Police appeal to fans from Bassetlaw and across the county ahead of tonight's big play-off tie between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United

Fans attending tonight’s play-off showdown between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United are being urged to enjoy the match safely.

Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 10:29 am

The City Ground will play host to the second leg of the semi-final between the Championship rivals from 7.45pm – with a sell-out crowd once again expected.

With a trip to Wembley the prize for the winners, Nottinghamshire Police are aware just how much the match will mean to everyone in attendance on the night.

Officers will be on hand as usual to make sure that fans from both sides are able to watch the match safely and soak up what promises to be another amazing atmosphere on the banks of the Trent.

Forest lead the tie 2-1 overall going into tonight's game after winning the first leg in Sheffield at the weekend. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Superintendent Paul Burrows, match commander for Nottinghamshire Police, said: “With a place in the Premier League just one step away for the winners, we fully appreciate just how big a deal tonight is for both sets of fans.

“Our main focus this evening will be to ensuring that the good-natured atmosphere experienced at matches this season continues and that both sets of fans are able to enjoy the football safely, without there being any problems.

“We know that the vast majority of fans will look to enjoy their night at the football and cheer their side on without any trouble, but we will have policing resources available to keep people safe, in the event of crime or disorder taking place.

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“It is vital that people don’t allow their emotions to get the better of them and spoil the day for others, as our officers will take positive action against this small minority.

“While we know that the winners of tonight’s tie will go to the play-off final, it’s important that people understand that poor behaviour could mean they miss out on a trip to Wembley, which nobody wants.”

With a capacity crowd expected at the City Ground, fans are being urged to arrive at the ground well in advance of the 7.45pm kick off to beat the long queues.

Police have also pleaded with supporters not to attend without a ticket, while also reiterating a warning not to try and take flares and smoke bombs into the ground.

Supt Burrows added: “A trend does appear to have developed across the country on matchdays of supporters setting off pyrotechnics inside football grounds.

“While I know most people will view this as a harmless means of improving the atmosphere, this is simply not the case and is illegal for a reason.

“Smoke bombs are dangerous, both for those who are carrying them and those in the close vicinity when they’re activated.

“We have actually had several fans report breathing difficulties when they’ve been set off at recent matches, which is very serious and completely unacceptable.

“There is no place for these types of pyrotechnics inside football grounds and it’s important that people realise that smuggling these items into stadiums is a criminal offence that can lead to an arrest and a football banning order of up to five years.”

Updates will be provided on Twitter throughout the evening @NottsPolFootball.

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