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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 08:21 GMT
Football fans hit by fuel costs
An inflatable football in the air with football fans in the background
Some loyal fans are picking and choosing what games they go to
The rising cost of fuel has added to the financial woes of some of the country's furthest-flung football clubs and their fans.

Prices have been steadily increasing in the Highlands, and at the moment it costs about 1.07 a litre for unleaded petrol and 1.12 for diesel.

The chancellor, who unveiled his Budget on Wednesday, had announced plans to raise fuel duty by 2p per litre in April.

However, this rise has been postponed until October due to soaring crude oil prices.

Highland League outfit Wick Academy is one club already feeling the pinch.

The most northerly club in the league, secretary Alistair Ross said the team and its supporters regularly faced long journeys for away games.

He said: "The increase in fuel duty will have an impact on the club's finances and on supporters.

"On average the team bus travels about 4,000 miles a year. Fuel duty adds considerable expense to our running costs, while supporters have to find the money to follow the team."

Everybody is feeling the squeeze
Mairi Maclean
Inverness Caledonian Thistle Supporters' Club

Wick Academy face long journeys to Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen 10 to 12 times a year.

The longest slog is to Cove, on the south side of Aberdeen, which involves a round trip of 418 miles and a total of almost 10 hours on the road, according to the AA's mileage calculator.

Cup competitions add to the miles and Wick was the destination for what is believed to be the longest journey in Scottish Cup history.

In 2001, South of Scotland League side Threave Rovers made a round trip of 702 miles from Dumfries and Galloway to Caithness for the encounter.

Meanwhile, supporters of Scottish Premier League (SPL) side Inverness Caledonian Thistle have been selecting which away games they attend.

The 372-mile round trip to Ayrshire for games against Kilmarnock is the longest they face.

However, there is also a total journey of more than 300 miles for their league games against Celtic, Rangers, Motherwell, Gretna, St Mirren, Hearts and Hibs.

Even their nearest SPL neighbours Aberdeen are 104 miles away down the A96.

Adult prices

Mairi Maclean, of Caley Thistle's supporters club, said the cost of putting on supporters' buses went up 30 during last season.

The hike was cushioned by fund-raising, but a rise in adult prices may not be far off.

She said: "We haven't put up the price for adults for quite some time.

"We do try to raise money for the buses from various fund-raising activities, but we find we are vying with everything else people are having to find money for.

"Everybody is feeling the squeeze."


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