Young visually impaired Southampton fans see football clearly thanks to Virgin Media

Two young visually impaired Southampton FC fans use headsets provided by Virgin Media to view a football game at St Mary's stadium
Virgin Media
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
23 August 2021

Two young visually impaired Southampton fans were finally able to be mascots and watch their beloved Saints in action against Manchester United at the weekend thanks to life-changing wearable technology provided by Virgin Media.

Florence and Joshua both experience issues with their eyesight, meaning that they have never been able to clearly see their favourite team play. Back in March 2020, Virgin Media gave them cutting-edge technology before they were due to take on the role of mascots for the game against Manchester City.

However, due to the pandemic, Florence and Joshua have had a long wait for their opportunity to fulfil the role. For the last 18 months, football games have been played without fans and without mascots. Although walking out onto the pitch with the team is still off-limits due to COVID restrictions, Florence and Joshua were mascots for Saints’ first home game of the season and received unprecedented access at St Mary’s Stadium to make their day extra special.

This included being the first to greet the players as they got off the team bus, a tour of the stadium, seats right behind the Southampton dugout and the chance to walk out on the pitch at half-time with their wearable tech.

“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,” said Florence, who also plays in the Saints Foundation Para Football Academy. “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!” 

James Ward-Prowse, captain of Southampton FC, added: “I can’t believe it was only last year that we met Florence & 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. It was fantastic meeting them back in 2020, and great to see that as part of Virgin Media’s Super Saints campaign, that they’ve finally been able to take up their roles as matchday mascots. It’s incredibly rewarding when you’re given the opportunity to help kids who may be having a difficult time – and it’s great to have the fans back again this season!”

Visit Virgin Media to find out more.