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Happy Mother's Day, From AOF x

Happy Mother's Day, From AOF x
My daughter Billie and I sit in the West Stand Lower at the Amex. Behind us are two sisters. To the left a husband and wife. More married couples in the row below. 
Cast my mind back 40 years to the Goldstone Ground, and there were barely any women in the ground.  
Then, if you were a woman at the football, people assumed you were there simply to ogle at the players. To be honest, I wasn’t that interested in them – or football. But I was interested in spending time with my dad.
Those Saturday afternoons were precious. Leaning on the barrier. Discussing tactics. Stuff that was going on at school. Or anything at all really. Happy days, no matter what was happening on the pitch.
When my oldest daughter Billie was born. I knew that football would probably be part of our lives, but I didn’t want to force it. No ‘Born to Support Brighton’ babygro for her. No Zamora as a middle name. 
Sure, she played her part in saving the club. She was taken in a carrier on the protest march to the FA headquarters. And there for the Div 2 Play Off final in Cardiff. But it was ultimately simply a matter of waiting to hear the words “Can I come too please Mum?”
And she did. And she stayed. Over 20 years of highs and lows. Getting soaked in Row Z in our temporary home at Withdean before becoming a season ticket holder at the Amex. 
We’ve shared tears of frustration and tears of joy. Promotions and play off losses. And now, most thrilling of all, European football. We can hardly believe it.
When you think of a mother and daughter activity, you might think of shopping or a spa day. For us, the football is the perfect place to spend time together. You don’t even have to book it in, or worry that months have slipped by without ‘seeing your mum’. Our mother-daughter date is there on the fixture list every few weeks.
We get there early – me from Worthing and Billie from London. We watch the players warming up. Catch up on our latest news. Discuss the team selection. Or simply stare at our phones in companionable silence. 
There’s no pressure to talk about anything important, but often it comes tumbling out. An illness. A friend issue. A problem at work. 
For us, it’s better than any spa day or shopping trip. It’s football and it’s brought us closer as mother and daughter.
To all the football mums, we see you.
Words by Kay. 

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