MANCHESTER, England - Tens of thousands of Manchester United fans lined the streets on Monday to celebrate their team's 20th English league title and catch another glimpse of manager Alex Ferguson before he retires.
Jubilant United players were spending a second day with the Premier League trophy after lifting it Sunday following the 2-1 win over Swansea - Ferguson's final game at Old Trafford after nearly 27 years in charge.
A custom-designed, open-top bus bearing a "Champions 2013" logo set off from the stadium under overcast skies and wound its way through the packed streets in a parade that will last more than an hour before arriving at Albert Square in the center of the city.
"Yesterday was a day I'll never forget," said Ferguson, who waved a United flag in front of supporters before the bus departed. "All my family will never forget.
"On behalf of all my players, thanks for all your support."
Wayne Rooney, who has had a transfer request rejected by United, joined his teammates on the top deck, with defender Rio Ferdinand leading the chanting among players who were jumping up and down.
"It feels absolutely amazing ... it's been worth the wait," said Robin van Persie, the striker and top scorer who won the title in his first season with United and was serenaded by teammates. "I've had to wait quite a long time."
Ferguson's last game in charge is on Sunday against West Bromwich Albion and it promises to be a week-long celebration in honor of Britain's most successful manager, who has won 38 trophies for United since joining the club in 1986.
Hours before the parade began, the city center was awash in red with fans draped in United flags singing songs and blaring hooters. Car drivers honked their horns as scarf- and flag-sellers did a roaring trade on the Deansgate thoroughfare where the bus will make its way down.
Dozens of supporters scrambled up scaffolding adjacent to a building to get a better view, and businessmen poured out of offices to join the celebrations.