IT might prove to be a big anti-climax but, for York City South members, this afternoon’s season-ending trip to Brackley Town is the nearest they have come to a “home” fixture during 2017/18.

With the Northamptonshire town lying 72 miles north of London, where the majority of the 60-strong supporters’ group live, the City fanatics might even make it back home for tea-time – a Saturday night rarity over the last nine months.

You would be hard pressed to find anybody of a red-and-blue persuasion who has enjoyed the club’s first campaign of regionalised football since the Football League dispensed with division three north and south 60 years ago.

But, for the loyal group of exiled Minstermen, sixth-tier football has been an even greater test of their faith, given the mileage they have had to cover to follow their team.

Remarkably, though, at least one person from York City South has been in attendance at every first-team fixture this season.

Hendon-based member Andy Naylor has been to more than most, making 32 of the Minstermen’s 44 matches prior to this afternoon’s contest.

He has also managed that tally despite cricket playing commitments in Scotland and an Australian holiday over Christmas to watch the Ashes, which just so happened to coincide with his club’s best run of form this term!

To highlight the impact relegation last season had on Naylor and his fellow supporters from the capital, ten National League outfits can be reached by car within an hour of his North London home – the nearest being Boreham Wood, which is a 17-minute, seven-mile drive away.

League Two Barnet are closer but, for somebody who has got used to returning home from Bootham Crescent night matches at 1am, Naylor has never dreamt of changing his allegiance for a more convenient team and was in the away end for both of this season’s most-notherly staged fixtures – Tuesday night trips to Blyth Spartans and Spennymoor, requiring respective round trips of 570 miles and 500 miles.

In total, Naylor has clocked 13,000 miles following City over the last nine months, but he believes they are more in need of his support now than at any other point in the 52 years he has been a supporter.

“For Blyth, I decided to take Monday and Tuesday off work and went to Scarborough to watch the cricket - Yorkshire v Essex,” he explained. “I got back from Blyth at 2am.

“For Spennymoor, I had a meeting arranged for Durham on that day months before the fixtures came out, so I was about five miles away and just hired a car from work and returned it a bit later than they expected! I got back at 1.30am that night, but all of us that live in London are used to getting back from a midweek home match at 1am anyway.

“On Saturdays, we’re used to doing 400-mile, round-trips to Bootham Crescent as well so, when you’re going to somewhere like Gainsborough this month, it doesn’t seem too bad and, in my opinion, these are the times when you need to support the club the most.

“It’s easy to do that when the team are winning every week, like in 1983/84. But I was at the lowest-ever league home gate of 1,167 against Northampton, which was my last match before moving away from York in 1981 and I was also in the lowest league away crowd of 323 at Grays. Not many will have been at both games, but it’s never been just about watching a winning side.”

Indeed, Naylor’s first City match – a 2-1 home defeat to Stockport on New Year’s Eve 1966 – established a club record of eight straight league defeats under Tom Lockie that still stands today.

He had just moved to the area from London after his father secured a transfer with work and on the origins of his lifetime affiliation, some might say affliction, Naylor added: “We moved to Clifton during the school holidays at Christmas and my parents asked our next-door neighbours if there was anything they could do with two young sons aged eight and 11.

“They said they would take us down to watch York City and it was an exciting time for football after England had won the World Cup.”

The ten-time winner and grand final runner-up on Channel 4’s Countdown quiz show has calculated that he has since travelled 270,834 miles to follow his team up and down the country, watching 1,210 matches at 179 different grounds.

He is most at home, though, sat in his usual spot – opposite the halfway line among fellow Popular Stand supporters.

Former St Peter’s School pupil Naylor moved back down south after his degree studies in Leicester came to an end and he now works in Police IT for the Home Office.

Incredibly, he also combines his City supporting escapades with a long-distance marriage to his Scotland-based wife.

She lives 20 miles outside of Inverness and he travelled there last night, but he will think nothing of turning back and heading for Brackley if weather conditions north of the border cause the cricket game he is due to play in today to be called off before 9.30am.

While most football fans have a tale to tell of a nightmare journey for a game that was subsequently called off, this City supporter’s story will take some beating too.

“I spent Easter with my wife in Scotland and missed the Chorley home match, because I went to the away game against them and thought they were a quite negative club,” Naylor explained. “But I wanted to get down for the FC United match on Easter Monday.

“I set off from Scotland at about 7.30am and, because I haven’t got a smart phone, there was no way of me knowing that the game was postponed at 9.30am. I arrived about half-an-hour before kick-off and thought it was really easy to park.

“I also saw some home fans with scarves on, who didn’t know the game had been called off like me, so I just drove across the Pennines and there was some lovely snowy scenery before I went back to London down the A1.”

Elsewhere, Sean Newton has joined Vinnie Steels at the top of The Press Player of the Month contest for April.

The City captain moved level with the 16-year-old winger after being named our man of the match for last weekend’s 2-2 home draw with Leamington.

He also collected the two bonus points on offer, having received the most man-of-the-match votes from our Twitter poll.

The other Press points went to Connor Brown (two) and Adriano Moke (one) as our second and third-highest rated performers respectively.

Latest Press Player of the Year standings: Parkin 31, Connolly 26, Newton 21, Bartlett 18, Bencherif 18, Law 18, Parslow 18, Moke 17, Heslop 13, Almond 12, Burn 11, Ferguson 10, Worsnop 10, Whittle 9, Morgan-Smith 8, Pattison 8, Smith 5, Rankine 3, Rowe 3, Steels 3, Brown 2, Correia 2, Kempster 2, Martin 2.

The April Press Player of the Month standings: Newton 7, Steels 7, Burn 6, Bencherif 5, Law 3, Brown 2, Heslop 2, Kamdjo 2, Parslow 2, Bartlett 1, Connolly 1, Moke 1, Smith 1.

Goals: Parkin 25, Newton 10, Connolly 6, Morgan-Smith 5, Heslop 4, Burn 3, Almond 2, Kempster 2, Moke 2, Own Goal 2, Parslow 2, Rankine 2, Correia 1, Felix 1, Ferguson 1, Gray 1, Law 1, Martin 1, Rowe 1, Smith 1.

Assists: Connolly 10, Almond 8, Newton 8, Heslop 5, Parslow 5, Ferguson 4, Gray 4, Law 4, Moke 4, Morgan-Smith 4, Parkin 4, Martin 3, Whittle 3, Bencherif 1, Correia 1, Felix 1, Kempster 1, Pattison 1, Peacock-Farrell 1, Worsnop 1.

Bad boys: Heslop two red, five yellow; Brown, Rowe both five yellow; Bencherif one red, three yellow; Burn four yellow; Newton three yellow; Ferguson one red, one yellow; Connolly, Wharton, Worsnop all two yellow; Parkin one red; Gray, Law, Moke, Parslow, Smith, Whittle all one yellow.