Manchester City FA Cup parade: Fans cheer players

Fans followed the bus as it made its way through the city centre

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Thousands of Manchester City supporters lined the streets to cheer their FA Cup-winning team for the club's first victory parade in 35 years.

City are celebrating winning silverware and finishing third in the league, securing a Champions League place.

Members of the squad were greeted by cheering, flag-waving supporters at Albert Square before boarding an open-top bus to make their way to Eastlands.

Club captain Carlos Tevez gave fans the thumbs up sign as it set off.

Police expected up to 100,000 supporters to gather in Albert Square, line the route out to Eastlands and fill the City of Manchester stadium.

About 10,000 fans had queued from early afternoon to get a prime spot in Albert Square in front of the Town Hall where the parade began.

'Surreal' experience

Among them was Laura Carroll, 27, from Wythenshawe, who attended the event with her partner Gary Humphreys, from Timperley.

Chris Morrison and son, Louis

Fans gathered in the city from across Greater Manchester

She said: "It was absolutely brilliant. To see the kids' faces and all the people that support City. Best day ever in Manchester."

Chris Morrison, 40, of Urmston, watched the players depart with his seven-year-old son, Louis.

"It was amazing seeing the cup so close up, as well as seeing all the players. We went to Wembley - that was a great experience - but we weren't as close as this," he said.

"It's something I thought I'd just never see growing up as a child and watching the FA Cup. It's quite surreal, it still hasn't quite sunk in yet."

City manager Roberto Mancini and the players emerged from a civic reception to huge cheers from the crowd in front of Manchester Town Hall.

Defender Vincent Kompany told delirious fans: "I'm just so happy, so happy we made it, guys."

Despite earlier wet conditions, the rain held off as the players set off on their tour at 1820 BST with supporters delivering a rousing rendition of the the club's anthem, Blue Moon.

'Ups and downs'

Among the fans attending the event was Gordon Campbell, 60, from Bolton, who has supported the club since he was five years old.

"We've been through a lots of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, but hopefully we are moving on now," he said.

"It means a hell of a lot really because my parents supported them before I did, and my grandfather, so there has been a long tradition of supporting City. And I think it's a tremendous occasion."

A number of roads, including Princess Street, Portland Street and Newton Street were closed to traffic as the bus made its way towards the stadium.

The all-ticket event for fans at the stadium included former players, special guests, and live music.

At about 2105 BST, players were welcomed with rapturous applause, cheers and pyrotechnics as they walked down the tunnel along a blue carpet into the stadium.

The players and staff then walked around the stadium to greet the crowd, before a spectacular firework display which brought the event to a close at about 2140 BST.

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