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World Cup winner drops in at local Primary School
Thursday 15th January 2015 @ 15:31 by Mark Phillip
Ashton Football Sports

Pupils of Rosehill Methodist Primary School said ‘bonjour’ to a World Cup winner last Monday.
And it’s all because former Arsenal and Manchester City stalwart, Patrick Vieira, took centre stage in the schools assembly hall.

Manchester City's Patrick Vieira mingles with pupils.

Manchester City’s Patrick Vieira mingles with pupils.

Accompanied by Club Life President Bernard Halford, the 38 year old retired footballer took centre stage on the afternoon to delight an ecstatic group of football fanatics.

Currently guiding Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad to success, the French World Cup winner took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions the Ashton based youngsters posed to him.

Despite a glittering 17 year football career, the Senegal born midfielder, looking a tad nervous, stood before a packed crowd of admirers.

The four time FA Cup winner received some thought provoking questions and proceeded to answer without due hesitation.

Vieira’s response to each question received a huge round of applause, but the inspirational highlight of the afternoon was fashioned from the following question: What do you need in order to be a good footballer?

Unnerved and standing astute, the Uefa Champions League winner addressed the audience and stated “It takes more than talent to be a good footballer, and you need drive and determination to succeed.

“If you want to be successful, then you have to dream big, make sacrifices and work as hard as you can in order to fulfil your dream.”

If dreaming big is the key ingredient to achieving success, then the pupils of Rosehill have a trolley stocked full.

One pupil on the afternoon exemplified the above trait, and despite her tender age, she outlined her desire to become a future doctor.

Associate Head Teacher, Chris Redman, outlined the reasoning behind Patrick’s appearance. She told us “Bernard came in October and brought the city cup and the league cup, and after the children had all their photographs taken, I showed him round the school and he actually said ‘this is an exceptional school’.

“We want to give our children a reservoir of things they can dip into when they’re writing, with simple things like building a den or dancing around a campfire, but we did struggle with number 13 which is to meet someone famous.”

“I explained this to Bernard and he said ‘that’s a job for me then’

The question and answer session swiftly came to a close, but a picture perfect moment presented itself with staff and pupils alike.

The man mountain, standing at 6ft4in tall, was more than happy to pose for photographs and sign memorabilia.

Questioned on the purpose of his visit to Rosehill School, Vieira told the Reporter “The kids at the school had things to achieve, and one of the things on the wish list was to meet a personality, so Bernard asked me to come into the school and spend 45 minutes with the kids to answer some questions.”

Vieira alludes to the Rosehill’s experience charter, which included 14 things that children will get to experience throughout their seven years at the school.

One of the experiences listed is to meet someone famous, but despite his celebrity allure, Vieira remained modest. He added “When asked to come to the school, I said yes straight away, because I think this is part of our responsibility.

“I wanted to try and answer some of their questions because they may want to play football, but the sole message was that it doesn’t matter if you want to play football, become a doctor or go into teaching.

“The aim is to dream big, and of course when you dream big you work hard and have more chance of succeeding.”

Despite maintaining his modesty, Vieira knows he can shape opinion and was more than forthcoming in saying so. “I’ve been to three of four schools so far, but I think there’s more to do, because we are talking about our future here and if I can inspire them in any way then I think that’s really good.”

Regardless of his 17 years’ worth of experience in the limelight, nothing could prepare him for a visit to school. He said “When I opened the door and came inside they looked quite impressed.

“When you’re working with kids, you never know which question you’re going to receive, but it was really good and I enjoyed it.”

The 38 year old wasn’t the only one to enjoy it, with a number of pupils buzzing with excitement. Speaking to the Reporter, Manchester City fan Jordan Hamerton, who posed the first question, stated “It was amazing to meet vieira!”

Lukas Vickers echoed Jordan’s sentiments, and despite hinting at initial reservations, the Year five pupil stated “it was actually really good and I liked it.”

Questioned whether he would like to be famous when he grows up, Lukas said ‘yes’, and added “We didn’t know who he (Vieira) was at first, but then Miss showed us a picture of him and then we saw him, and everyone said ‘Patrick Vieira’!

Football is a divisive game that generally splits opinion, but the blue and red half of Rosehill finally came together, thanks to the visit of a footballing legend.