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Heroes' welcome for triumphant Chelsea

Published: Sunday 20 May 2012, 19.00CET
West London came to a standstill on Sunday afternoon as UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea FC returned home to parade their silverware to tens of thousands of Blues fans.
Heroes' welcome for triumphant Chelsea
Chelsea parade the UEFA Champions League trophy in west London ©Getty Images
Published: Sunday 20 May 2012, 19.00CET

Heroes' welcome for triumphant Chelsea

West London came to a standstill on Sunday afternoon as UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea FC returned home to parade their silverware to tens of thousands of Blues fans.

Tens of thousands of Chelsea FC fans lined the streets on Sunday afternoon as the UEFA Champions League winners paraded their trophy – alongside the FA Cup – around west London.

It is the second time in two years that the victorious Chelsea players have ridden a pair of bold blue buses down Kings Road to celebrate winning a cup double. But it is the first time in their 107-year history that the Blues have celebrated winning the European Champions Clubs' Cup, and a sea of jubilant fans lined the streets to participate in the special moment.

Around 70,000 fans turned out to watch Chelsea parade their domestic double back in 2010, and despite 25,000 Blues fans returning from their trip to Munich, that number was rivalled on Sunday afternoon, west London reduced to a standstill to watch the squad travel from their Stamford Bridge home to Parson's Green.

Of course, the celebrations in the capital began on Saturday night, the moment Didier Drogba sent Manuel Neuer the wrong way with the last penalty in the UEFA Champions League final shoot-out to gift his side the trophy. It was a momentous occasion for London which, despite being a historic football city, had never before been home to European club champions.

It was also an emotional day for Chelsea supporters who, despite having had plenty to celebrate since the arrival of owner Roman Abramovich in 2003, have suffered their share of disappointment in this competition. The Blues have been eliminated at the semi-final stage of this competition in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009, while they reached the UEFA Champions League final back in 2008 only to lose on penalties to Manchester United FC.

All that heartache looked a distant memory however, when the bus stopped for a short period at Eel Brook Common, and captain John Terry led his players in serenading the throngs gathered beneath with a version of 'Campéones, campéones'.

The microphone was then passed around the top deck for each of the stars to say a few words. A version of 'Happy birthday' was chanted for goalkeeper Petr Cech, who turned 30, while "Hello geezers" was David Luiz's greeting for the fans, before he offered his rendition of the famous Chelsea song 'Blue is the colour'.

Eventually the microphone reached manager Roberto Di Matteo, who had twice won the FA Cup and lifted the 1998 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup as a Chelsea player. He wasted little time in urging the fans to enjoy the moment. "We have waited a long time for this," said Di Matteo. "So celebrate today because it is a fantastic day for Chelsea football club, champions of Europe." 

Frank Lampard, who captained the side to victory in Munich in place of the suspended Terry, expressed his gratitude. "This is the best club in the world," he said. "And this is the most amazing moment in all of our careers. It is brilliant to come back and celebrate it with all of our fans – thank you!"  

Last updated: 21/05/12 10.18CET

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