The first transgender woman to work in the Premier League received applause from the players when she returned to Bournemouth after undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
Sophie Cook had been working with the Cherries as club photographer Steve since 2012 before she underwent the transition over the summer.
"Living with the burden any longer would have killed me, so it was time to be true to myself. I couldn't keep living in the shadows. I had to tell the guys," Cook, 48, told The Mirror.
"The assistant manager called the players together and said, 'You'll probably notice our photographer has changed a little from last season, lost a bit of weight, and grown her hair out a bit. I'd like you all to meet Sophie.'
"I had no idea how they would react but suddenly the captain started clapping and the rest of the boys joined in. I haven't looked back. It feels amazing."
Cook went on to admit that she feared abuse from fans when she resumed her matchday activities but revealed that the experience had been overwhelmingly positive, saying: "It hasn't been like that at all though and I've been totally accepted by the players and fans and I am so grateful to finally just be me."body check tags ::