Sussex

Brighton & Hove Albion promotion stars parade along seafront

Players on the bus Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The players arrived to euphoric scenes as thousands lined the seafront to cheer them on

Thousands of Brighton & Hove Albion fans have been celebrating their sporting heroes' success at a parade along the city's seafront.

The club has achieved Premier League promotion, 34 years after reaching the FA Cup Final before being relegated.

An open-top bus with the Seagulls players on board slowly made its way along the seafront to Hove Lawns.

Brighton owner Tony Bloom said the club was grateful to be allowed to celebrate with fans in this way.

'Crazy boss'

Euphoric supporters cheered, blasted horns and waved blue and white flags as the convoy passed them.

Brighton captain Bruno said the experience on the bus was "crazy boss, crazy, unbelievable".

Defender Uwe Hunemeier, also said: "In my football career I have never seen anything like that. It was amazing, it was nice to be part of that, I really enjoyed it."

It took about two and a half hours for the bus to crawl along the seafront from the Palace Pier to Hove Lawns, where players greeted fans on a specially-erected stage.

From brink of disaster to the Premier League

How players and fans celebrated promotion

Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption The convoy made its way to Hove Lawns where the players were introduced to fans

A huge security operation was in place, with bag searches, a ban on glass bottles and alcohol restrictions.

Fans have been tweeting from the event.

Tom Williams tweeted: "Loving the scenes from the #albionparade the streets I grew up in and the club I grew up with. Can't beat a sunny Sunday in Brighton."

Chris Sanderson tweeted simply: "WHAT AN ATMOSPHERE!"

Jonathan Bradshaw tweeted: "Do I really get to call this town home? #lucky #BHAFC #promotion"

And Rob Bootle added: "Massive atmosphere at Hove Lawns right now for the #bhafc promotion parade. HUGE!"

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thousands waited for the arrival of their local heroes
Image copyright PA
Image caption Brighton basked in sunshine as the fans waited patiently for the bus to arrive
Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption The bus made its way to Hove Lawns where players greeted fans on a specially-erected stage
Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption Players celebrated the promotion on the stage in front of thousands in Hove

'Incredible journey'

The club last played in the old First Division in 1983 - they reached the FA Cup Final that year but got relegated.

In 1997, the club had to sell the Goldstone Ground to pay off some of its debts.

It spent two seasons 70 miles away, at Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium.

The club then moved to the Withdean Stadium in 1999 - a council-owned athletics track in the suburbs of Brighton.

Chairman Tony Bloom's arrival eight years ago paved the way for their new permanent home at the Amex stadium and the success that followed.

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