Ecstatic welcome home for Blues
- Mon 23 May 2011, 10:29PM
- Posted by David Clayton
City’s homecoming parade saw the Manchester city centre turn sky blue as an estimated 100,000 City fans turned out to welcome the FA Cup winners home.
The Blue masses waved their flags, banners and bananas all along the official route back to the City of Manchester Stadium with the players loving every minute of it, joining in songs, chants and waving to the adoring masses.
The open-top bus journey took two hours to travel the four miles from a packed Albert Square back to Eastlands where they were then met by around 30,000 ecstatic fans on the final few hundred yards to the Stadium.
“It was incredible,” said manager Roberto Mancini. “I knew we had fantastic support but it is still amazing. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of many such days like this.”
Inevitably, skipper Carlos Tevez was singled out for some of the loudest cheers, but Nigel de Jong, Pablo Zabaleta and Mancini weren’t far behind. Perhaps the loudest roar of the afternoon was saved for Academy graduate Shaun Wright-Phillips as he came out of the Manchester Town Hall to board the bus.
“I know what this means to our fans and I’m just so happy to be part of it,” said Shaun.
It’s been an emotional day but a fantastic occasion and one I’ll never forget
The players were fed and watered on their arrival while the 40,000 City fans inside the Stadium waited for a first glimpse of their heroes.
After Tony Book, Francis Lee, Glyn Pardoe and Mike Summerbee had addressed the crowd the players were finally introduced – in groups of three – on to the pitch to a rapturous reception.
“We dedicate this trophy to our fans,” said Mancini to deafening cheers before the players did a lap of honour to the backdrop of a stadium-wide Poznan.
The spectacular event was completed with a stunning firework display that lit up the Manchester skyline on an unforgettable day for City fans everywhere - a day the city turned sky blue.