ARLINGTON, Texas. A city of nearly 400,000 people and home to General Motors, Mensa International, and the Texas Rangers.

A world away from Alloa and the Indodrill Stadium, then, which would need to be filled more than 130 times over to get everyone in place for the Wasps’ first home game of the season against Dunfermline.

One Texan who’d happily bite Wee County hands off for a place at the October showpiece is Andy Prior, who believes he holds the title as Alloa’s most distant fan after following the ups and downs of the part-timers from more than 4,900 miles away for nearly two-decades.

READ MORE: Meet the Alloa Athletic fan who cheers on the Wasps from more than 200 miles away

He’s almost certainly the only diehard in the Lone Star State and, after reading about Ricc Stead, an Alloa fan a relative hop-skip-and-a-jump away in Bradford, he decided to throw his ring into the hat, telling Advertiser Sport about his love for a place that’s in his blood. His fourth great-grandfather was born and bred in Clacks, a coal miner during a time where everyone in Clackmannanshire was, who later left for America after being converted to Mormonism by missionaries.

Speaking to Advertiser Sport last week, it doesn’t take him long to show off one of his most prized possessions, holding up an Alloa pin to the camera less than five minutes into our Zoom call which he bought on his only visit to Clacks in 2003.

"I've always known I've had a strong Scottish ancestry connection and knew one of my ancestors came from Alloa or Clackmannanshire,” Andy, who works in insurance, said.

"I knew I had family connections but beyond that I really didn't know anything when I visited in 2003.

“I drove around a little bit, and stopped to have a bite in a pub, then found the fan shop and bought a pin for Alloa.

“I had a trip with my church to go to Uganda to do some mission work and we were flying through London to connect.

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Andy, right, with mum Polly and brother Stephen shortly after his trip to Alloa in 2003 Andy, right, with mum Polly and brother Stephen shortly after his trip to Alloa in 2003

"I was able to work out getting three weeks off from my work at the time and decided I would rent a car in London and drive around England and Scotland all by myself and have some fun.

"I had some childhood friends in Manchester but also thought that I had to go up to Scotland and at least see some of the areas where my ancestors might have lived and worked.

"I spent some days in Manchester and went to see the bigger team I follow, Manchester United. Then, I headed for Alloa and when I arrived in the town I didn't even know Alloa FC existed.

"For me it was like 'oh, y'all have a football club? Cool! I'm gonna buy this and just start to follow y'all'. It wasn't until a few years later where I started to get information on a regular basis as the internet really started to take off.”

Andy has hardly looked back since and, in the digital age, frequently follows Alloa updates on his phone, reading about the team on Advertiser Sport and any other outlet he can. It’s why he’s able to list off the latest news for the Wasps, which during our call was their new Covid-19 partnership with Dunfermline Athletic.

As a former high school track and field coach, who spent his days dealing with decreasing budgets but increasing demands, he is sure it’s a “smart, forward thinking move” by the club during difficult times.

It’s all a different world away from his boyhood idols, the Texas Rangers, although he says he’s moved away from the baseball club in recent years, partly due to a conflict over the team’s move to a new stadium.

For now, it’s the Wasps, Manchester United, and Glasgow Rangers - Andy “unsurprisingly” choosing the blue half of the city due to his past loyalties - who take up most of his attention.

"The one regret I have of the last 17 years is not making a special pilgrimage to come and watch a game when Rangers FC were playing in the same league as Alloa,” he said.

"I really wanted to make a trip to go and see a game at Ibrox or Alloa and that's my biggest regret in the last few years.”

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Andy hopes to make a trip to see Alloa with his family in 2021 Andy hopes to make a trip to see Alloa with his family in 2021

Andy's Alloa love affair is 179 years in the making, some family research revealing his ancestor Adam Fife was from the town. Long before his conversion, Adam spent his days in Clackmannanshire’s pits, being registered as living in the county in an 1841 census. 

It wasn’t long before he left for the American Dream, however, sailing off from Liverpool in 1849.

“He was a coal miner, so very blue collar,” Andy said. “His kids, including my third great-grandfather were born in Alloa. Sometimes it’s hard to identify in which town exactly, but he spent about 40 years in either Alloa or Clackmannanshire before immigrating to the US.

“He came over on a ship in 1849 from Liverpool. It appears he was converted by Mormon missionaries and decided to move the family to America. They travelled to New Orleans, then up the Mississippi River to the St Louis area.

“It’s funny. Other parts of my ancestry traces back to royalty but this is more interesting to me. It’s reality.”

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser:

Despite his early-noughties pilgrimage to Alloa, Andy has yet to see his beloved side in action. Him and his brother Stephen, 39, had planned to bring their mum Polly on a once in a lifetime trip to Scotland this year to celebrate her 80th birthday before Covid-19 hit and put paid to their plans.

READ MORE: Alloa Stats: How devoted Alloa fan Jonathan Markwell became the club's unofficial stats guru

He’s not letting the pandemic get in the way of a chance to see the Wasps, however, and he hopes the family will be able to make the journey in 2021.

“We want to still come next year, rent an RV, and drive around all of Scotland,” he said.

“We want to see sights we’ve never seen before.

“My brother and I, both being big soccer fans, want to go to see some of the stadiums and we hope we can time it so we can see Alloa.”