Parade in Heaven
PUBLISHED: 16:49 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:46 23 August 2010
RAIN and overcast clouds did not dampen the spirits as hundreds of Fleet fans turned out to offer their Wembley heroes a final salute. A sea of red and white ran through the town centre as vocal Fleet fans gathered last Thursday to see the FA trophy par
RAIN and overcast clouds did not dampen the spirits as hundreds of Fleet fans turned out to offer their Wembley heroes a final salute.
A sea of red and white ran through the town centre as vocal Fleet fans gathered last Thursday to see the FA trophy paraded on an open top bus.
It was staged to celebrate Ebbsfleet United's victory over fellow Blue Square Premier outfit Torquay United at Wembley on Saturday, May 10.
Leader of Gravesham Council Mike Snelling said: "I thought it was a wonderful evening. The hundreds of people who came out in very poor weather showed just how much the Fleet are appreciated by the supporters.
"The community spirit which has been fostered by the match itself and the celebration has been a great thing for the town and the borough."
The parade left the club's Stonebridge Road ground at around 6.45pm and worked its way down Overcliffe and onto New Road before arriving at the Civic Centre on Windmill Street just after 7pm.
Manager Liam Daish and his team exited the bus to the sound of Bhangra drums provided by Jugnu Bhangra and cheers and chants from the gathered crowds.
Once on the balcony, the occasion proved to be too emotional for left-back Sacha Opinel who jumped over the barriers onto the roof triumphantly holding the trophy aloft.
Mayor of Gravesham Ken Jones was on the bus with the players.
He said: "It was a fantastic evening. I thought the support during the bus ride and along the route was wonderful in spite of the bad weather.
"It was a great night for the club and a great night for the area and hopefully it will bring more people to the borough and to the club."
The triumph marks the first time a club from Kent has won the FA Trophy.
Players are now expected to take a well deserved holiday before training starts for the following season.