A 14-year-old Everton fan has made history by becoming football’s first “remote” match-day mascot – with the aid of a robot.
Jack McLinden, who has multiple health conditions, experienced joining his heroes on the pitch before their game against Newcastle United on Monday.
Everton captain Phil Jagielka carried the robot, which fed panoramic live images and sound back to Jack’s tablet.
A microphone enabled him to chat with players in the Goodison Park tunnel.
The robot, called AV1, was made by Norwegian firm No Isolation and was designed to help youngsters with long-term illness battle loneliness and attend school from home.
The company has worked with UK charity WellChild to give Liverpool teenager Jack, who has much-reduced mobility, an unforgettable experience.
Jack needs oxygen 24 hours a day which means he can never attend a match at Goodison Park, even though he lives just under two miles away.
His mother Michelle Wignall said it was a “once in a lifetime experience” for her son.
Everton’s head of engagement Scott McLeod said: “We are thrilled to have had the chance to do this for Jack and we hope it has provided him with a memory he will always treasure.”
Karen Dolva, chief executive and co-founder of No Isolation, said: “For Jack, the dream of being a mascot for his favourite football club was not likely to happen given his condition.”