Thousands turn out for Northampton Saints’ Premiership title parade

By Alice CunninghamHarriet HeywoodBBC News, Northamptonshire

grey placeholderJames Burridge/BBC Thousands of fans in Northampton for the Saints Premiership celebratory paradeJames Burridge/BBC

The streets were packed with fans who came to celebrate with Northampton Saints

The parade started at Cinch Stadium – but fans were out on the streets long before to get the best view.

Kerry and her family found a spot right in front of the Guildhall and even brought chairs to ensure they could see the team arrive.

“We are festival-goers, so we have come prepared with our chairs because we know a lot about waiting at the barriers,” she said.

grey placeholderHarriet Heywood/BBC Kerry with her family in NorthamptonHarriet Heywood/BBC

Kerry, husband Tim, son Archer, and daughter Ellie, secured their spot hours before the parade

Stephen Stevenson was another fan out early with his family and he managed to see Saints’ previous title win in 2014.

“I was there when we won 10 years ago and watching them win again… I sobbed like a baby,” he said.

grey placeholderHarriet Heywood/BBC Stephen Stevenson and family in NorthamptonHarriet Heywood/BBC

Stephen Stevenson (centre in green cap) said his 18-month-old had even started playing rugby

It was not just people out and about early – the dogs of Northampton were kitted out in Saints merchandise.

Ivy and another dog were pictured enjoying the celebrations.

grey placeholderHarriet Heywood/BBC Ivy the dog in NorthamptonHarriet Heywood/BBC

Ivy dressed in a Northampton Saints scarf for the celebrations

grey placeholderCarroll Weston/BBC A dog celebrating the Saints Premiership win with its own shirtCarroll Weston/BBC

This dog came to the celebrations in its very own Saints shirt

As the parade got closer to the Guildhall, the fans were out in their thousands with little to no space left.

Cheers could be heard as the buses came into view, with choruses of Queen’s rock classic We Are The Champions starting to break out from the fans.

grey placeholderHarriet Heywood/BBC Northampton Saints players on the parade busHarriet Heywood/BBC

Roars could be heard through the town as the parade reached its destination

grey placeholderJames Burridge/BBC Fans cheering during the Northampton Saints celebratory paradeJames Burridge/BBC

Fans cheered their hearts out for the Saints

grey placeholderHarriet Heywood/BBC Bands were out in Northampton adding to the celebratory atmosphereHarriet Heywood/BBC

Music from bands in Northampton helped add to the atmosphere

At 14:30 the team stepped out in front of the crowds on a stage at the Guildhall to lift the Premiership trophy before giving several interviews.

It was an emotional moment for many of the players, including several who are leaving the team.

grey placeholderJames Burridge/BBC Saints players lift the Premiership trophy to the fans in NorthamptonJames Burridge/BBC

The trophy is back in Northampton for the first time in 10 years

Flanker Lewis Ludlam, who will be heading to France next season, described the win as “a fairytale”.

“We’ve dreamt of this for a long time now… to finally get it across the line is a fairytale,” he added.

Similarly, lock Alex Moon, who is also moving to France, said it was “everything I could have hoped it could be”.

grey placeholderHarriet Heywood/BBC Saints players sing to fans Harriet Heywood/BBC

The town centre was filled with chants and songs as fans and players alike celebrated

After mingling in the crowds and signing autographs, the players were back on the bus by about 15:40.

Even once the bus had departed the chants continued as fans attempted to keep the moment alive, unwilling to let it end.

grey placeholderHarriet Heywood/BBC Northampton Saints players wave farewell to fansHarriet Heywood/BBC

The players headed off to enjoy some celebrations in private

Council workers were then on the streets by 16:00 helping to clear up after the event.

Fans now have to wait until September for Premiership rugby to start again.

You can catch up on the parade as it happened here or listen back to BBC Radio Northampton’s coverage on BBC Sounds here.

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