Mansfield Town Wembley triumph 25 years ago that you won’t find in the record books

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Today - Tuesday, 28th May - marks the 25th anniversary of Mansfield Town winning a Wembley final.

But it’s one you will not find in the record books as it was a team of supporters representing the Stags that won the 1993/94 Endsleigh League Supporters Challenge before 40,000 fans at Wembley Stadium on May 28th, 1994 before the Third Division play-off final between Preston North End and Wycombe Wanderers.

A brace of goals by Darren Chidlow – one a last kick game-winning penalty – and one by Dave Baxter saw Stags pip Gillingham 3-2 in the half-hour game with captain Dave Baxter walking up the famous steps with the team to collect the trophy before completing a lap of honour.

Manager and Follow the Yellow Brick Road fanzine editor, Steve Hartshorn, said: “Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would win through to represent, Mansfield Town at Wembley.

“Can I believe it’s been 25 years? I can, yes, because supporting Mansfield for just one season can seem like a lifetime - so 25 years is like 25 lifetimes ago now!

“I can say, though, that it is still my proudest moment and I still smile fondly when I think of the day.

“I just wished I could have played everybody in my squad so they all could have told their children that daddy played at Wembley for Mansfield.

“But I had to sacrifice a soft heart because I wanted the victory and felt I had to pick the correct side capable of giving the team the win. It was hard though.”

He continued: “Collecting the trophy was special as each of the 12 players went up the steps to collect their medals.

“Me, well I got nothing but I still have the trophy on a shelf at home with 16 others we won over the years in the name of Mansfield Town. So I guess that will have to do.

“We completed a lap of honour and by halfway round I was in floods of tears as the emotions of the day gripped me. I was just going around hugging everyone.

“When we got back there were wild celebrations in the Sir John Cockle as we had to settle for a Astra convertible trip around the car park instead of an open bus parade.”

Hartshorn recalled how it had all come about, saying: “The Football League approached Stags about entering a side into the first ever Endsleigh League Supporters Challenge and, to be honest, I don’t think the club could be bothered to organise anything, so they just let me get it sorted.

“We beat Northampton Town at Field Mill then qualified for the divisional group stages at the NEC in Birmingham.

“We were in Division Three North along with Lincoln City, Preston North End and Walsall.

“We entered the last game against Walsall knowing a victory by two goals and we would qualify - and Ian Hoult scored with just over a minute to go to give us the win we needed.”

The Wembley triumph then completed a great treble for the group of Mansfield supporters, who had already won the Notts Fanzine Trophy and the National Fanzines Trophy in Stoke-on-Trent.

The Stags squad comprised: Chris Bradshaw, Dan Westwell, Rob Shirley, Mark Appleby, Dave Baxter, Brent Stevenson, Mark Aldred, Darren Chidlow, Stephen Fidler, Shaun Witham, Wayne Sharpe, and Ian Hoult. Manager: Steve Hartshorn. Assistant manager: Dave Bentley.