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TOWN THE LATEST TO PROVIDE AUDIO HEADSETS

31 March 2017

The headsets provide live commentary for the visually impaired

Luton Town has become the latest football club to provide commentary headsets to their visually impaired fans.

They were first used during the Hatters’ home fixture against Plymouth in March.

The headsets, which were funded by the Luton Town Supporters’ Trust, provide live audio commentary for supporters who are blind or partially sighted, in order for them to understand the game.

A number of Hatters’ fans have already used the service, which is also available at a number of other clubs including Exeter City and Ipswich Town.

Before the headsets were available, carers would often have to commentate the game themselves.

For many carers, they didn’t know much about football and often got important details wrong.

Kevin Hutson, who has had a visual impairment for most of his life, used to listen to Hatters’ Player before the headsets became available.

There was around a 40-second delay on this, so often fans would be celebrating a goal, which hadn’t happened on the Player transmission yet.

“I told my wife I couldn’t listen to it anymore and I asked her to commentate for me, so that’s what she started doing,” said Mr Hutson.

“When she told me about the headsets I said I’d like to book one of them and see how it goes.

“It was fantastic.”

Sarah Batty, mother to an eight-year-old boy that uses the headsets, could immediately see the difference that the headset had made to her son’s experience at the game.

She said: “The commentary was brilliant and it really made a difference.

“He was enjoying it and knew exactly what was going on and who had the ball.

“You could see by the smile on his face after the match how much it meant to him.”

The commentary is provided by Simon Pitts, an experienced football commentator and Hatters’ fan.

“He’s brilliant with his commentary,” explained Mr Hutson.

“He will tell you the colours, whether they’re kicking from left to right or right to left.

“He’s just brilliant – an absolute godsend.”

Luton Town Football Club has often been praised in the media for their disabled facilities.

Compared to many other grounds, which are failing to meet guidelines set by the Football Stadia Improvement Fund and the Football Licensing Authority, Kenilworth Road has more seats for disabled supporters than the recommended number.

This means that more disabled fans are able to attend and enjoy games.

The addition of the headsets has further added to this, as now visually impaired supporters can enjoy the games too.

“For the age of the ground, the disabled facilities are good,” reflected Mr Hutson.

“They are also very good with their disabled supporters.

“The people at the ticket office knew me straight away and the stewards also keep an eye on us.”   


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