ONE of Altrincham's FC's lifelong fan's Mark Buckton travelled 8,500 miles to watch the team in a 1-1 pre-season friendly against Whitchurch Alport.

Former Altrincham Grammar School pupil Mark, 46, watched the match with his wife Ching Yeh at Yockings Park.

The pair, who had sponsored the match, spent 17 hours in the air, travelling 8,700 miles from the Taiwan capital Taipei to Heathrow via Kuala Lumpur.

For Mark it was his first visit home in 9 years.

He told the Messenger before the game: "I just thought it would be a nice touch to sponsor the game. I'm no millionaire. It's not exactly Lord Sugar.

"It's just a 50 quid thing, but I get to meet the captains and have my picture taken with them, so I'm looking forward to that."

Mark, who left England in 1996 after joining the RAF said: "I've always supported Alty, and I even sold programmes at the ground for a couple of years.

"There are great memories from those days, watching players like Gary Anderson and Graham Bennett and, before them, John Davison, and going to Wembley for the FA Trophy win against Runcorn.

After living one year in Australia and a further 20 years in Japan he moved to Taiwan where I've lived in Taiwan where he works asw a sports writer.

Pictured - Alty fan Mark Buckton with his wife Ching Yeh before the kick-off, wearing shirts presented to them by the two clubs, Whitchurch Alport and Altrincham FC.