Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Fans turnout in their thousands for AFCB Victory Parade

Like me you probably thought it was too good an opportunity to miss the AFCB team and the sight of the Championship trophy on a Bank Holiday Monday when all you had to do was make your way to the beach. For some of us that beach was further away than for others but having made it down to the south coast I first popped into the club store to see if they had some flags. Sadly not, all sold out over the weekend! Okay, but it was still worth being at Dean Court at 9.30 as Artur Boruc came into view and signed my copy of the Echo's Monday special Champions edition. Not a bad start to the day I thought. 
Yann celebrates with arms aloft.
Then it was off to the beach where I met some familiar faces including some of the stewards usually standing by the family stand and a three or four fans who usually sit nearby in the Family stand who picked me out pretty quickly despite my red wig disguise!
Crowds assemble at Boscombe Pier approach. 
Robert, Stephen and myself had decided to walk down Sea Road and  head away from Boscombe Pier towards the Bournemouth Pier end along the sand, having been clobbered for a Premier League flag. It was reasonably busy at the Boscombe end at around 10am so we were pleased just to take photos of people and chat as we went along. It became a lot busier once we got to the lifts and had passed some zig-zags. Having written AFCB and Cherry Chimes in the sand we waited for the double bus carrying the players. We weren't quite expecting such a rush of people to come past at the same time as fans gathered with the bus as it moved along and it was like being taken away with the tide, but all a very joyous experience. Brett Pitman was quick to put out his thumb at the mention of his name and with Tommy Elphick happy to dangle the trophy over the front of the bus I thought I that silverware must be insured for a lot of money and I bet it has picked up a few dents and scratches. Meanwhile, Dan Gosling was hanging on off the side.
Brett Pitman gives me the thumbs up for my red wig.
Jeff thinks our red hair is very amusing.
We're Premier League!

We managed to get ahead of the bus again to get some more pictures before it came to a stop and the speeches could begin, at least if the mic would work. Eddie Howe was able to look out on thousands of fans but was stopped mid-flow. Eddie Howe tried his best to remember all the team names. Each player got aloud cheer including Cherry Bear. There was a special interview carried out by Sky presenter Bianca Westwood who asked Tommy Elphick to join her.While the mic was playing up a bit, Tommy was ready to step in when it went array with a "Championi!"  

Tommy gets the crowd going.

Nothing to fear about the Premier League.

Jeff thanks everyone.
The only person who perhaps did not get the biggest of welcomes was Mayor and Southampton supporter Chris Mayne, but Jeff Mostyn had a new rock star look and a few perfect words for him including asking him to pick up the tab for all this. The turnout was expected to be about 20,000 according to BBC Radio Solent from their morning broadcast. I had expected more like 40,000 pairs of feet, but listening to the news later in the day figures of 50-60,000 people were being bandied about. Everyone just wanted to say "thank you to the Cherries!"

All I know is that it was a sea of Red and Black and if it had ended with every getting a touch of the silver jug, you know people would have formed an orderly queue. One lucky fan did get his clutches on the trophy and I am sure it made his day. Many though will have been just glad to catch a glimpse of their favourite player and of course Eddie Howe on the big screen. If you did not take a camera and did not get to see much I have put some pictures up on Match Day Gallery.

My friend Michael Dunne and fellow AFCB fan as well as the All Departments and Matchday Analyst chats with some Americans on the Soccertes' podcast (this is also on Cherry Cimes sidebar to listen to) about AFCB's successful season. You'll hear Michael after about 15.30 minutes of the podcast.

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