Big crowds for Lowestoft Town parade
Alasdair McGregor It may not have been the victory parade everyone had hoped for, but Lowestoft Town's footballers were today given a heroes' welcome by hundreds of fans on a parade through the town.
It may not have been the victory celebration everyone had hoped for, but Lowestoft Town's footballers were today given a heroes' welcome by hundreds of fans on a parade through the town.
Blue and white flags that made for such a colourful scene at Wembley just a week earlier were dusted off and waved with pride as the Trawler Boys received the acclaim of the noisy crowd.
The civic parade was organised by Waveney District Council before Lowestoft's agonising 2-1 defeat to Kirkham & Wesham in the FA Vase final, but the fans ensured it was still a memorable occasion.
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The team set off from their Crown Meadow ground on an open top bus at just before 11am and arrived in the town centre a few minutes later where they continued on foot, led by the marching band of the 469 (Lowestoft) Squadron Air Training Corps.
His voice cracking with emotion, joint manager Micky Chapman took to a stage outside the Britten Centre and told the crowd: “This is unreal and it's so emotional to see all you guys here. To take 15,000 supporters to Wembley was unreal, but I never imagined in my wildest dreams that you would turn out today because we thought we had let you down a bit.
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“You are the best supporters in the whole world. We will be back and win trophies for you.”
Ady Gallagher, the other half of the management duo, said: “We are really touched that so many people have turned out to support the team.
“We were really gutted not to win last week and the players felt like they let everyone down.
“To go to Wembley wasn't enough and we wanted to bring the trophy back. Seeing so many people out today, you deserve a trophy. I'm proud of the players and I'm proud of everyone who has turned up today.”
The players then appeared on the stage to loud cheers and defender Matty Potter said: “I want to say a massive thank you on behalf of the players. We never expected anything like this.”
After addressing the crowd, the Lowestoft FC squad continued along London Road North and re-boarded the bus to make its way to the town hall for a civic reception.
Supporter Michael Bailey, who watched the parade with wife, Angela, and children Nicholas, 10, and Timothy, nine, said: “They did us proud and I'm very, very proud of what they have achieved.”