Miami-based, via a seven-year stay in Mexico, for Dave Appleby it has been quite the challenge to follow his beloved Tranmere Rovers’ return to the EFL.
Born and raised in the Wirral, Dave grew up knowing little else other than cheering on Rovers from the Kop End after attending his first game in 1984 with his dad.
“My father was a Tranmere Rovers supporter and he took me to my first game in the mid-80s, and that was that – they were my team,” Dave explained.
Fast forward over thirty years, and the difficult decision to move abroad due to work commitments was made, firstly to Mexico, before the move to Miami, Florida, three years ago. Step forward, iFollow…
“It was extremely hard to follow Tranmere when I first moved abroad, and I’ve sort of gone through this process of having really suffered over the years. It is a suffering… when you were a season ticket holder going to watch them home and away to then having no contact really is extremely difficult.
“If you’re lucky you would get one or two games a season broadcast live on a channel over here, but apart from that it was radio commentary, social media and picking up the highlights after. That’s why the iFollow service for me was an absolute blessing.”
Introduced ahead of the 2017/18 season, overseas supporters are now able to watch EFL fixtures via iFollow providing they have not been selected for broadcast on Sky Sports or for international distribution where the EFL has an overseas broadcast partner – this for a cost of just £110 for a season pass, or on a match-by-match basis for £5.
New to this season, domestic supporters can also subscribe to iFollow on a match-by-match basis, with fixtures outside the blocked hours on a Saturday afternoon and not selected for live broadcast available – all the information can be found here!
Dave continued: “I had picked up on the launch of iFollow fairly early through various forums I keep across, but of course we were in the National League at first, so it didn’t really matter to us initially. If anything, I wanted us to get promoted for not only the obvious reasons, but so I could follow my club again and iFollow has definitely brought me back closer to Tranmere.
“I actually wrote to the club on several occasions really hoping they would opt into the service because for overseas supporters being able to watch their club live, there is nothing like it – it truly enhances the experience of following a team.”
Not one to be kept in the dark when talking about all things Tranmere Rovers, Dave set up overseas supporters page dubbed ‘TRFC in the USA’, which to this date has just shy of 600 members – a remarkable amount that highlights the passionate support of the League Two side.
It may seem like a pipedream for some (Dave’s words, not ours) but the potential to grow the brand of Tranmere Rovers in the United States, via the help of the iFollow service, is an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
“Obviously the idea behind the account was to help grow the brand of Tranmere Rovers, particularly in the United States where I am based. There is so much interest in the club, not just in the local area but also worldwide – the history of the club cannot be underestimated.
“It’s still in its infancy – I am trying to think of more ideas to get Rovers fans involved. Recently we did a competition for a new logo on the page, which I invested in myself to reward the winner with a new shirt – but overall I enjoy it all, commenting on and watching my club.
“In short, the iFollow service has enabled me to return to feeling like a proper supporter again. Of course there is room for improvement, that is to be expected, but for a fairly new product it’s massively contributed to my fan experience.”
Dave is just one of many supporters to subscribe to the iFollow service with a season pass, and you can find out more about the subscription options available to those based domestically or overseas, by clicking HERE.