Manchester City's victory parade expected to attract thousands‎

 

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The Independent Online

Jubilant Manchester City fans have been warned by police not to let tonight's victory parade celebrations get out of hand.

Tens of thousands of the team's supporters are expected to fill Manchester's streets tonight as they celebrate the club's first top-flight title in 44 years.

The players will parade through the city centre in an open-top bus following yesterday's last-gasp win over Queens Park Rangers which saw them pip arch-rivals Manchester United to the crown.

Police have urged City fans to ensure the event is a great occasion for all the right reasons and urged supporters to enjoy themselves in a responsible manner.

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said: "Yesterday was a momentous day in the history of Manchester City, so its fans are quite rightly planning to celebrate their success.

"It's been 44 years since their last league championship so fans will want to let off some steam and we would never try and discourage supporters enjoying themselves.

"We would simply say that people should drink sensibly and ensure they get to the city centre in plenty of time to enjoy the event.

"I would also remind supporters to take note of the on-street alcohol ban restricting drinking alcohol in public places.

"The parade will be attended by a lot of families and I would urge all those attending to enjoy the unique atmosphere but behave in a responsible way."

Yesterday saw the most dramatic finish to one of the closest title races ever.

City looked to be down and out against the Premier League strugglers with just minutes remaining, but strikes from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero saw them win 3-2 to top the table ahead of United, who won 1-0 at Sunderland.

At the start of the final day, just goal difference separated the teams, so a United win at Sunderland would mean City had to win at home to take the prize.

City went ahead through Pablo Zabaleta, but fell behind to goals from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie, before injury-time winners from Dzeko and Aguero saw them home.

Dan Walters, 25, from Sale, Manchester, said: "I have lost my voice. This is incredible. I was at Wembley when we played Gillingham and we did it then in similar circumstances. I was wearing this same shirt. I think the shirt is cursed! We can only do it the hard way. But we have done it. It is brilliant, incredible."

Paul Fletcher, 40, from Manchester, said: "It's unbelievable. It was Gillingham all over again for me. United had won, but what a finish. It's been 44 years of hurt and I've been coming for 34 of them. I'm going to enjoy tonight, and tomorrow, and the summer."

Tracy Book, 46, from Northwich, Cheshire, said: "I'm Tony Book's daughter. He was the last captain to win the league. I'm very proud. I've been a City fan all my life, born and bred. I can't believe it."

Victorious manager Roberto Mancini said: "We had a lot of chances. We deserved to win this championship. It is a crazy season and crazy last minute."

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson congratulated City on their achievement.

He told BBC Sport: "Nobody expected that. Everybody expected City to win, but they did it against 10 men for half an hour and with five extra minutes to help them.

"But I congratulate City on winning the league. Anybody who wins it deserves it, because it's a long haul.

"At the end of our game our players didn't actually know the results. Now, they're really disappointed, I'm glad to say.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "Having the city's two clubs contest the title has brought Manchester worldwide attention and helped boost tourism revenues.

"It's been a nail-biting finish to the season and the council stood ready to support a parade whichever club triumphed.

"This parade is an opportunity for Man City fans, who have experienced countless ups and downs over the years, to celebrate a resounding success.

"We expect tens of thousands to take to the streets and enjoy an historic moment."

The event will begin at 6pm from Albert Square outside the town hall, before the open-top bus leaves at 6.30pm, taking a 1.8 mile route through the city centre.

The route will be Albert Square, Princess Street, Portland Street, Deansgate, St Mary's Gate and Corporation Street.

Some travel disruption from late afternoon is expected as roads are closed for the parade.

PA

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