Manchester United victory parade 'worth it' for fans

By Chris Long
BBC News

  • Published

Having been defeated at Wembley two days before and with Manchester's stereotypical rain teeming down, you could be forgiven for thinking United's legions of supporters might not be up for a victory parade.

The reality at Old Trafford could not have been further from the truth.

"Nineteen titles is still amazing and well worth celebrating," said Graham Rigby.

He and his family drove in from Wigan to join the throng at Manchester United's ground.

"We're season ticket holders, lifelong supporters and all love United - why wouldn't we be here?"

His sentiment is one echoed throughout the crowd at the famous old stadium, many of whom have forgone the start of the parade at Manchester Cathedral to see their idols as they make the journey past their home.

As a result, along Sir Matt Busby Way, it feels like a match day.

Scarves and flags are being sold by the dozen, burger vans are set up ready to feed the soggy hordes and all around the sound of air horns can be heard.

Image caption,
Jolie Welsh missed the treble parade so was desperate to see this one

Nineteen-year-old Jolie Welsh from Manchester wouldn't be anywhere else.

"I wasn't allowed to go to the treble parade - my mum wouldn't take me out of school for it - so there was no way I was going to miss this."

"My family gave up a weekend away to come to this."

The mention of the treble is one of only a small number of references to European football that can be heard.

The majority of those lining the parade route up to the ground are concentrating on their team's record-breaking 19th league title, waving flags emblazoned with one word - champions.

Not everyone is there for such reasons though.

For Rose and Tom Gurang from Sale, it is a chance to see their first victory parade.

"You don't see these every day, do you?" says Mr Gurang.

Image caption,
Saif Ullah had been ready for the parade for four hours before arriving

"Being able to see the players up close and them reacting to you, that's great.

"We don't mind the rain - it's worth it."

It is the Ullah family from Manchester that sum up the atmosphere and the reasons why neither defeat in the Champions League nor unending rain was ever going to spoil the day.

Dressed in a variety of hats, scarves and kits, the four siblings are grinning and getting ready to cheer.

"I've been a Manchester United supporter since I was three," says eldest sister, 27-year-old Saima.

"I wasn't going to miss this, whatever the weather."

She points at her younger brother, eight-year-old Saif.

"He's been up and dressed in his kit since six o'clock this morning - that's how much it means to us to be here."

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