Accrington was a sea of red and white as Stanley fans gathered to celebrate their promotion heroes.

Thousands of cheering supporters welcomed manager John Coleman and his League Two champions on Broadway at Sunday’s parade before they posed for pictures and signed autographs.

However, there was disappointment for some fans lining the route after the planned open top bus parade from the Wham Stadium had to be changed at the eleventh hour.

Club owner Andy Holt hit out at the police after claiming they had been told to change to a closed-top bus for the majority of the route, for health and safety reasons, before being allowed on the open-top bus for the last few hundred metres of the parade route.

He tweeted: “World’s gone mad. We ended up downstairs on a double decker driving past well wishers.”

The bus arrived slightly later than scheduled into the town centre but was still met by rapturous applause with fans chanting their heroes’ names, beating drums and waving red and white flags.

David Heap, from Accrington, has been a Stanley fan for more than 20 years.

He said: “It’s certainly the best season I can remember as a fan. I think it tops the promotion back to the Football League. I expected us to be up there but I didn’t expect us to win the title.

“I would be happy with a lower to mid table finish next season but who knows what will happen.”

Accrington Stanley arrive in the town centre to celebrate their league win with the fans. Simon and Peter Bell.
Accrington Stanley town centre promotion parade. Kieran Bayliss (right), from Accrington, with his family

Kieran Bayliss, 22, from Accrington, said: “I wanted to be here today to congratulate the players on their achievement and it’s to see so many people turn out.

“The players and staff have put in a big shift all season and it’s great to be here and celebrate it.

“I have been a season ticket holder for 10 years and been through the ups and downs. I’ve seen improvements in the club in the last couple of seasons and since John Coleman has come back. The title is the cherry on the cake.”

Accrington Stanley town centre promotion parade. Sarah and John Knight, from Oswaldtwistle.

Sarah Knight, from Oswaldtwistle, said: “It’s been absolutely brilliant and superb. John Coleman and the team have done a smashing job.

“It’s great for the club and the town. It was a shame we missed out on promotion a couple of seasons ago but since Andy Holt has come in he has made us a more stable club.

“It will be nice to play in League One as there are a lot of local clubs. One of the problems this year has been the amount of travelling. It will be nicer to go to more away matches.”

Accrington Stanley town centre promotion parade. Jonathan Whittaker (right) with his family

Jonathan Whittaker, from Accrington, said: “It’s been the best season by far. I’ve seen three promotions and I think this is the best one.

“Looking at the other teams in League One I think we have a decent chance at stopping them. We need to keep the team we have together.”

Accrington Stanley tweeted: “Thank you #TeamStanley! Thank you for your fantastic support in what has been a historic season! Here’s to next season in @SkyBetLeagueOne!”

Fans - including ex-pats from Australia, the United States and Greece - tuned in as we broadcast part of the parade live on Facebook.

Tracy Valentine wrote: “Brilliant well done Stanley so proud of our town.”

Sarah Francis wrote: “I’ve never seen Accrington so packed”.

Alan Pickin wrote: “Well done Accrington Stanley great season.”

Accrington Stanley arrive in the town centre to celebrate their league win with the fans.

Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said it was an ‘absolutely fantastic afternoon’.

He said: “It was a wonderful day out with the singing and it was a lovely sunny day for it. It showed the delight of the town.

“My thanks to everyone who organised it and made it a great day for the fans.

“I’m delighted for Andy Holt who has turned the club around in the last three years and for John Coleman and Jimmy Bell who have worked their magic.

“We wish them all the best for next season.”

Accrington Stanley arrive in the town centre to celebrate their league win with the fans.

Coun Parkinson said the last-minute changes to the open top bus parade were a police decision.

He said: “It’s unfortunate but the police have a duty of care and have to follow health and safety procedures.

“We may perceive them as being over the top but it’s the world we live in.

“If something was to happen then the police would be the first one’s to be blamed. They need to take precautions.”

A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “Following talks with the club during the week we agreed a route that the club bus could take in line with a traffic management plan to maintain safety of the players, public and motorists using the road where it was travelling on its way to the town hall.

“Unfortunately today we were notified that the club had changed the route against our advice, which we were unable to support for safety reasons.

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"We did come to an agreement so that the players were able to leave on a coach from the Wham Stadium travelling on to the town hall without risk of a potential incident. It arrived safely.

“We appreciate that this parade was an important celebration event for the people of Accrington, however our absolute priority has to be public safety.

"This was a club event and ultimately the decision on the bus route was theirs.”

Hyndburn Police posted on Facebook: “It was great to see all the support and be part of the great atmosphere today for the Accrington Stanley football team who carried out a homecoming parade today through the town centre after being crown (sic) Champions of League 2.”