Manchester City’s treble winning heroes were welcomed back home by thousands of ecstatic fans last night.
Thunder clouds gathered and the rain poured down but the city centre was a sea of sky blue as the players paraded their trio of trophies.
And all three pieces of silverware were held aloft as the players toured the city in an open-topped bus.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United were treble winning champions in 1999.
And almost a quarter of a century later, the blue of half of Manchester celebrated the same incredible achievement.
Fans from across the country lined the streets from early afternoon.
Danielle and Danny Lawton from Hereford arrived six hours before the start of the parade.
The lifelong City fans, originally from Oldham, wanted their sons Bentley, 10, and Jenson, eight, to experience what may be a once in a lifetime event.
“It is all about making memories for them” said Danielle.
Husband Danny added: “The treble might never happen again. If any team can repeat it, it will be City, but it is hard to do.”
Paul Brooks, 46, a Manchester United fan, from Chorley, Lancs, had brought his sky blue supporting son Finlay (corr), 11, along to the parade.
Salesman Paul had watched United’s treble winning homecoming in 1999 and wanted his boy, whose favourite player is Erling Haaland, to have the same experience.
“My memories of that day in 99 are a bit hazy to be honest” laughed Paul.
“But hopefully this will stay with him for a long time.”
Life long City fan Thomas Broughton, 72, was with his grandson, also Thomas Broughton, 12.
The ex postie from Bolton said: “I’m filling up. I never thought I would see a day like this.
“We had some good days in the late sixties and early seventies but then there was nothing for a long time. This is just incredible.”
Laughing and pointing at his grandson, he added: “He has never seen them lose. He thinks it will always be like this.”
Season ticket holder Emma Taylor, joined her partner Andy Tebbutt and their son River, six, along the parade route.
River held aloft a replica of the Champions League trophy, which Emma admitted she had made for City’s previous final appearance, when they were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea in 2021.
“It has been in storage ever since but I knew it would be used one day” she laughed.
Anne Davies, 59, her daughter Amy Brown, 35, and Amy’s children Annalynn, five, and one year old Kyray, had travelled from their home in Fleetwood, Lancs.
“We are lifelong City fans. I was born a Blue” said Anne.
Her mum added: “I used to watch them in the days of Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee. They were good days but not as good as this.”
Jenny Thorne, 33, from Sale, Greater Manchester, was with her sons Finley, six, and Freddie, eight, and her mum Stella Thorne.
Freddie is a Red but he wore sky blue to show support for his City supporting little brother.
“Doing the treble is really hard, this is special” he said.
And his mum added: “We are here for all of Manchester, it is our city and the players have done us proud.”
The bus made its way slowly through the city centre in torrential rain, as supporters, packed 15 deep in places and soaked to the skin, cheered themselves hoarse.
City clinched the treble with a 1-0 win over Inter Milan in Istanbul on Saturday to become Kings of Europe for the first time in their history.
And many of the players refused to go to bed and celebrated until dawn before flying back to the UK.
But instead of getting a few hours sleep, some then boarded a private jet straight to Ibiza to continue their celebrations, before arriving back in Manchester yesterday.
The group, which included Norwegian striker Erling Haaland and England star Jack Grealish, partied at the Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel in the resort of Playa d'en Bossa.
Other players, including Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Stefan Ortega, stayed in the UK and enjoyed a meal with club staff at Manchester’s Chinese restaurant Tattu on Sunday night.
Earlier several City stars were pictured travelling by tram into the city centre before boarding the open-topped bus.
The start of the parade was delayed for 30 minutes because of the weather.