THE seafront will become awash with blue and white next month as the city celebrates its Premier League bound heroes with an end-of-season victory parade.
Thousands of Albion fans will get the chance to party all over again on Sunday, May 14 after the club and Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed an open top bus tour along the city seafront will mark the club’s historic return to English football’s top-flight.
Councillor Warren Morgan, council leader and life-long Albion fan, has invited the club’s players, coaching staff, chairman and board of directors to a civic reception and bus parade to mark promotion to the Premier League which was sealed with a 2-1 victory over Wigan on Monday.
The city council said the parade along the seafront is likely to start at around 5pm.
Details of the route are now being finalised with the club and will be made public shortly.
It will come a week after the club’s final game of the season against Aston Villa and the promotion celebration could also be a title-winning celebration if Albion can win one of their final three fixtures.
It has been six years since the seafront turned blue and white to celebrate the Gus Poyet-led promotion back into the Championship.
There were similar scenes of jubilation in 2004 as the league two play-off winning team showed off their silverware while famously the streets were packed to salute the heroes of 1979 who got Albion promoted for their most recent four season stint in the top flight.
Dick Knight, Albion life president, said: “This city knows how to party so its going to be one heck of a celebration.
“The club deserves all the accolades they are getting.
“Getting into the Premier League is a huge boost to the city, not only in morale, but for the economy of the city, financially hotels, bars, restaurants are all going to benefit from fans coming from all over the rest of the country.
“Throughout the whole struggle to revive the club’s fortunes we did have some marvellous times, we had four promotions while at the Withdean.
“At those parades it was a marvellous sight to see the whole city decked out in blue and white and that is going to be even more so on May 14.”
Councillor Pete West, Brighton and Hove City Council mayor, said: “It will be an amazing day, the whole of the city, the whole of Sussex coming together.
“We have had promotions before, we have been up and down, but now we have got what we wanted for 34 years to get back into the top flight.
“Having a Premier League club will put us on the map like nothing else.
“Economically it will be really great, you will have Brighton on TV sets around the world which will be a great advert for people who may want to visit or to study at our universities or language schools.”
A GREAT OCCASION FOR FANS AND TEAM
ALBION fans have reacted with delight to news of next month’s parade, with many saying it was a fitting tribute to the past two decades of effort.
Paul Samrah, who founded the Falmer for All campaign which led to the club getting its new stadium, said: “It will be a great occasion when the city and the county can get together and celebrate. We have come from the despair of last season to hope, glory and now the Premier League.
“This should also be a celebration of the efforts of the last 20 years by everyone who has put so much time and effort into the club to get it where it is today. We have gone from the Goldstone, to Gillingham, to Withdean and then we had the campaign to get Falmer.
“There were so many marches, letters and postcards sent and a lot of a hard work. The parade can be a fitting tribute to all of that.”
Photographer Simon Dack, who has been covering Albion games for 30 years is also planning to be at the parade.
He said: “It should be good fun. I’ve covered all the other ones they have done in the past and I have a lot of good memories of them.”
Vice chairwoman of Albion’s official supporters club, Liz Costa, said: “It has been a long time coming and there is going to be a real celebration.
“There will be thousands coming along, especially if the weather is good. It won’t just be the people who go to the games but all their family and friends as well. It is going to be a party day for the city.”
Former football commentator and Albion Peter Brackley is also planning to go along to the parade.
He said: “It will be a great day. The city has really embraced the club’s success.”
Long-term fan and artistic director of Brighton-based comedy company The Treason Show, Mark Brailsford, said: “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“This is the biggest achievement the club has had and it is going to be great.
“I’m still recovering from the events on Monday. Anyone coming into Brighton that night who didn’t know about the promotion must have been wondering what was going on.
“Brighton is known as a party town but this was party town times ten.”
Long term fan Brett Mendoza said: “I will definitely be there. I have been to the other parades the club has organised but this is going to be the biggest one yet.
“There has been such a massive buzz around the city and I’m sure the parade is going to attract a good few thousand people.”
Former Albion player Gary Dicker, who was in the team when it was promoted to the Championship in 2011, said he had fond memories of the celebrations that year.
He said: “We were surrounded by fans and it was a great atmosphere.
“It is a great thing for the players and for the fans as they get to see a really different side to the team.
“There’s no pressure and everyone is simply relaxed and enjoying themselves.”