Chelsea fans pay tribute to Champions League winning players with west London parade

 

Tens of thousands of Chelsea fans will line the streets of west London today to celebrate the club's historic Champions League and FA Cup double.

Hoards of jubilant supports are expected to salute their heroes during a victory open-top bus parade less than 24 hours after the Blues' dramatic Champions League penalty triumph in Munich.

The rolling procession will kick off from Stamford Bridge at 4pm with interim manager Roberto Di Matteo, captain John Terry and the rest of the double-winning Chelsea team set to display their newly-won silverware.

The Blues were crowned European club champions for the first time in their history after a dramatic penalty shoot-out in Germany last night.

They overcame Bayern Munich in their home stadium after the match went to extra time.

Around 25,000 Chelsea fans packed behind one of the goals in the Allianz Arena, while many more crammed into bars in London and around the UK to follow the action live on TV.

Even Prime Minister David Cameron managed to catch the nail-biting shoot-out, watching the drama unfold alongside German chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders at the G8 summit at Camp David.

Didier Drogba was Chelsea's hero, scoring the equalising goal in the dying minutes of normal time and netting the spot-kick to win the shootout 4-3.

It followed his match-winning goal which saw the west Londoners overcome Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley earlier this month.

Drogba was nearly the villain last night when he conceded a penalty in the first half of extra time, but Dutchman Arjen Robben's shot was saved by Chelsea's other hero on the night, goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Roman Abramovich, the club's owner, joined in the celebrations from the stands.

The team's last victory parade saw around 70,000 excited fans flock to the streets to celebrate the club's 2010 Premier League and FA Cup double.

Today's bus celebration will follow the same route, travelling along streets including Fulham Road and King's Road before ending in Parsons Green.

Local roads will be restricted and some closed to traffic from early this morning until the crowds disperse, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham said.

Councillor Nick Botterill, H&F Council Deputy Leader, said: “Chelsea's historic Champions League and FA Cup double is a monumental achievement that will never be forgotten in these parts.

“Like a phoenix from the flames Roberto Di Matteo turned around what could have been a disappointing year for the Blues to deliver the top prize in world club football to west London.

“This will forever be remembered as the year the Blues achieved their European destiny.”

PA

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