Bastien Hery was given a whistle-stop tour of Rochdale town centre on Tuesday and made the day for young fans when he popped into the library at No1 Riverside.
The 22-year-old midfielder was keen to show his appreciation of the town after being misquoted in national and local media and readily accepted an invitation from the Borough Council to come and visit.
The young Frenchman was shown some of the town’s highlights and told about the on-going plans for regeneration by Councillor Janet Emsley, who commented:
“He is a lovely lad. He was horrified to have been misquoted so badly and took a great interest in the town and the buildings, a well as their plans for the future.
“It was lovely for him to come along - he is obviously committed to the club and the town.”
Bastien’s tour included the Grade II listed town hall, scene of Dale's victory reception when they got promoted to League One last year.
He said: “That was a very happy occasion in a wonderful building.”
This time a regular tea-dance was in full swing, and while the shy midfielder couldn't be persuaded to join in, he was given a brief history of the magnificent rooms and ornate stained glass windows by Dorothy Johnstone.
He strolled across town passed the new bus interchange and the Metrolink and was updated on plans for re-opening the river and for the new shopping centre development.
From No1 Riverside he headed to Rochdale Sixth Form College – officially the best in the country for adding value to students learning for the second year running.
Deputy Principal Ruth Szolkowska showed him round the brand new facility with its roof top coffee shop, state of the art labs and inspiring art rooms. He chatted with one of the students who has been offered a place at Oxford to read French.
"I was very impressed," commented Bastien. “It looks like a wonderful place to study."
Last stop was the Pioneer Museum where a group of school pupils from Middleton were just completing their educational visit. Bastien was given a brief history of the Pioneer movement and understood the significance of Rochdale being the birthplace of the Co-operative.
He said: “I was very moved by the Museum. That every co-op in the world started from this point in this very building is very interesting to see.
“I have really enjoyed seeing the buildings, both the old and the new, they are very impressive. And learning about the history of the town.
“I would never say anything bad about it, before the weekend I did not even know what the word dump meant. I am proud to be associated with the town.”