By 90Min
April 24, 2018

Everton have made yet more footballing history after they became the first club to use a 'virtual football mascot' for a fan who is not able to attend a match in person.

Ahead of their clash with Newcastle United on Monday, Everton's captain Phil Jagielka was seen carrying AV1, a telepresence robot, onto the Goodison Park pitch in a world first according to the Liverpool Echo.

The reason behind the robot accompanying Jagielka, and not the usual child, was that 14-year-old Jack McLinden - a sufferer of Lennox Gastaut syndrome - had been chosen as the club's mascot for the game.

Lennonx Gastaut syndrome is an epileptic condition that affects children and, in Jack's case, means he relies on an oxygen mask 24/7, needs a wheelchair for mobility purposes and is unable to speak.

With Jack unable to attend the game in person, the use of AV1 allowed him to experience the full matchday experience as a mascot via the technological advancement - brought to life by Norwegian company No Isolation - via a camera, microphone and speaker linked to his tablet at home.

AV1 also allowed Jack to interact with the Toffees' stars in the tunnel before the 1-0 victory in L4, and ensured that the lifelong Blue was given a moment to never forget.

Speaking to the club's official site, Blues boss Sam Allardyce hailed the technology that had allowed Jack to experience the match.

He said: “It is a great piece of technology. Jack had the full experience today. He went out on the pitch with Jags and he saw everything that went on with the warm-up.

“He also did a piece with Sky so he wanted to finish off in the press conference. If you are listening Jack, well done for the 1-0 win, mate.”

(You may also be interested in Allardyce Praises Everton 'Direction' & Provides Schneiderlin Update After Newcastle Win)

No Isolation are a start-up company that enables children to attend school and social occasions in an effort to prevent them from feeling lonely and isolated from their peers.

Karen Dolva, CEO and co-founder, said: “Technology is about making the seemingly impossible possible. For Jack, the dream of being a mascot for his favourite football club was not likely to happen given his condition.

“Working with such a wonderful and inclusive club as Everton to give Jack this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is a moment myself and those working at our company will never forget.”

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