ROBBIE Williams stunned Port Vale players, staff and fans – by turning up at the club unannounced.
The multi-millionaire, who owns a majority stake in the Vale, toured the ground, signed autographs and posed for photographs yesterday.
The 34-year-old singer, who grew up in Burslem and Tunstall, was taking time out from his Los Angeles studio, where he has been working on a new album to be released next year.
And Hamil Road was a far cry from the Nevada desert, where Robbie has been investigating UFO sightings and the possibility of extra-terrestrial life.
Stateside paparazzi have recently been snapping a bearded Robbie who seemed to be carrying a little extra weight.
%3Cbody%3E%3Cdiv%20id%3D%22adDiv%22%3E%3CA%20HREF%3D%22http%3A//ads.anm.co.uk/ADCLICK/CID%3Dfffffffcfffffffcfffffffc/AAMSZ%3D452x118/SITE%3DTHISISSENT/AREA%3DNEWS/SUBAREA%3DHOME/ARTICLE%3D438019/acc_random%3D9016796828/pageid%3D/RS%3D%22%20target%3D%22_new%22%3E%3CIMG%20SRC%3D%22http%3A//iad.anm.co.uk/anmdefaultad.gif%22%20ALT%3D%22%22%20border%3D0%20style%3D%22margin-bottom%3A%200px%3B%22%3E%3C/A%3E%3C/div%3EBut yesterday lunchtime, the life-long Vale fan looked trim and in good spirits as he checked out his beloved Vale.
Sporting a beanie hat, casual jumper, jacket and jeans, he chatted to the players and spoke to staff before touring the stadium.
After leaving Vale Park, he popped round the corner to one of his favourite old haunts, the Vale Cafe.
Staff and customers were stunned as the international celebrity walked through the door, bought a coffee and then helped it down with a cigarette.
One worker, who asked not to be named, said: "When he came in, I just said to him, 'I haven't seen you for 20 years'.
"He used to come in when he was a kid. It was good to see him again."
Back at Vale Park, Robbie's visit was shrouded in secrecy. Chairman Bill Bratt said: "We have been asked not to make any comment, I'm sorry."
But fans hope Robbie's visit will inspire Vale footballers still licking their wounds after Tuesday night's defeat at Aldershot Town.
Vale fan Jean Jackson, of Oakhill, said: "I'm not surprised Robbie has been down to the club because he is still interested in the team. I'm delighted he has taken the time to come up here and show his support. It will give a boost to the players and fans."
It is not known why Robbie was in Burslem yesterday, but he is expected to attend the MTV Europe Music Awards at at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, on November 6