Manchester united in its celebrations

Manchester City given the green light to hold an open-topped bus parade though the city centre on May 23.

Manchester City supporters celebrate their side's FA Cup final victory at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. The team will have a victory parade through the city of Manchester on May 23.
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Fans were dancing in the streets until the wee hours yesterday after Manchester City secured their first trophy in 35 years.

And they will be doing it all again next Monday evening when the team parades the FA Cup on an open-topped bus through Manchester's city centre.

The one notable absentee from the celebrations was Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, the man credited with turning round the Blues' fortunes since his purchase of the club in September 2008. He had hoped to fly to London for the final against Stoke City but business prevented his doing so. Instead, he was represented at the game by Khaldoon al Mubarak, the City chairman.

"We owe it all to him," one happy fan said yesterday. "And this is just the start. Don't forget, we qualified for the Champions League last week, too. The red side of Manchester had better watch out - this is truly the birth of the Blues."

Not that Manchester United's fans were unhappy with their lot, having secured a record 19th league title shortly before City kicked off at Wembley Stadium, prompting hundreds of fans to gather for an impromptu celebration at Old Trafford.

Similar scenes of joy were repeated at Eastlands a little later in the day as supporters unable to get tickets for the final congregated outside the main entrance to the ground.

"I'm happy for the supporters," said Roberto Mancini, the City manager. "For a long time they didn't win. My feeling is good but it is more important that their feeling is good, too."

But while the fans toasted their team's success on the streets of both Manchester and London, there were no such celebrations for the players who were put back on a coach for Manchester shortly after receiving the trophy at Wembley, to prepare for their penultimate league match of the season tomorrow. Garry Cook, City's chief executive, yesterday hailed the achievements of the club. "Saturday was a truly historic occasion for Manchester City Football Club," he said, adding that he hoped fans would turn out in their tens of thousands for next week's victory parade.

Sir Richard Leese, the leader of the Manchester City Council who gave the green light for the parade, said: "City winning the FA Cup is a joyous occasion for many people in Manchester, myself included.

"It's only fitting that we host a public celebration of that achievement so fans can share the moment and enjoy the success.

"Manchester's football clubs are a huge source of pride, helping to project the city's name around the world, and we expect some unforgettable scenes on May 23 as thousands of City fans gather to acclaim their team."

United fans will have their own chance to celebrate at a parade through the city centre on May 30 when they hope the players will not only be holding the league title aloft, but the Champions League, too. Though Barcelona might have other ideas about that.