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How I Grew to Love Women's Football

08/07/2015 12:29 BST | Updated 06/07/2016 10:59 BST

I've just finished reporting the Women's World Cup and England having the most successful world cup in a generation (I wasn't born in 1990 so it is at least a generation to me).

During the whole competition I only missed two games and that was either because of not wanting to multi-screen matches or not having the staying power until 5am. I covered the games not just on twitter but in a national newspaper as well and it was incredibly satisfying.

Many people though seem bewildered by my interest in football and my growing involvement in both the men's and women's game. It really shouldn't be a surprise at all though.

During primary school I was one of the few girls that was allowed to or wanted to join in playing football with the lads at break-time. I'd go home and play football with a different group of friends and on a weekend too. Even during high school I used to have a kick about with people that lived nearby. But apart from that small group of people that witnessed that nobody really ever knew about it.

I still remember going to my school for the 2002 World Cup before school for a specially put on breakfast club so that we could all watch it. The Brazil game that knocked us out of the competition will always stick in my head and I can even tell you I had a croissant and orange juice for breakfast that day sitting on the floor of the junior hall.

The minute I went to high school, teachers became overly protective. Because of my heart condition I was allowed to do nothing more than referee (and I can tell you I was hated from it - nobody likes the referee, especially not the girl that never plays and is in charge of a whistle) so it seemed to most people like sport and football were never really my things.

By the end of high school my love of football had retreated so far inside myself that it took several years to come back out and it wasn't until surrounded by football and football chat constantly by a specific group of friends that it was able to return to my conscious.

Opportunities kept arising to get involved in writing and talking about men's football and I snapped them up. Eventually the chance came for me to get involved in reporting women's football and again I jumped at the chance without a moments hesitation.

In the space of a year I went from feeling like a shy and saddened outsider to somebody that was involved in something I loved and enjoyed. I've ended up putting my absolute all into reporting and commenting on football because it's the only way I can be involved and inside something that matters so much to me.

I'm beyond delighted at the performance the women's team put into the world cup and I'm pleased to see it has motivated a nation, inspired young people and given others hope that not all England football teams are utter rubbish.

And now the world cup is over I will resume going to WSL, WPL and cup games to watch, enjoy and report on as well as going to a bunch of men's games as well. I'm hoping that when I do return there will be an increased turnout for the women's matches and not just for the next couple of weeks but through the rest of the season and years to come.

But above all the success of the England team and their result increasing the legitimacy of the game in the country means a lot on a personal level. I'm hoping it means people will mock me less for choosing to cover and respect women's football as much as men's. Having an interest and job that is suddenly viewed as credible rather than a bit of a limp subject makes me hope that people will not need to hold back the laughter as much. Now all domestic women's football needs is better funding, more support and to be on something a bit more credible than BT Sport.

Though of course it probably means I need to come up with a more niche sport to like if I ever want to be a sports journalist but really I can't complain as I'd go through the late nights, the nail biting, the falling off the edge of my seat sitting, the squeals and face in hands all over again just to be able to witness the rise in appreciation of the women's game.