celtic, Aston Villa, Norwich, Coventry and Leicester City, as well as winning four caps for England.
But he has relished the chance to win over a new audience and fanbase with his daytime telly work and reality TV appearances such as his turn as a finalist in Celebrity Masterchef.
“It doesn’t feel like eight years. They all just fold into one and you end up doing so many shows and so much travelling across then country which has been brilliant. It’s just flown by, I’ve loved it.
“It wasn’t something I was looking to doing, it wasn’t something that I didn’t know I could do until I was given the opportunity to try it. It’s something I just enjoy and if I could do more, I would. I didn’t know I was going to do it, but now I’ve fell into it, I enjoy it.”
He added: “I go to the supermarket and walk in with my wife and everyone says, ‘It’s Dion Dublin from Homes Under the Hammer.’ Everyone thinks I sell houses and ask me about it - I don’t sell them, I just present a very good television show.
“It’s great, I love it and I embrace it. I’m lucky to be known and to be recognised and making television.”
Dublin joined fellow ex-pro Anton Ferdinand and current Birmingham City striker Troy Deeney for a special event at the Edinburgh TV Festival exploring why so many soccer stars are enjoying telly careers away from the game, with documentaries and presenting gigs.
Players such as Ferdinand, Deeney, Micah Richards, Jermaine Jenas and Peter Crouch have all been receiving plaudits for their non-sports TV, and Dion is delighted to see so many former colleagues doing well.
He said: “What the boys are doing is presenting things they’ve lived through and have first hand experience of the topic they are trying to put over. It’s not so much presenting as telling you the truth on how it is, and the presenting side of things they’ll pick up as it goes, like I have - I know my property and how to do builds.
“If you’re talking about something you know, you are being honest and passing on information, that’s why it has been coming across so well.
”A lot of footballers have hidden talents, and presenting might be one of them.”
Homes Under the Hammer is on BBC One, 11.15am, daily
Watch: Homes under the Hammer presenter Martin Roberts on returning to work after a health scare