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Two young visually-impaired Southampton fans have been given an enhanced view of the action thanks to a piece of wearable technology.
Florence, 11, and Joshua, 15, wore their IrisVision glasses to Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United at St Mary’s, the first time they had been able to attend since receiving the tech last year.
Florence, who has tunnel vision, said: “It was incredible to be back at St Mary’s again with full crowds, and to be wearing my IrisVision glasses means I’m able to see the whole pitch in a way I’ve never been able to before.”
The pair were given the specialist glasses last April by Virgin Media, who are one of the club’s sponsors.
They also enjoyed a kickabout with Saints players, including England midfielder James Ward-Prowse.
They were initially due to receive the glasses and be mascots for the team at a game against Manchester City last year, but the Covid pandemic meant plans had to be altered.
So Joshua and Florence, who plays in the Saints Foundation Para Football Academy, got to carry out mascot duties on Sunday instead.
A kickabout they'll remember forever 😍
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) April 30, 2020
Florence said: “It was so exciting to be so close to the action, and I couldn’t believe I got to be mascot at the first game back at St Mary’s – it was so exciting.”
She and Joshua sat behind the dugout throughout the game and were also given an ovation as they were introduced to fans at half-time.
Southampton captain Ward-Prowse said: “I can’t believe it was only last year that we met Florence and Joshua – it feels so long ago now after how the world has changed in the last 18 months.
“It was a pleasure to have them at the game, and we’re so happy that they got to experience a full St Mary’s after all this time.”