Thousands of Saints fans gave Russell Martin and his team a hero's welcome after they secured a spot in the Premier League.

Around 5,000 fans filled part of the car park at St Mary's, transformed into a mini-festival, to cheer on the team with shouts of 'Red Army' as they lifted the Championship playoff final trophy.

Martin, Adam Armstrong and Flynn Downes all took to the microphone on stage to thank the fans for their support.

Speaking to the Echo at the promotion event, the manager of Southampton F.C. said: “Today was one of my proudest moments as a manager.

“Wembley was absolutely amazing. I was asked to bring Southampton back to the Premier League – it’s my job – and I did it.”

When the team got on stage they were handed the trophy by the Lord Mayor of Southampton, Cllr Dave Shields.

Daily Echo: Saints Brass with the Lord Mayor of Southampton, Cllr Dave ShieldsSaints Brass with the Lord Mayor of Southampton, Cllr Dave Shields (Image: NQ)Cllr Shields, a lifelong fan, gave his Wembley ticket up to celebrate with fans in the city instead.

He said: “For me as the new Lord Mayor with just 10 days into my new role it is the best gift I could have hoped for.

“I think it will be a challenge for Saints next season. From what I saw when they played at Wembley, I think they have the resilience and power needed to stay in the Premier League.

“This is a city of culture and, of course, our culture includes our football so I’m really looking forward to the future.

“People have got great ideas about how to expand St Marys – I’m really looking forward to the safe standing and have been campaigning for that for years.  We have got some great times ahead.”

There were food and beer vans serving a variety of treats to revellers, and despite the the rainy weather the crowd remained in good spirts.Daily Echo: Mark Savage, Nathan Taylor and Mark TaylorMark Savage, Nathan Taylor and Mark Taylor (Image: NQ)Southampton fan, Mark Taylor, said: “The win at Wembley just made you so proud to be a Saints fan. We only found out about the promotion event last night on the way back from the game.

“We bought tickets first thing this morning. I have been suffering from blood cancer for the last eight years so any opportunity to take my boy, Nathan, to Wembley is fantastic and not something we want to miss.

Nathan Taylor, 11, added: “Wembley was amazing and today was so fun.”

Also attending the promotion party was Mark Savage. He said: “Its going to be great for the city to have thousands of fans from across the country coming to Southampton in the Premier League again.”

Daily Echo: Dan Jennings and Bill FleatDan Jennings and Bill Fleat (Image: NQ)

Another fan who attended the promotion party was Dan Jennings. He said the atmosphere at the promotion event was ‘brilliant.’

Dan added: “It was really tricky to buy a ticket but Southampton have really pulled out all the stops for this event.”

Fellow fan Bill Fleat added: “It’s not very often I shed a tear, but yesterday at Wembley and the promotion event today has made everyone feel really emotional.”