A celebration that will live long in the memory

Norwich City footballers celebrate going up to the Premier League on the parade bus. Picture: DENISE

Norwich City footballers celebrate going up to the Premier League on the parade bus. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

It was a day the city will never forget.

Around 50,000 Canary supporters lined the streets to celebrate a spectacular, and unlikely, promotion to the Premier League.

Fans stood anywhere there was space to watch their title-winning heroes travel past in an open top bus.

Elation and joy could be seen on the faces of City fans, in what was the culmination of a season filled with excitement and cheer.

The atmosphere and anticipation began to build at City Hall and chants of On The Ball City grew louder and louder, with scarves and flags held high above heads.

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Almost the entirety of the space had been filled by 8.30am, as supporters took to lining themselves down either side of the market, eager to get at least some glimpse of the proceedings.

TV presenter and Norwich City fan Jake Humphrey led the event at City Hall, as he welcomed the players out in separate groups, followed by majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones and then head coach Daniel Farke.

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First out was a group of four youngsters who have been so important to the success of this season – Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell, Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis.

Aarons, 19, said it had been a 'crazy season' while Todd Cantwell, from Dereham, said: 'It's surreal to be honest. That could easily have been me stood down there, I'm over the moon to be in the position I'm in now.'

After midfielder Kenny McLean appeared on the balcony wearing the mayor's hat and declaring himself the new mayor of Norwich, it was the turn of the more experienced players – Timm Klose, Tim Krul and Alexander Tettey – to address the fans.

It was fitting that an achievement made possible due to a combination of both youth and experience, that supporters of all ages, both young and old, also came together to celebrate their team's incredible season.

Whether celebrating their first or second promotion, or many more than that, all fans had the same smiling face symbolic of the delight and pride they feel towards their team.

Majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones also addressed the fans to thank them for their support.

Delia said: 'I want to say a huge thank you to all of you. It's not just this year, when we went down to League One we sold the same amount of tickets.

'This is really outstanding. Everyone feels like they've gelled together as one and I think this year the supporters are in on that. We are all one.'

Mr Wynn-Jones added: 'I've supported Norwich for well over 60 years but I can honestly say, this is the best squad and best football I've ever seen.'

Farke, in expectedly buoyant mood, then came out to the delight of the supporters who joined in with his trademark cheers, displaying the connection felt between fans and the team which Delia had spoken about so fondly.

And after Farke had spoken about his side's success this season, it was time for the highly-anticipated Championship trophy lift, sparking ecstatic celebrations which showed exactly what it means to the supporters.

Fireworks launched from the top of City Hall and yellow and green confetti covered the cheering fans below in what was a celebration that won't be forgotten.

Fans began to filter away, attempting to get the best possible spot to watch the open top bus travel past. It didn't all go to plan though, as the yellow Aviva bus which the players were supposed to travel on broke down, meaning a replacement city sightseeing bus had to be used instead.

A party atmosphere resembling a carnival was there to greet the squad as they came down Theatre Street, Red Lion Street, Upper King Street and Tombland, and ended at Palace Street, with fans chanting and applauding as the bus came past. A special season needed a fitting celebration, and this was certainly that.

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