Bradford threw a rip-roaring promotion party last night as the city turned claret and amber for its footballing heroes.

Thousands of Bradford City supporters packed into Centenary Square and City Park, with thousands more lining the streets, as Phil Parkinson’s Wembley wonders enjoyed an open-top bus parade.

The sheer joy and emotion swirling round the city centre sent a shiver down the spine as bouncing Bantams celebrated promotion to npower League One.

Anticipation had built throughout the afternoon and early evening before the deafening roar that welcomed the two parade buses into Centenary Square at about 7.15pm.

Fan Jenny Clayton, 69, said she had been supporting City since 1953. She was at the front of the throng, and said: “It is absolutely brilliant! I am so excited.”

Proud Chris Brady, 35, was with his children at the front. He said: “It is just awesome! And it is great for the city as well.”

Steve Wilby, 52, said: “It is absolutely superb! Talking about it just gives me a tingling feeling.”

Family trio Matt, Donna and Josh Long, of Wibsey, said: “This is the best day for a long time – and we deserve it! The whole city deserves it!”

As the parade buses made their way around City Park, fans chanted, waved flags, sounded horns and created an electric atmosphere in keeping with City’s magical season.

Aptly, the David Bowie song Heroes accompanied the buses as they meandered alongside the crowd.

City ward councillor Nazam Azam beamed: “I have never seen anything like this – it is fantastic!”

The two buses bounced as players and City staff danced, before they were welcomed atop the City Park pavilion by Bradford’s new Lord Mayor Councillor Khadim Hussain.

Players, many of whom were filming the occasion themselves, threw miniature claret and amber footballs into the crowd as “presents”.

The League Two play-off trophy was passed along the line of players and management, who held it aloft to rapturous cheers – the loudest of which was for manager Phil Parkinson, who had signed a new three-year deal only hours earlier.

The 45-year-old boss thanked the players, backroom staff and club chairmen Mark Lawn and Julian Rhodes, before turning his attention to the masses.

He said: “I would like to thank all the supporters. You have been absolutely outstanding. The money you have spent and the support you have given us, not just when it was going well, has been brilliant – well done.

“We are at the start of the journey, see you all next season. I am so pleased for the city of Bradford – well done every single one of you.”

Mr Lawn told supporters: “You have had a very expensive season and I hope I can give you a very expensive season next year, too!”

Club captain Ricky Ravenhill said of the atmosphere in City Park: “It is unbelievable.”

He added: “I want to thank every single one of the fans – they have been absolutely unbelievable all season.”

Veteran midfielder and captain Gary Jones said: “It is incredible. The road into town was overwhelming, I’ve never seen anything like it – it was absolutely amazing.”

Top scorer Nahki Wells said: “It is great to see everyone come out. To put a big smile on all these fans’ faces is what we want to do.”

Bradford Council leader Councilllor David Green, who was greeted by boos from the crowd, said: “Bradford City have achieved amazing things this season and this parade and civic reception is our way of recognising this tremendous success and the benefits that this has brought to the city and district.”

Coun Hussain said: “This caps off a terrific season for Bradford City and I am sure that this parade will be a fantastic event for the people of Bradford to celebrate with their team. I’m also delighted to be welcoming the team to in to City Hall for a civic reception.”

Supporter Jo Bamford, of Wilsden said: “It is a great atmosphere and it is great to see everyone in their Bradford City colours!”