Mansfield Town fans are being advised not to run on to the One Call Stadium pitch on Friday night - or they could miss out on a potential Wembley date for their team.
The Stags host Wrexham in their final home match of the 2011-12 Conference Premier season on Friday evening, 7.30pm kick-off, knowing a draw will be enough to seal third place ahead of the play-offs.
Police are warning that anyone who ventures on to the pitch after the game may find themselves subject to a banning order which will prevent them from attending the play-off semi-finals next month and, should the Stags make it through to the final, the division’s showpiece event at Wembley on Sunday 20th May.
Match commander Chief Inspector Paul Winter wants fans to understand that an incursion on to the pitch is a criminal offence under the Football Spectators Act 1989 and the Football (Disorder) Act 2000.
Chief Insp Winter said: “Mansfield have had a great season and we know how much it would mean to the fans to have a chance of getting back into the Football League.
“A third-place finish means the second and deciding leg of the tie will be at the One Call Stadium. That will be when emotions could run highest, so this message applies to that game too, should it happen.
“It would be a shame for any fan to miss out just because they let their emotions get the better of them on Friday, run on to the pitch and are served with a banning order which would prevent them from attending the most important games the Stags will have played all season.
“It may seem that running on to the pitch is a harmless way of expressing delight, but it is actually against the law. It also creates a significant safety issue, particularly for those more vulnerable supporters such as the disabled, children and the elderly, and could result in someone getting injured.
“Mansfield fans also need to be aware that we will be filming what happens on Friday, so even if someone runs on to the pitch and is not arrested there and then may find themselves prosecuted subsequently.
”Our message is enjoy the night, cheer on the Stags and make sure both the club and all its fans are safely on their way to the play-offs by the time the full time whistle is blown.”