On Monday night Everton made sporting history by allowing a child who was too sick to travel from home to become the world’s first ‘virtual matchday mascot’ – giving him the experience of stepping on to the pitch via a specially-designed robot (AV1) carried by Everton’s captain Phil Jagielka.
The young fan, Jack McLinden, has been a lifelong Toffees fan but his health condition and use of a wheelchair severely restricts his mobility – meaning he could not attend the game against Newcastle United on Monday evening. However, with the AV1 robot Jack was able to meet various Everton players in the changing room and tunnel before being carried on to the pitch in front of a crowd of more than 39,000.
The AV1 robot, which is equipped with an integrated camera, microphone, and speaker was connected to Jack’s iPad. Allowing him to see and hear the experience in real-time though the robot avatar, while comfortable in bed.
A truly fantastic gesture from Everton, proving that football is for everyone no matter what walk of life they come from.