Cardiff City’s promotion to the premier league was celebrated in the House of Lords as the team’s achievements were cheered in a packed room.
Manager Malky Mackay, captain Mark Hudson and owner Vincent Tan joined some of the most famous names in Welsh politics to mark the football breakthrough.
Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock applauded the team, saying: “I give unrestrained, unlimited, unqualified, unreserved, unmitigated and unbridled praise and thanks to Malky and his men.”
The manager described walking into parliament as a “once in a lifetime thing for us”.
Praising Mr Tan’s input into the club, he said: “Without him, without his finances, without his backing and his drive, we could be an also-ran, we could be a Rangers where you drop divisions… It is true, we could be a bankrupt club back in the fourth division again and because of his backing and his foresight and his finances we have managed as a football club together to get to the league we want to be in, to stay in, for many years.”
Mr Tan said Mr Mackay had a shot at beating Sir Alex Ferguson’s record for keeping a team in the premier league but said “God’s blessing” was needed for success.
He said: “[We] hope you will be blessed and with our prayers you will keep us there in the premier league for a long, long time. Say, more than 26 years?”
Thursday evening’s event was hosted by Lord Kinnock and Cardiff Labour MPs Kevin Brennan and Stephen Doughty, and among the guests were leading Welsh poet Dannie Abse, chair of Sports Wales Laura McAllister and Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith.