LONDON, England ● Tens of thousands of fans have been cheering Chelsea’s Champions League-winning squad on a parade through the streets of west London, reports the BBC.
The team, on two open-top buses, began the procession from its Stamford Bridge home up to Parsons Green.
The Blues secured victory in a clash with four-time cup winners Bayern Munich in Germany, on Saturday. Chelsea won 4-3 on penalties.
It is the first time a London football club has won the European cup.
There was a definite atmosphere of good-hearted mischief in the air.
Everybody got hold of bags of celery from somewhere, and fistfuls were being hurled about.
When a man with a passing resemblance to Boris Johnson appeared at a window with a glass of white wine he was positively bombarded with the sticks, amid cries of “Boris, give us a wave”.
One man managed to clamber onto the roof of a moving ambulance – quite a feat.
Another was selling rolls of Arsenal lavatory paper at £5 a pop. Suffice to say, business was brisk.
Supporters dangled from every lamppost, while the crowd was a sea of blue and white flags.
But the real emotion was saved for the arrival of the open-top bus – a guttural, feral roar of triumph that hurt the eardrums.
The chant of “Championes, Championes” echoed through the streets of Fulham.
This was the moment Chelsea fans have waited years for and they were clearly going to enjoy it.
Players, interim manager Roberto di Matteo and the club’s owner Roman Abramovich were onboard the first bus as it made its way through the streets.
The bus stopped at Eel Brook Common where team members spoke to the thousands of waiting fans.
Captain John Terry, who did not play on Saturday after being suspended, took the microphone first and began chanting victory slogans, with fans joining in, as the players on the bus took turns to address them.
Fans sang “Happy Birthday” to goalkeeper Petr Cech and Didier Drogba, who scored two goals in the nail-biting final, sang back “We are the Champions”.
Supporters then chanted “We want you to stay”, at the prompt of club staff on the bus.
Speaking to the crowd Frank Lampard, who was the captain in the final, said: “We’ve been here a long time waiting to win this thing and it was the most amazing night of all of our careers.
“And we’re just so pleased to come back here and celebrate with all our fans.
“You’ve been amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The best club in the world – easy.”
Fans dressed in the Chelsea strip created a sea of blue all along the route of the parade.
And as the cup was handed to di Matteo, a huge cheer went up in the crowd.
The team’s bus, decked in club colours with Champions of Europe written in the front, stopped all the way along the route as players lift the trophy for their supporters.
Fans waved flags and threw celery at the players, as a mark of respect – a tradition that began in the late 1980s, when supporters started throwing sticks in the air, accompanied by a song.
David and Mary Fergus had travelled from Southampton, Hampshire, to be at the parade.
Mr Fergus, 40, an IT consultant, said: “I’m still blinking in disbelief that we actually won it.
“We definitely rode our luck but I think it was one of those things that was written in the stars.
“A great atmosphere here and I hope the lads on the bus enjoy today, they’ve earned it.”
Close to 70,000 fans turned out for Chelsea’s last victory parade in 2010 after the team won the Premier League and FA Cup.