FOOTBALL fanatics Davide Stefano and Provvidoni Seinetti travelled 1,000 miles to North East England to see the black-and-whites play.
But the Italian bus drivers had not come from their home city of Genoa to watch Newcastle United, but humble Tow Law Town who also play in black and white stripes.
The bizarre attachment to the tiny County Durham club, which sits just below mid-table in the ANL Northern League division one, came after Davide, 39, spotted an item about them on an internet web-site.
He persuaded his colleague Provvidoni to fly to the North East via Leeds/Bradford airport to watch his favourites play.
“I read about the club’s history, how they had beaten Mansfield Town, of the then third division, 5-1 in the FA Cup in 1967. It captured my imagination, “ said Davide, 39, who added ruefully that he had been unable to persuade his girlfriend Barbara to fly out with him to sample the delights of Tow Law hospitality. Davide began corresponding by e-mail with Tow Law secretary Steve Moralee, who sent him a Tow Law football top which he has been pictured proudly wearing on a visit to the Italian capital Rome.
Then at the weekend he arrived with Provvidoni to take in a couple of Tow Law games. Unfortunately the pair were unable to cheer a goal for their unlikely favourites. On Saturday they drew 0-0 with Penrith then on Monday night were trounced 5-0 at Newcastle Benfield. To compound the misery, the pair’s Italian team Genoa, lost 0-1 to Cagliari at the weekend, said Davide.
He added: “Despite the results we have enjoyed our stay. I drank Exhibition beer in the clubhouse and the people have all been very friendly.
“The football has been entertaining. I think it is great for a small village club like Tow Law to have such an illustrious history.
“As well as beating Mansfield they reached Wembley in the FA Vase final in 1998 which was another momentous achievement.
“I may return at Easter, if Barbara will agree!”
Mr Moralee said: “It was good of them to travel all the way from Genoa to watch Tow Law play.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t entertain them on Saturday because I was in Manchester watching a Kylie Minogue concert.
“But from all accounts they made a number of friends in the clubhouse and at the North Point hotel in Tow Law where they were staying.”