Photo gallery: Fans line Islington’s streets for Arsenal victory parade
- Credit: PA
Thousands of Arsenal fans braved the rain to join the Gunners in celebrating their historic FA Cup victory through the streets of Islington today.
The club picked up the trophy for a second year in a row and a record-breaking 12th time after beating Aston Villa at Wembley 4-0 yesterday.
Crowds cheered the squad on open-top buses as they crawled through packed streets from the Emirates Stadium in Holloway down to Highbury Corner and on to Islington Town Hall in Upper Street.
After addressing the crowd – which included midfielder Jack Wilshere starting a chant mocking rivals Tottenham – the players and manager Arsène Wenger gathered on the town hall steps with the trophy and Mayor of Islington, Cllr Richard Greening, before heading into the Assembly Hall for a civic reception.
Many fans waited for hours in the damp conditions for the bus to later return to the stadium in Drayton Park, where skipper Mikel Arteta and vice-captain Per Mertesacker presented the FA Cup on stage.
Theo Walcott admitted he had been moved by the celebrations, having not been able to enjoy them 12 months ago through a combination of injury and personal issues.
“I sadly missed all of this last year, and you guys have made this so special, not just for me, but the whole squad, and everyone you do not see behind the scenes at the club, I cannot thank you enough,” Walcott said over the public address system.
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“The whole squad is fantastic. I have been here a long time and this is the best group of players I have ever worked with and will continue to work with.
“The most important thing we have now in this team is trust, when you have that in a squad you are going to be determined to win big things.
“The excitement here is absolutely incredible and to be part of it is a great honour.”
Wenger, who has now won the FA Cup a record-equal sixth time, told supporters: “We want this to be even more regular. I would just like to thank everybody here, which shows just how great this club is.
“We want more, there is great cohesion inside our group, great quality and a great ambition.
“In 2015, we have done extremely well, and we want to continue of course.”
Mayor of Islington, Cllr Richard Greening said: “It has been an absolutely fantastic day. I’ve been on the council for long enough to remember the celebrations in the late 90s early 2000s but because it has been a long gap and we’ve retained the FA Cup, and got a record number of wins, it makes it a very special occasion. And of course to be lucky enough to be mayor when all this happens is absolutely brilliant.”