Southampton took a point in their first home game in the Premier League since fans returned to Manchester United on Sunday – and two young Saints fans will have had the day more than most.
Florence and Joshua, who are both visually impaired, were named the official mascots for the day at St. Mary’s and were invited to participate in the match to see their team play in a way they have never experienced.
Two visually impaired Southampton fans, Florence and Joshua, were given life-changing techniques by @virginmedia to watch the Saints draw against Man United.
The IrisVision glasses helped them see the game much more clearly. What a result for them to see too! ? pic.twitter.com/gJtID9oDUj
– 90min (@ 90min_Football) 24 August 2021
Everyone was given life-changing portable technology, known as IrisVision glasses, by Virgin Media, to wear throughout the match to see more clearly. Florence suffers from tunnel vision and loss of peripheral vision, resulting in a limited circular field of view – and the technology helped both see the team they support more clearly than they have ever done before.
Both originally got the IrisVision glasses back in March 2020, but could not reach a live match at St. Mary’s until now because of the pandemic and its impact on football.
However, they got the chance to meet three of the Saint’s top first team players, when they saw the ground along with James Ward-Prowse, Oriol Romeu and Jack Stephens, and they even got the chance to get a kick-on on the sacred grass.
But this time, Florence and Joshua sat in the crowd near Ralph Hasenhuttl’s excavation and were even introduced to a large reception at the half-time break from home support. They even got to see the first Saints goal in front of a full house since the fans returned, as Che Adam’s first half knocked off Fred and past David de Gea to put the hosts ahead.
Florence, who also plays for the Saints Foundation Para Football Academy, said of the experience: “It was incredible to be back at St Mary’s again with a full crowd and having my IrisVision glasses means I can see the whole pitch in a way I never did. have been able to before.
“It was so exciting to be so close to the action, and I could not believe I got to be the mascot at the first match at St Mary’s – it was so exciting!”
Virgin Media is raising awareness of the technology available, with over 5.1 million visually impaired people in the UK – 43% of whom are football fans.