A football team celebrated their Sunday league title with an open-top bus parade, having “conquered all of Essex”.
Duckpond FC won the Colchester & District Sunday League’s Premier Division with 15 wins from 16, and decided to splash £4,000 on the celebrations.
Parading their league title around Harwich on Saturday, the players drank, waved a flare and spoke to the public from a megaphone to celebrate their double-winning season, in which they also won a domestic cup.
Michael Hammond, 29, is the man behind the parade. Having founded the club in 2011, Michael put on the first parade when the team won Division Two in 2013, before adding a plane banner the next year.
“We’d won the Premier Division, and I wanted to go even bigger,” Michael told the Press Association.
“So the £4,000 that it cost included a marquee in my back garden, balloons, flares, trophies about £300-400 worth of alcohol, the plane, the open-top bus, flags, banners, scarves.”
The bus did multiple laps up and down the main road in Harwich, taking in the sea front as well.
And while only a handful came out specifically to cheer the team’s achievements, the locals showed their respect with booze.
“There were a few pubs who stopped us to give us beers,” said Michael. “So we pulled over, they poured us a load of pints, took them out of the pub and continued on the route.”
The players chipped in around £1,500 for the parade, and Michael, who does everything except manage the team, contributed the rest.
He said the extravagant celebrations are an extension of the fun the team have together, which is what makes playing for Duckpond worthwhile.
“The laughs that come with it weekly is what people play for, not necessarily the big party at the end,” he said.
“But everyone knows it’s going to be the best end of season do they’re ever going to have. There’s no other team that will commit to putting this much money towards basically having the biggest laugh ever – it’s just a waste of money really!”
And while the banner on the front of the victory bus proclaimed Duckpond FC had “conquered all of Essex”, next season could prove the true test of their pedigree.
“Last year we didn’t enter the Essex Premier Cup, which is every single team in Essex,” said Michael.
“So there is a team that won that, but I know full well that we would beat them. I’ve entered us this year so that will be proven then.”
And if they go on to win the Essex Premier Cup, can the players expect an even more extravagant celebration from Michael?
“I will always make it bigger, better and more fun,” he said.