Former Monty Python star Michael Palin could have picked any football team to follow along the way.
Instead he’s thrown his money behind the lowly Scottish League One club Stenhousemuir.
The intrepid presenter has donated cash to Stenhousemuir Supporters’ Trust bid to raise £10,000 tohelp team manager Brown Ferguson buy two new players.
Palin, 73, star of several travel documentaries as well as a key member of the Monty Python team, donated the cash on Stenhousemuir fan Stephen Fraser’s JustGiving page. He added a simple message: “Best of luck for this worthwhile cause.”
The donation echoes an episode from his 1980s series Ripping Yarns, in which a fan of a struggling Yorkshire team attempts to buy it over.
Mr Fraser said: “I was just looking through the names of the people who had donated and this one jumped out.
“I said ‘Blimey. There’s Michael Palin’!
“I knew he was a bit of a Stenhousemuir fan because I’d seen him at a game a few years ago. He came to watch the match and bought a Stenhousemuir shirt. He seems to have a soft spot for the club.
“When I saw he had donated I presumed someone from the club, perhaps a director, had got in touch with him.
“But it seems he found out about it himself and did it without anyone asking.”
The surprise donation has brought Mr Fraser, 43, an accountant from Linlithgow, to within a couple of hundred pounds of meeting his personal target of £1,500. He plans to add it to the Supporters’ Trust pot of cash to spend on two new players. “We only have around 12 senior players at the moment,” added Mr Fraser. “The rest of the squad is 16 and 17 year olds just out of the football academy.”
Stenhousemuir currently sit second bottom of League One, with one point from four matches. They were beaten 7-1 in a Challenge Cup match by Queen of the South.
Club spokesman Iain McMenemy said Palin’s donation had come out of the blue. “He seems to like to keep an eye on how we’re doing. No-one expected this though.
“He first came to Stenhousemuir to watch a game about ten years ago. We got a call from the BBC saying someone wants to come and watch a match. It was only when he arrived that we found it was Michael Palin.
“He had lunch, had a chat with everyone and it was a great day. He spoke very highly of the club and said he’d watched us from afar.”
Palin isn’t the club’s only celebrity supporter. Former long-distance runner Brendan Foster, who won a bronze medal in the 10,000 metres at the 1976 Olympics, was born in South Shields and has no connection with the area, but has also been seen at Stenhousemuir matches.
Liverpool actor Kevin Duala, who presented children’s television show Blues Clues, is also a Stenhousemuir supporter.
Despite having only 300 regular supporters, Stenhousemuir, nicknamed the Warriors, also have a strong Norwegian following. The Stenhousemuir Norwegian Supporters Club was set up almost 20 years ago and has more than 100 members.
Palin was not available for comment.