Disappointment as Harrogate Town's open top bus parade dream is abandoned

Hopes of Harrogate Town's FA Trophy heroes showing the cup off to fans at home in an open top bus parade have been dashed - at least in part because of criticism in some sectors of the media last year after the club's historic promotion to the English Football League.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 11:29 am
Harrogate Town players at Wembley Stadium, the scene of their FA Trophy triumph.

Discussions had been taking place for the club to tour the town in a similar fashion to last August’s celebrations when the club won promotion to the English Football League.

It’s managing director Garry Plant had told the Harrogate Advertiser last week that any idea of repeating the scenes of last year when hundreds of people cheer Harrogate Town’s footballers as the bus passed through town - in a move made possible by the support of Harrogate Bus Company, North Yorkshire County Council, Harrogate Borough Council and Harrogate Police - boiled down this time to a matter of logistics in terms of Covid rules.

Harrogate Borough Council told the Harrogate Advertiser last week it would support the idea - as long as everything complied with Government restrictions.

But - despite its best efforts - the club has now been forced to take the decision not to organise a bus parade through the town centre to celebrate Harrogate Town's triumphant FA Trophy Final success over Concord Rangers at Wembley Stadium.

Harrogate Town managing director Garry Plant said the club was disappointed for its fans but praised Transdev bus company for their offer of help.

He said the two biggest factors were the imminent need for players holiday season and the negative media reaction in some quarters last August.

Mr Plant said: "The club’s recent FA Trophy success at Wembley sparked instant support from Transdev for an open top bus parade across town.

"After very careful consideration we have decided not to indulge in a parade on the following grounds.

"Due to lockdowns in 2020 the players only had a two-week break before embarking on pre-season training in preparation for our first EFL campaign.

"In effect they have played back to back seasons and after the match against Cheltenham they will be going their various ways for well earned planned family breaks.

Mr Plant continued: "Despite our well organised, socially distanced and Covid19 rule compliant parade after the promotion play off final last August the club came under unwarranted criticism from some elements of the media and we are guarded against similar criticism as we all emerge from the latest lockdown.

"We sincerely hope our loyal supporters understand and appreciate our decision not to hold a parade and we will plan how to engage with the town during the close season in preparation for a return to crowds in the very near future.

"In closing we would like to thank our friends at Transdev for their kind offer of an open top bus and acknowledge the fantastic coverage the Harrogate Advertiser gave the club over the season and the Trophy final."

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