Date:Monday May 7 2007
Birmingham's Victoria Square turned blue today as thousands of Blues fans crammed themselves in for their promotion party.
Denied the top spot in the league, denied presentation of the runner's up trophy at Deepdale yesterday and denied a celebration at St Andrew's because of the timing of the Derby - Crystal Palace game, this was the opportunity for the fans to applaud the team that have taken them back to the Premiership.
Music pounded out across the open space in front of Birmingham's Council House as it filled with flag-waving, hooter-tooting supporters, some of whom had already had a hard weekend's partying in and around Preston.
Compered by local radio presenter Tom Ross, the promotion-winning team were presented to the fans one by one, along with Eric Black, Steve Bruce and David Gold.
The runner's up trophy and medals were presented. Speeches were difficult in the din and Steve Bruce managed only a sentence or two before he was drowned in champagne by a grinning Cameron Jerome and Fabrice Muamba.
David Gold received the fans, hands held aloft and thanked them for their support in a rollercoaster season.
Amongst the players interviewed, Muamba's reception was immense and chants of 'sign him up' echoed around the square. In the party atmosphere, Danns and McSheffrey started a round of 'Ring of Fire' amongst the fans and DJ Campbell hoped that he wouldn't be too old now to be considered for the Premiership team that is assembled over the summer.
The crowd were showered with champagne and the team danced on the Council House balcony. Bruce's boys seemed genuinely surprised at their ovation and spent some time taking pictures of the thousands gathered below them.
For many of these young players this reception will be the biggest moment of their careers so far and they were determined to enjoy themselves. Off on their summer breaks in the near future, they are probably already aware of the hard work that lies ahead.
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