South East Wales

Cardiff City: Thousands cheer players at Championship celebrations in bay

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Media captionCardiff players paraded the cup to the adulation of thousands of fans

Around 25,000 Cardiff City fans have cheered their team at the end of a day of sunshine celebrations across the city marking their promotion to the Premier League.

The players were presented on stage in Cardiff Bay after their trophy was first paraded by the Welsh Guards.

Earlier, an open-top bus convoy carried the squad from Cardiff Castle.

Manager Malky Mackay lead his team out and Craig Bellamy was lifted high with the cup.

The day of celebration was then rounded off with a fireworks display over the bay.

Image caption Craig Bellamy is carried shoulder high down High Street carrying the cup

The official Cardiff City celebrations began much earlier with the team walking from Cardiff Castle where thousands of fans gathered to greet and cheer them.

Craig Bellamy was lifted high into the air carrying the trophy, before an open-top bus parade left from St Mary St.

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Media captionCardiff City celebrated their Premier League promotion with thousands of fans

After a journey through the city accompanied by many fans, the three-bus convoy stopped close to the Wales Millennium Centre as thousands of people surged around and the cup was repeatedly shown up and dangled to the cheering crowd.

The players were ushered away for a reception hosted by Education Minister Leighton Andrews, a keen Bluebirds fan, in his capacity as Rhondda AM.

Then, as darkness fell, the Football League trophy was paraded by members of the Welsh Guards before being presented to Malky Mackay by Cardiff council leader Heather Joyce on the stage.

Image caption Cardiff City FC on the open-top bus parade through the centre of Cardiff

All traffic was stopped from going into the bay area as the crowds thronged around.

Former first minister Rhodri Morgan and his wife, Cardiff North AM Julie Morgan, were among Cardiff's well-known fans spotted in the crowd, with Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan.

Among the many who travelled to see the promotion-winning team, were Ian and Lisa Williams from Cefn Cribwr, Bridgend county, and their children Ioan, seven, Ethan, three and Cody, eight months.

Mrs Williams said: "It's been a fantastic day and so good for the kids. We got here early and brought our own picnic."

Image caption Cardiff City"s Craig Noone, Mark Hudson and Aron Gunnarsson with the cup

She added: "The children were excited to come because they know that daddy goes to football all the time and it was good for them to see what that was about.

"Daddy loves football so much Ethan's middle name is Ninian (the name of Cardiff's former ground)."

Jane Fenner, from Canton, Cardiff joined the celebration with her husband Mark, daughter Anwen, 11, and sons Dafydd, nine, and Tomos, six.

She said: "We got here late because we were at a rugby tournament in Usk for Dafydd. My husband was a bit panicky in case we missed it."

But the family arrived in time to see the buses arrive with the cup. Relaxing after the team had moved on, Mrs Fenner said; "It reminded me of the Olympics last year, it's a carnival atmosphere."

Image caption Fireworks over Cardiff Bay at the end of the celebrations

The team secured promotion to the Premier League last month after staying at the top of the Championship since November last year.

It came exactly 53 years to the day Cardiff last won promotion to football's top tier.

Former schoolboy Cardiff City goalkeeper David Sherwood, 47, from Pontypridd with his son David Mico-Sherwood, awaited the start of the parade with the rest of the crowd.

He played as a City youth goalie from 12 to 16 and said he could not have imagined a day like this.

"I started playing football at seven. I'm still playing 40 years later. I just love football. Its psychotic but a nice psychotic," he said.

"Forget the lottery, this means more to me. "

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