THREE football fans from the West Midlands endured a 560-mile round trip last weekend to support Vale of Leithen in their home game against Tynecastle at Victoria Park.

The Stourport-on-Severn Vale of Leithen Supporters Club members consisting of Mark Coton, 58, Ryan Coton, 27, and Jessie-May Garfield adopted the Innerleithen side during lockdown and have been fervent fans ever since.

Auditor Mark left his house in Stourport-on-Severn at 4.30am on Saturday morning and picked up Ryan and Jessie-May in Kidderminster an hour later.

After a six-hour drive, they arrived in the Borders where they took in the sights before heading to Victoria Park.

The game kicked off and all went well for the opening 16 seconds.

“The standard of football was actually better that we expected," said Mark. "When the first goal went in after 16 seconds I thought the floodgates would open but after that the team played well.

“I watch a lot of lower league football which is mainly long ball stuff but Vale tried to play football."

He added: “Myself and Jessie are Birmingham fans and Ryan is a West Brom fan and during lockdown we noticed that Vale seemed to be losing every week, so we started to follow their fortunes.

“We like underdogs and were impressed by the spirit shown by the players and fans turning up every week despite the results.

“I’ve become disillusioned with football at the highest levels and thought I’d rather give Vale my money.

“We’ve been planning a trip for some time and after a six-hour drive on Saturday we arrived in Innerleithen and had a look round the town. We visited St Ronan’s Well and the scenery was wonderful.

“I have to say that the hospitality the club showed us was fantastic. We had our photo taken, met the committee and sponsors and were given half-time drinks and invited to the Union Club afterwards. I think they are putting a piece in the next home programme about us.

"We all had a great time and we intend coming back for the final game next season to see Vale crowned champions.”