Craig Bellamy admitted he was “overwhelmed” by the atmosphere, numbers and noise generated by Cardiff City fans on their bus tour from Cardiff Castle to Cardiff Bay.
Bellamy stood at the front on the open deck holding the Championship trophy in the air and said: “It’s overwhelming. I can’t take it all in.
“Cardiff are in the Premier League and that’s a fantastic feeling.
“This day is probably overdue for our club, but it’s here and we are enjoying the moment.
“Right now it’s just getting better and better. Let’s make the most of it.
“City fans are immense. They deserve this. Players and managers come and go, but the fans are always there.
“The club deserves this success. We’ve know hard times like many clubs and now this is our moment.
“We’ve finally got there – and I’ll be able to sit back and watch the play-offs with absolutely no pressure.”
Manager Malky Mackay was at the back of the upper deck with his family doing the Malky fist pump, Ayatollah and waving to fans who screamed his name along the route.
“It’s an unbelievable turn-out,” said Mackay, who went on open top bus tours with Norwich, Watford and west Ham as a player after each of them were promoted.
“The people of Cardiff have made this a special day.
“They have come out to join us in celebrating promotion and the title.
“I thank every one of them for their support
“They were with us every step of the way this season and are as much a part of what we have achieved as anybody.
“The players loved to bus tour, they inter-acted with fans along the route and it’s a special day we will all remember forever.
“Everybody at the club deserves this day. Many of the staff have waited an awful long time.
“We are already planning for next season and those plans will gather pace now, but it was a time to reflect on what this group of players have done.
“They have put smiles on the faces of Cardiff people and we saw at close hand what it means to everybody.”
Craig Noone led a chorus of ‘Championees, Championees’, while Kim Bo-Kyung wowed Bluebirds supporters with a Gangnam style dance which went down a storm.
A fair amount of champagne was sprayed from the top deck as the players sang, danced and enjoyed every moment.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said captain Mark Hudson as he hugged Kim Bo-Kyung and waved to the fans packed in the streets.
“The boys deserve these celebrations. It’s been a season to remember and we’ll enjoy this to the full.
“We’ve achieved this together and it’s right that we celebrate together.”
Long-serving Kevin McNaughton said: “I’ve waited for this and now we’re going to party. This is our time.
“We are the champions and we’re heading for the Premier League.”
City players gathered in the sun at Cardiff Castle before boarding their coach for a journey which took more than an hour.
There were three buses on the tour and fans cheered them all the way.
Tommy Smith has twice been promoted to the Premier League before, with Watford and Queens Park Rangers, and this was his second tour.
“QPR didn’t have one, but it was a special day when we toured Watford,” said Smith. “But this has been even better. The people of Cardiff put themselves out to give us a cheer and the atmosphere from start to finish was fabulous.”
Every member of the City squad, apart from Heidar Helguson who is back with his family in Iceland, was on the tour.
The tour ended with at the Millennium Centre with ‘We are the Champions’ blaring out from the second floor party.
The Bluebirds players joined in. They are, after all, the champions.