Sunday, 14 September 2014

TLFG: 15-21 September 2014

After the last two weeks of Non-League Day (NLD) preparation, everything's been far more relaxed at TLFG Towers.

There's been a bit of digesting of figures, a few emails sent out and big thank yous given to my volunteers.

One thing I was often asked by journalists during the build-up to NLD was what I thought Premier League clubs should be doing to help their non-league counterparts.

I came up with a few simple, inexpensive suggestions one of which was to promote local clubs' games when the Premier League sides were not in action or had a non-3pm kick-off time.

Pretty much every weekend sees top-flight matches being played on Sundays so there's usually always fans floating about with no game to go to but getting them out of their house to make a special trip to a club they don't know takes quite a bit of effort.

TARGET 1% 

However, if fans are heading to an early evening kick-off and there's another game on at 3pm in the locale then they might not need as much persuading.

Such an opportunity exists this weekend when West Ham United host Liverpool in the Premier League at 530pm.

Earlier in the afternoon, a short walk along Upton Lane you'll find the Old Spotted Dog - the oldest ground in London. At 3pm there's an Essex Senior League game between London Bari and Ilford. Alternatively to the south of the Boleyn Ground, you could also head to the Terence McMillan Stadium to watch Newham take on Sawbridgeworth Town in the same division. If only 1% of the West Ham and Liverpool fans heading to the game made a stop at one of these first then it would give these clubs possibly their biggest crowds of the season if not ever so please consider it if you are going. Tickets are only five or six quid and you'd be making a big difference to the clubs involved.

Anyway, that's it from me. Don't forget, you can get all the latest ticket information for our local clubs and other big games taking place in the capital on the 'Match Ticket Info' page .

GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures


View London match map 15-21 September 2014 in a larger map


Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below.

TLFG TOP 10

1. Chelsea v Schalke 04 - the obvious top pick in London this week is the Blues' opening Champions League fixture against Die Konigsblauen from Germany. Jose Mourinho's side were expected to do well this season and with four wins from four and averaging nearly four goals a game, they're not letting anyone down. The same can't be said for Schalke who have taken only one point from their opening three matches, albeit against Bayern Munich. The pair also met in the group stages last season with Chelsea winning both games 3-0 and it's hard to see it being much different here. (Wednesday 17 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. Brentford v Norwich City - I'm going to go a bit off piste here and not recommend any Premier League games this week even though there are three of them. To me, it's a much bigger week in the Championship. Brentford have made a fine return to life at this level after an absence of over 20 years. After a brief wobble at the beginning they've now gone four games unbeaten and have climbed to sixth. On Saturday they enjoyed a thrilling 3-2 win over Brighton in front of their biggest crowd of the season. On Tuesday they entertain Norwich, freshly relegated from the Premier League and seen by many as title favourites. Tickets for this game are on general sale but only to those with a previous booking history. If the Bees continue to do well, tickets for their 12,000 capacity ground will become increasingly hard to get hold off. (Tuesday 16 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

3. Charlton Athletic v Wolverhampton Wanderers - the Addicks and Watford battled out a 1-1 draw on Saturday meaning they both missed out on the chance to go top. One side to also drop points and miss out on becoming leaders were newly promoted Wolves. Their 0-0 draw at winless Blackpool would've been disappointing so they'll want to bounce back with something more substantial here. Since 2000 the clubs have met five times at The Valley with Charlton ahead by three wins to two. Will Wolves level things up? I'd say there's a good chance. (Tuesday 16 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Millwall v Nottingham Forest - with three wins from their first six, the Lions are doing a lot better than many would've thought. Still seen as a good bet for relegation with some bookmakers, they will look to give current leaders Forest a run for their money on Saturday. Aside from Charlton, the East Midlands club are the only unbeaten side in the division but have to get through their big derby match with Derby County on Sunday and a midweek game against Fulham before travelling down for this one. Millwall have a good record against Forest and usually always match or better their results when they play them over two games in a season - doubles are very rare indeed. (Saturday 20 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. AFC Wimbledon v Burton Albion - the Dons have got a massive week coming up with back-to-back home games against the top two in League Two. First up are leaders Burton who are in formidable form, having won six and drawn one so far. They've also topped up that record with League Cup victories over Wigan Athletic and QPR so they are hot, hot, hot right now. It looks very tough for Wimbledon but they did take four points off them last season so there is cause for some hope. (Tuesday 16 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

6. Barnet v Wrexham - after failing to make the play-offs last season, the Bees brought in Martin Allen for his fourth spell in charge and he seems to be getting results. With only one defeat in their opening nine games they are sitting pretty at the top of the Conference, one point ahead of Woking. They are also the division's highest scorers so Wrexham will have their work cut out keeping them at bay. The Dragons, a League One side as recently as 2005, are one of the biggest clubs in the division and have lost in three of the last four play-off finals so should pose a decent test. (Tuesday 16 September, 8pm. Ticket info)

7. Metropolitan Police v South Park - after Saturday's first qualifying round ties, we've been left with a few FA Cup replays. The first of them takes place at Imber Court where two Isthmian League clubs battle it out for the £3,000 prize money on offer for getting through. These two met the season before last in the fourth qualifying round with the Met getting through and drawing League One side Crawley Town in the First Round Proper. The hosts are still the higher ranked team and should progress. (Tuesday 16 September, 745pm. Club info)

8. Chipstead v Merstham - there's another all Isthmian League affair in this replay too. Both sides play in Division 1 South but they are also near neighbours with little more than the M25 motorway separating the two towns so this is very much a derby. The Chips are the form team at the moment and would be top if they won their games in hand. Merstham are in midtable but will surely raise their game for this one. (Tuesday 16 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

9. Northwood v Barton Rovers - on the north west side of town between Harrow and Watford we have a replay between two Southern League clubs. There has been little to choose between them this season with both locked together on 10 points from eight games. On Saturday they drew 1-1 in the original tie so this could easily go all the way to penalties.  (Tuesday 16 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

10. Haringey Borough v FC Romania - last up this week we've got an Essex Senior League match between the top two. The hosts are currently top and are on a 20-game winning streak stretching back to last season. They have to negotiate a tricky trip to Ilford on Wednesday before this one but will still be top whatever happens by the time this one kicks off. FC Romania used to groundshare with Haringey where I went to see them play in the Middlesex County League a couple of seasons ago. They looked to be a very classy side for the level back then and have contniued to make good progress since. They have a 100% league record this season and are only in second because they've played fewer games. (Saturday 20 September, 3pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Monday, 8 September 2014

TLFG: 8-14 September 2014

Well it's all over for another year.

What am I talking about? Non-League Day (NLD) of course.

The last few days of the campaign became quite intense as more and more people got involved and backed the campaign. It was pretty overwhelming, in a good way, as things just got bigger and bigger.

Getting great pre-event publicity is the sort of thing you dream of but if it's not backed up by people actually attending games then the whole thing becomes a bit pointless.

On Saturday morning I rose at about 6am to have a bit of breakfast and get the social media side of things off and running. Before too long we were one of the top trends in the UK (ultimately we finished fifth over the whole day).

Completing my 50th parkrun on Wormwood Scrubs
In previous years I've had to anchor myself to my laptop to keep generating interest to keep us in those top spots but this year I was able to take a couple of hours off, go and complete my 50th parkrun (which has taken me about two-and-half years to achieve), do a bit of post-run socialising and come back home again. Every time I checked, #nonleagueday was in the top four - an excellent sign.

Crucially, the weather was also holding up. All was going to plan.

I'd chosen some time ago to spend my afternoon at Isthmian League club Dulwich Hamlet who were playing Hampton & Richmond Borough in the seventh tier of English football. The south London club had never been at home on NLD and had always promised to throw the kitchen sink at it if they ever were.

They have a relatively large, diverse, colourful and lively fanbase who usually generate crowds of 600-700 so I knew it would be worth going whatever happened.

I met a few work colleagues at East Dulwich station and then headed up to the ground followed by a procession of fans, driven on by a drummer, who had walked from nearby Peckham Rye as another way of generating publicity.

One of the club's stated aims of the day was to smash their attendance record of 1,835 which had stood since 1998. Deep down I thought this was ambitious with anything over 1,000 a highly creditable effort.

A packed Champion Hill watches as Dulwich go close to opening the scoring
With the game under way and most people in, Champion Hill did seem busy and I figured the 1,000 mark had almost certainly been reached.

Safe with this thought, I settled down to enjoy the game. Midway through the first half I was joined by Francis Duku - one of the NLD team and a former captain of Dulwich. As he made his way round the ground to meet me you could track his progress by the sections of the crowd chanting his name as he walked past - a true legend in the area.

On meeting up, he quickly assessed that there must've been 2,000 present and being someone who's played in front of many crowds he was probably a better person to be able to judge.

For me, the game became secondary as I just soaked up the atmosphere, took everything in and tried to find out what was happening elsewhere in the country.

I got so distracted that with the game coming to its conclusion I realised I'd completely missed one of Dulwich's players being sent off and only found out from Francis after Hampton's injury-time goal which salvaged them a 2-2 draw. In all the commotion surrounding that incident, we'd both also missed the attendance announcement and found out a few minutes after the final whistle that the crowd had actually been 2,856 exceeding all our wildest expectations!

Celebrating news of the fantastic attendance with Francis and the rest of the crew
I'm still pinching myself now. Only Grimsby Town, a former Championship club, had a higher crowd throughout the 'non-leagues' and it also exceeded that of five Football League clubs including Crawley in League One.

Although I've yet to see proper stats for most divisions, there were many other positive stories. One simple stat showed total attendance in the three divisions of the Conference was up 7,000 on last week.

The next few weeks will be spent trying to collate data and discuss with the rest of the team how it went and where we go from here, so the work never really ends.

Don't forget, there's another international break on 11 October so although it's not officially Non-League Day, there is another great opportunity for clubs to try and bring some new fans in or bring other ones back. If you're feeling adventurous, the first overseas version of NLD will be taking place in Germany that weekend. Called Lokalrunde, the event will also be taking place in Switzerland so give it a go if you fancy a weekend away.

Anyway, that's it from me. Don't forget, you can get all the latest ticket information for our local clubs and other big games taking place in the capital on the 'Match Ticket Info' page .

GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures


View London match map 8-14 September 2014 in a larger map

Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below.

TLFG TOP 10

1. Arsenal v Manchester City - after a couple of weeks off, the Premier League returns with a bang as two of its biggest clubs meet in this lunchtime kick-off. After three games, neither are yet firing on all cylinders with Arsenal unbeaten but only having won once and City winning twice but suffering a shock home defeat to Stoke. Historically this has been a very bad fixture for the Mancunians who have won only two league games away from home against the Gunners over the last 40 years. However, the visitors are now a dramatically different side to the one that competed for most of that time and will probably start as favourites. (Saturday 13 September, 1245pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Swansea City - not many people would have predicted that these two teams would be locked on level points at the top of the table at this stage of the season, something borne out by it's run of the mill Saturday 3pm kick-off. As they move into their fourth season in the top flight, the Welsh side are really starting to establish themselves. Aside from a shaky patch last season, the other two campaigns were impressive. Under new, untested boss Garry Monk some might have feared this could be a tough campaign but there's no sign of it at the moment with the highlight being their opening day win at Manchester United. The Blues have been more free scoring though and should have enough to take all three points. (Saturday 13 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Charlton Athletic v Watford - the Addicks have continued to build on their solid start and are one of only two teams to have unbeaten records after five games of the Championship season. As a result of drawing three of them they only find themselves in sixth. The Hornets, on the other hand, have 12 points and are tucked just a point behind leaders Nottingham Forest in second. Games between these two can go either way and often produce at least three or four goals. (Saturday 13 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion - the Bees are new to the Championship following promotion and are starting to get a strong foothold in the division after a slightly wobbly couple of games. Currently in a very respectable eighth they next host Brighton who should be doing better than they are under new boss Sami Hyypia. The Seagulls came unstuck in the play-offs, saw their manager resign and then sold their top scorer to Leicester. Despite this they are still one of the biggest clubs in the division and should challenge for promotion again. Given Brighton's close proximity to London they will bring a large following and I expect quite a lively game. (Saturday 13 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Boreham Wood v Eastbourne Borough - nothing in the next three divisions is taking my fancy so next up it's the Conference South clash between the teams currently ranked third and second. Both sides had pretty unremarkable seasons last time so it's quite something to see the two of them right up there. Eastbourne have a game in hand on leaders Basingstoke so will go top if they win this. The Wood enjoyed a fine win at Gosport on Non-League Day but this means they'll have little recovery time unlike Borough who've had a week off. (Monday 8 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

6. Wealdstone v Bath City - at the other end of the table we've got a clash of the bottom two in an early season six-pointer. The Stones came up from the Isthmian League last season and I thought, like quite a few others, that they'd acquit themselves pretty well. However, it hasn't proved to be the case and they have become the only side in the division not to have won a game so far this season. Despite having won a game, Bath are actually the basement side but do have a game in hand of Gordon Bartlett's team. The last time these sides were in the same division some seven years ago, Bath won both games. (Tuesday 9 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

7. Clapton v Barking - over in east London we've got this tasty looking derby in the Essex Senior League. Both sides have begun well and fill spots in the top four. On Saturday, Barking came unstuck at Stanway in the FA Vase while the Tons had a bye so had the week off. As mentioned many times previously, the hosts have a much larger and more vocal support than many in this league so London's oldest ground shouldn't lack atmosphere. (Saturday 13 September, 3pm. Club info)

8. AFC Hayes v Harrow Borough - this Saturday it's FA Cup time and there are a few derbies in town. Over on the west side we've got this game between two neighbours. Hayes, formerly Brook House, play a level below Harrow and have only managed two draws this season so start very much as underdogs. Apart from a couple of seasons, Harrow have a pretty atrocious record in this competition and regularly lose to clubs like this so it's anyone's. (Saturday 13 September, 3pm. Club info)

9. AFC Hornchurch v East Thurrock United - on the other side of town we've got an Essex derby between two Isthmian League Premier Division sides. The Urchins have been one of the shocks of the season having begun so badly (one point from nine games) despite starting as one of the favourites. East Thurrock only just avoided relegation last season but have begun much better this time round meaning they start as favourites in my book.  (Saturday 13 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Grays Athletic v Harlow Town - last up this week we have this FA Cup tie between two more Essex rivals. After a slow start, Grays have started to pick up a bit of momentum winning four of their last five league games. Harlow play a level below in the Isthmian League Division 1 North but currently top it after winning seven of their eight games. Two teams on a good run will hopefully make for a compelling match. (Saturday 13 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

TLFG: 1-7 September 2014

Hello there and welcome to this special edition of TLFG.

After 11 months of preparation we're almost there - Saturday is Non-League Day 2014.

When I tentatively set up the event back in the summer of 2010 as a bit of fun on Facebook, I never dreamed I'd be here getting ready for a fifth edition.

The 'chatter' on the interweb is certainly starting to hot up with lots of clubs coming out of the woodwork at the last moment with some great deals to tempt new fans through the gates.

If you didn't know, Non-League Day (NLD) always takes place on an international weekend when there's a break in the Premier League and Championship fixtures. This means there's a good chance to elevate the semi-professional and grassroots game into the limelight.

It's the final countdown!
There are League One and Two games on as well but in London there is only one at Dagenham & Redbridge so the clash is minimal.

Unsurprisingly, I'm going to devote the rest of this week's offering entirely to NLD and some of the offers and events that are taking place. There are a few matches happening before Saturday in various cups and leagues and they're all on the match map as usual but I won't be highlighting them.

Personally I'll be off to the Isthmian League match between Dulwich Hamlet and Hampton & Richmond Borough. More details of this can be found in the round-up towards the bottom of this piece but I think it's fair to say that this is effectively NLD's showpiece game in London for a whole host of reasons. Apart from anything else, it's the most centrally located match in the capital on Saturday and is really easy to get to with East Dulwich station just a couple of minutes walk from the ground.

It's all going on at Dulwich Hamlet
                                                       
Don't forget, we (at NLD) still want to receive fan photos so if you're going to a game, heading off on holiday or just relaxing at home we'd love to get a picture of you in either one of our t-shirts or holding up one of these.

There's still plenty to do over the final few days but ultimately it's all about gaining publicity so make sure you tell your friends or if you've got your own website or blog and would like to support us by displaying one of our banners then I'd really appreciate it.

UPDATE (4 Sept) - earlier in the week Conference sponsors Vanarama joined the Non-League Day campaign by pledging to donate 10p to our charity partner Prostate Cancer UK for every person who attends a game in either the Conference Premier, Conference North or Conference South. Usually around 35,000-40,000 people turn up meaning they would donate around £4,000. This year they're targeting 50,000 - if they do achieve this then they'll double their contribution to £10,000. Clubs in our local area who are hosting games and are thus included in this charity drive are Barnet, Bromley, Staines Town and Sutton United. All except Barnet have got special offers and events lined up so if you live in those areas then please make an extra effort to attend.

Anyway, that's enough about what I've been up to. Remember to let me know what you've been up to and if you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. Also keep the general correspondence coming, I enjoy answering your questions and offering advice if I can.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via Facebook, Twitter or even by good old email.

There are over 70 matches in the London area this week, with over 40 on NLD itself so there's every opportunity to take part.

As always, check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures


View London match map 1-7 September 2014 in a larger map


Next up is a list of clubs, in alphabetical order, where I know of special deals or events that are being offered on Non-League Day. This is not an exhaustive compilation as I know some clubs have plans but have yet to declare them so I will add more as the week goes along, make sure you check back for updates.

AVELEY/ROMFORD
Over on the far east side of our catchment area, Aveley have brought forward their Isthmian League match against Heybridge Swifts to 1245pm meaning you will then just have enough time to make it down the road to Thurrock's ground where Romford host Tilbury in the same division. I'm unaware of any special deals on admission but it's a great chance to see two games in a day. UPDATE - Aveley are now offering half-price admission to season-ticket holders of other clubs. AVELEY INFO / ROMFORD INFO

BARKINGSIDE
Elsewhere in the same division Barkingside play Ware. This will be the first NLD that the hosts will have played at their new home in Ilford and to mark the day they are the only team I know of who are offering what amount to coulpes' tickets with two getting in for the price of one. This is another easy one to get to with Cricklefields being a short walk from Seven Kings station. CLUB INFO

BROMLEY
Conference South club Bromley have enjoyed big crowds on NLD before and have a home match against Chelmsford City this year. This time they're laying on a Family Fun Day with bouncy castles, the chance to meet Disney characters, beat the goalie competitions and there's even a pre-match carvery for only £8. Apparently there's still more to be revealed so watch this space. UPDATE - season-ticket holders at Premier League and Football League clubs will get in for half price and don't forget this match is included in Vanarama's charity drive. CLUB INFO

CARSHALTON ATHLETIC
The Robins take on Hythe in the Isthmian League Division 1 South and are hoping their special deal will appeal to fans more used to being at Premier League or Football League grounds. If you are a season-ticket holder at any of 'the 92' then you'll get in FOR FREE. Not only that but the Carshalton U11s will be put in charge of the club for the day as they take on roles including press officer, match day secretary and physio! DEAL INFO

CHIPSTEAD
The Chips are going one better by offering FREE ENTRY to season-ticket holders of any other club whether they play in the professional leagues or not. Three Bridges are the visitors for this Isthmian League Division 1 South game. It's worth checking out Chipstead because they're currently joint top of the league. DEAL INFO

CRAY VALLEY PAPER MILLS
In the Southern Counties East League, Cray Valley are offering a reduced admission price of £5 for season-ticket holders of other clubs and anyone presenting a copy of SEnine magazine. All U16s accompanied by a paying adult will also get in for free. There will also be a half-time penalty competition and a collection for MNDA and Macmillan. I'm told details will appear on their website this week. CLUB INFO

DULWICH HAMLET
As far as I'm concerned this is the showpiece NLD game in London and it's where I intend to spend my afternoon. Dulwich have never had a home game on NLD and have always said they'd throw everything at it when they finally did. This year they've been given a match against Hampton & Richmond Borough and they haven't let us down. First and foremost they're running a Pay What You Want scheme so you could potentially get in for free but we know you're not that tight (£10 is the going rate for adults). Kick It Out are holding special events at four featured games across the country on NLD and this is one of them, giving the fixture further prestige. Dulwich also have one of the most multicultural bunch of supporters and consequently everyone is being encouraged to bring a flag of their country, wear fancy dress, put on face paint, bring banners or whatever else to brighten up the ground as they try to create a carnival atmosphere. After the match, the whole first-team squad will be subjected to the dreaded ice-bucket challenge on the pitch with supporters donating to charity for the chance to douse them. They're hoping all this will prove so tempting to so many that they'll break the club's attendance record of 1,835 - help them do it.  DEAL INFO

EDGWARE TOWN
History is being made on Non-League Day as Edgware Town play their first home game since folding in 2008. They reformed in March with a new home at Silver Jubilee Park (former home of Kingsbury Town). It's not quite fit for duty yet so their first game is being held Underhill, Barnet's old ground. If you missed out on visiting this ground while the Bees called it home, now you've got another chance. Saturday's game is also a derby against London Lions in the Spartan South Midlands League. Prices have been reduced to £3 with various deals for kids. DEAL INFO

HANWELL TOWN
Hanwell were superb last season as they won the Spartan South Midlands League title. That success saw them promoted to the Southern League Division 1 Central where they've made a fantastic start, winning four of their opening six games to lie second ahead of this Saturday's match against perennial NLD supporters Rugby Town. Hanwell, like many other clubs, are offering reduced admission to season-ticket holders of Premier League and Championship teams. DEAL INFO

HARINGEY BOROUGH
Possibly the deal of the day is to be found in north London where the currently all-conquering Haringey are throwing their doors open for FREE TO EVERYONE! I can't remember the precise figure but I think they've won something bonkers like 19 games on the trot stretching back to last season and are consequently joint top of the Essex Senior League. Based on White Hart Lane, just down the road from Tottenham Hotspur, they get much smaller crowds than they deserve. I recorded a piece for BT Sport at their Coles Park ground on Wednesday and they are really up for it so, especially if you're a Spurs fan, get on down there and reward them for their genorosity. Newham are their opponents and kick-off is at 3pm. DEAL INFO

HARROW BOROUGH
Harrow are my favourite non-league team so I feel guilty that I won't be heading to Earlsmead this year but as MR NLD I have to spread myself around. After enjoying a very successful day last year, Boro have landed a game against Grays Athletic and are repeating their offer of half-price admission (£5) to Premier and Football League season-ticket holders and members. It's also £1 for unaccompanied U16s and free season tickets for U12s. I hope a lot of my fellow QPR fans will take them up on this offer. DEAL INFO

KINGSTONIAN
Another Isthmian League club hoping to tempt new fans through their turnstiles are the K's. Kingstonian among the favourites for promotion this season and they host Hendon who are also in the early hunt for the play-off places. There's a half price (£5) for season-ticket holders deal in place here too but it's open to fans of any team from any sport at any level! It's also free for U16s. To top it all, Phil Parry will be hosting BBC London 94.9's main Saturday afternoon football show live from Kingsmeadow as the station gets fully behind NLD. DEAL INFO

NORTHWOOD
Another Southern League side to be taking part are Northwood who host Marlow. They're offering a discount but they've been a bit more inventive putting tickets on sale in local shops for just £2. If you live in the area take a stroll down 'Joel Street or Green Lane and you should see posters in the windows of shops'. All U16s will also get in FREE. DEAL INFO

STAINES TOWN
It's better late than never from the Swans who join the NLD party late but it's with some superb offers. Arsenal, Brentford, Chelsea, QPR, Reading and Wycombe season-ticket holders will all get in for FREE. It's also FREE for service personnel, anyone in fancy dress and U16s. To top it all they're playing Maidenhead United in a big local derby. This game will be included in Vanarama's push to get 50,000 people through Conference turnstiles so just by turning up you'll be generating 10p for Prostate Cancer UK. DEAL INFO

SUTTON UNITED
The U's have always been big supporters of NLD and are backing us again as they host Concord Rangers in the Conference South. One of the biggest non-league clubs in south London, they are among the bookies' favourites to challenge for the title this season and you can get in for only £5 if you're a season-ticket holder at any Premier League or Football League club. As above this will be included in Vanarama's push for 50,000 fans. DEAL INFO

THAMESMEAD TOWN
Another Isthmian League club to be getting in on the act are the Mead. They suffered relegation from the Premier Division last season but are among the early frontrunners in Division 1 North as they look to bounce back at the first attempt. On Saturday they host current leaders Needham Market who have won all of their first six fixtures. Throughout the season, Thamesmead are offering half-price admission (£4) to season-ticket holders at all 'local professional and semi-professional clubs'. Which clubs are covered and which ones aren't might need clarification before you travel but I'm sure they won't turn you away. CLUB INFO

WALTON CASUALS
The last club to confirm their deal for Non-League Day (I think), the Stags are entertaining Sittingbourne in the Isthmian League Division 1 South. Chaired by former Fulham player Tony Gale, all Cottagers season-ticket holders will get in FOR FREE. There will also be a special edition programme and 'expected ice bucket challenges'. CLUB INFO


WHYTELEAFE
Down on the far south of town there's another good deal to be had in the Isthmian League Division 1 South where the Leafe are offering FREE ENTRY to all season-ticket holders from Premier League and Football League clubs and also all U16s. Promotion chasing Kent club Whitstable Town are the opponents. This is another easy ground to get to with Whyteleafe South station a short walk away, although it is uphill. DEAL INFO

PLEASE NOTE - there are many other teams playing at home on Non-League Day who are competing in the FA Vase. Rules in this competition make it very hard for clubs to offer discounts on admission so please don't think that your local club isn't making an effort as they may be constrained in what they can do. It is also worth noting that lots of clubs who play in the FA Vase charge around £5 to get in anyway, whoever you are, so make sure you have a good look through the match map before you make your final decision. If you're not a season-ticket holder or member at another club and don't qualify for many of the discounts above, such a match could be your best option.

A special mention should be given to Fisher. They are playing in the FA Vase but will offer reduced admission of £5 to anyone who brings along a donation to the locally based Pecan Foodbank. This deal is happening because opponents Woodstock Sports have kindly agreed to allow Fisher to do this - gate receipts are shared between the sides in FA competitions so hats off to them. The match will be played on Sunday (because they groundshare with Dulwich) so hopefully they'll get a great attendance.

Well I think that's it, for now. I'm pretty confident one or two more clubs will come forward with something before Saturday so do check back as I said before. 

Finally, please do try and get to a non-league game this Saturday. Every individual who attends matches at this level makes a real difference and our game needs to be strong from top to bottom to survive and thrive. Thanks.

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

TLFG: 25-31 August 2014

It's been a busy old week so I'm afraid to say that something has had to give and this week's entry will not include a Top 10 - it would probably be inadequate anyway as there as so many great games on.

Given the Bank Holiday tomorrow, the schedule is absolutely packed with most games being local derbies. The Combined Counties League powers have once again moved all their Monday games forward to late morning/early afternoon allowing groundhoppers to see at least two matches.

Not only that but we've also got the next round of the FA Cup to look forward to on Saturday (although there are also ties on Friday and Sunday).

Away from the blog, a lot of my time has been spent building up to Non-League Day (NLD) which is now less than two weeks away.

Information about special events and deals are starting to come through with the offering from Dulwich Hamlet one of the most eye-catching in the country.

If you want to help make the NLD campaign a success, we really need help with publicity so if you run a website or blog and can put one of our banners on it then I'd greatly appreciate it.

We also need people to download our posters and signs and put them up in prominent places - your window, common room, staff room, local shops etc.

At the end of the day we have no budget for a big advertising campaign so NLD's success is purely down to individuals, clubs and leagues doing their bit and helping us out. We are nothing without you so please help in some way if you can. 

Anyway, that's it from me. Don't forget, you can get all the latest ticket information for our local clubs and other big games taking place in the capital on the 'Match Ticket Info' page .

GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 100 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple in - Thursday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures


View London match map 25-31 August 2014 in a larger map


If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

TLFG: 18-24 August 2014

Hello there one and all and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

The Premier League season begun on Saturday which means we're now fully under way for another year.

I strolled round to Loftus Road for QPR's first game back in the top flight and although we lost 1-0 to Hull City, it was a vast improvement on what we've seen on opening days the last two times we were at this level.

Here we go again...
Rangers should have had at least a point but that's football. Aside from Rio Ferdinand's error for the goal, striker Charlie Austin (the only player in QPR's side without top-flight experience) had a tough afternoon which culminated in his late penalty failure. Having seen replays, it clearly shouldn't have been given so I don't feel as bad about it as I could.

With that out of the way, I spent part of my Saturday night at BBC Broadcasting House in central London appearing on this week's edition of the Non-League Football Show on BBC Radio 5 Live promoting Non-League Day (NLD).

The highlight for me was finally getting to meet Dave Anderson, manager of Harrow Borough, who regularly appears on the programme.

So, with less than three weeks to go, the work to get word of NLD out there really begins in earnest.

If you want to help make the NLD campaign a success, we really need help with publicity so if you run a website or blog and can put one of our banners on it then I'd greatly appreciate it.

We also need people to download our posters and signs and put them up in prominent places - your window, common room, staff room, local shops etc.

At the end of the day we have no budget for a big advertising campaign so NLD's success is purely down to individuals, clubs and leagues doing their bit and helping us out. We are nothing without you so please help in some way if you can. 

Anyway, that's it from me. Don't forget, you can get all the latest ticket information for our local clubs and other big games taking place in the capital on the 'Match Ticket Info' page .

GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple in - Thursday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures


View London match map 18-24 August 2014 in a larger map

Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below.

TLFG TOP 10

1. Tottenham Hotspur v Queens Park Rangers - Spurs opened their Premier League campaign with a derby win over West Ham. They next face another derby against west London opposition. The links between the current squads are strong with QPR full of ex-Tottenham staff from boss Harry Redknapp to summer signing Steven Caulker to name just two. While Spurs won 1-0 win at the Hammers, QPR slumped to a disappointing loss by the same score at home to Hull. I went to the last meeting between these two at White Hart Lane which Rangers somehow lost 2-1 despite putting on one of their best performances of that season. (Sunday 24 August, 130pm. Ticket info)

2. Crystal Palace v West Ham United - two other sides elsewhere in the capital are playing in their second consecutive derby too. As already mentioned, West Ham lost their first game and so did Palace by 2-1 at Arsenal. Whether Palace have a new manager in place, to replace the departed Tony Pulis, by Saturday could have a large bearing on the outcome of this game. The omens don't look too good for the visitors though - they are winless in six against the Eagles. (Saturday 23 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Charlton Athletic v Derby County - the Addicks have got off to a solid start with two wins and a draw. Their win over promotion contenders Wigan on Saturday was particularly noteworthy and they'll need to be at the top of their game when title favourites Derby come to the Valley for this one. The Rams have enjoyed a similar start and only goals scored separates the clubs at this stage. Derby won both games against Charlton last season and didn't concede a goal but they should face a tougher challenge this time. (Tuesday 19 August, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers - despite both clubs having been in the Premier League in recent seasons neither are fancied to do that much this time. The Cottagers have just dropped down and are already finding the going tough. After losing at Ipswich in their opening game, they lost the derby against Millwall on Saturday. Wolves suffered back-to-back relegations to plummet down to League One before coming back up as champions in May. They've managed one win so far so are better off. Another defeat for Fulham could be an indication of them possibly becoming the next Wolves, even at this early stage. (Wednesday 20 August, 8pm. Ticket info)

5. Boreham Wood v Bromley - the rest of the Football League games taking place in the capital aren't really doing it for me so next up I'm going for this top-seven clash in the Conference South. The Wood got off to a flyer winning their first two and scoring eight goals in the process. Sadly for them they lost at Staines on Saturday to stop them going top. This weekend they welcome Bromley to Meadow Park. The Lilywhites missed out in the play-offs last year and are currently second favourites for the title. They've matched Boreham Wood's results so far meaning there's little to choose between them. (Saturday 23 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Chipstead v Faversham Town - the Chips had a very average season last time round so it's quite a turn up to see them topping the Isthmian League Division 1 South as the only team with a 100% record after three games. Faversham have made a decent start too with two wins leaving them in seventh. They got the better of Chipstead at home and away last season meaning they should be a real threat to that unblemished record if it's still intact come Saturday. (Saturday 23 August, 3pm. Club info)

7. Hanwell Town v Bedworth United - Hanwell stormed to the Spartan South Midlands League title last season and have started this campaign in the Southern League where they left off. With two wins and a draw they are nestled in second place behind Kettering Town, the giants of the division. To be in with a chance of toppling them they'll need to win against Bedworth who are fourth with two wins under their belt. After a few seasons in the doldrums, could this be the start of a golden period for the Reynolds Field club? (Saturday 23 August, 3pm. Club info)

8. Mole Valley SCR v Spelthorne Sports - this is the match of the week in the Combined Counties League as third host first. Like Hanwell, Spelthorne enjoyed promotion last season and have begun even more impressively winning all of their first four games. MVSCR are also unbeaten but have drawn a game. Looks like a bit of a cracker. (Saturday 23 August, 3pm. Club info)

9. Wembley v Cogenhoe United - after drawing on Saturday these two must replay their FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie on Tuesday. Both sides lie third in their respective divisions having won all their league games so far so it's easy to see why they cancelled each other out. Apart from anything else it's a great chance to watch an FA Cup tie within sight of the Wembley arch where the final will ultimately be played.  (Tuesday 19 August, 745pm. Club info)

10. Phoenix Sports v Deal Town - last up this week we have another FA Cup replay between two rivals from the Southern Counties East League. Phoenix Sports will start as favourites even though this is their first ever FA Cup tie having only recently made it to this level. (Wednesday 20 August, 745pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

TLFG: 11-17 August 2014

It's been another busy old week at TLFG Towers.

Apart from the usual crafting of this piece there's also been the continued preparations ahead of Non-League Day (NLD).

We named our first NLD t-shirt competition winner. I hope to do the same this Friday so send in your pictures of support.

Colin from Southport sent in a picture of Tilly the TIY mascot
If you want to help make the NLD campaign a success, we really need help with publicity so if you run a website or blog and can put one of our banners on it then I'd greatly appreciate it.

FA CUP GETS UNDER WAY

Aside from all this, it's a big week on the pitch with the Premier League season finally getting under way and the FA Cup beginning its long journey to Wembley.

If you're in London for the whole weekend then this great cup competition has fixtures taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday so you can gorge yourself on Extra Preliminary Round football and begin your very own 'Road to Wembley'. One TLFG reader famously did this a couple of years ago and wrote this fine book

That's it from me. Don't forget, you can get all the latest ticket information for our local clubs and other big games taking place in the capital on the 'Match Ticket Info' page .

GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are almost 90 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures


View London match map 11-17 August 2014 in a larger map

Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below.

TLFG TOP 10

1. Arsenal v Crystal Palace - after three months of waiting, the Premier League makes its return on Saturday. The Gunners are currently seen by the bookies as the second best team in London and should have a decent season having recruited well over the summer. Palace did really well on their return to the top flight last year, finishing 11th. Tony Pulis will ensure a well organised side travel to the Emirates for this televised game but they'll do well to get a point. (Saturday 16 August, 530pm. Ticket info)

2. West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - a little earlier in the day we have this London derby. These two clubs' fans don't get on well and neither do their executives after the recent fight for the Olympic Stadium which the Hammers eventually won. Spurs are predicted to have a better year than their hosts but lost all three meetings against Sam Allardyce's side last season so will have to be on their guard. (Saturday 16 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Fulham v Millwall - we have another London derby in the Championship. After suffering relegation from the Premier League, the Cottagers are expected to do well with a play-off place their minimum target. They didn't begin well on Saturday though, losing 2-1 at Ipswich. They're unlikely to find this one easy either as Millwall recorded a solid 2-0 win over Leeds and have sold out their allocation of tickets meaning almost 4,000 excitable Lions fans will be heading their way. It's the first time these clubs have played since 1999 - on that occasion Fulham won 4-1. (Saturday 16 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Barnet v Bristol Rovers - there's not much going on elsewhere in the Football League so next up we have a Conference Premier match between two promotion contenders. Barnet begun their campaign with a stunning 5-0 away win at Chester which propelled them to the top of the table. On Tuesday they welcome Rovers who are spending their first season in non-league football since the 1920s after being relegated from League Two. Following the promotion of Luton last season, they are the biggest club in the division by some way and are seen by many as the team to beat. On Saturday they were held to a goalless draw by Grimsby, another of the big boys. (Tuesday 12 August, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Staines Town v Boreham Wood - in the division below we've got a game between two TLFG clubs who got off to positive starts on Saturday and consequently both sit in the Conference South's top five. The Swans missed the play-offs by six points last year and are fancied to have a similar season this time round. Their win at Whitehawk on Saturday, who probably should challenge for a play-off spot, will give them hope of doing well. They also beat Boreham Wood home and away last season. (Saturday 16 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Kingstonian v Dulwich Hamlet - the K's lived up to their billing as Isthmian League title contenders on Saturday as they notched an impressive 5-2 win at Enfield Town. The week ahead will really test their credentials as they play back-to-back home games against Dulwich and AFC Hornchurch who are also well fancied for promotion. I've gone for the Dulwich game as they also won on Saturday, have a much larger travelling support and are located much closer to Kingston than Hornchurch so there's a bit of derby feel to it. If you're looking for something to do with the kids, U16s get in free so it could make for a decent holiday treat. (Monday 11 August, 745pm. Ticket info)

7. Thurrock v Needham Market - in the Isthmian League Division 1 North we've got another early-season clash between two sides who are expected to challenge for honours. Thurrock and Needham Market both got off to winning ways on Saturday to the delight of their supporters. The hosts should be playing at a higher level after losing their Premier Division place to an administrative error the season before last while Needham Market have been close to going up several times in recent years.  (Saturday 16 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Egham Town v Kettering Town - in the parallel Southern League Division 1 Central, Egham claimed three points as they edged an opening day nine-goal thriller by 5-4 at Barton Rovers. Title favourites Kettering, the giants of the division, beat Aylesbury United 2-1 in front of a crowd of 689 so will provide formidable opposition on Saturday. (Saturday 16 August, 3pm. Club info)

9. Holmesdale v Tunbridge Wells - there are lots of great FA Cup ties this weekend so it's been hard to pick which ones to highlight. First up I've gone for this all Southern Counties East League game. Holmesdale got of to a flying start on Saturday thrashing Lingfield 8-1. Tunbridge Wells enjoyed a more sedate 3-0 win at Cray Valley as they too started well. The visitors are one of the bigger clubs in the division and know how to get to Wembley having made the final of the FA Vase in 2012/13.  (Saturday 16 August, 3pm. Club info)

10. Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Berkhamsted - in the other game we've got a match between sides who have made decent starts in the Combined Counties and Spartan South Midlands Leagues. Ashford were a Southern League side until last season so are one of the bigger clubs taking part at this stage. As a TLFG team we wish them all the best. (Saturday 16 August, 3pm. Club info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

TLFG: 4-10 August 2014

After all the weeks of pre-season, the real action is almost upon us.

On Saturday we saw the Combined Counties League get under way while this weekend everything bar the Premier League kicks-off. Exciting times.

There are still a few last-minute friendlies but it's mainly all about Saturday and those crucial opening fixtures.

NORTH LONDON DOUBLEHEADER

As some TLFG readers have pointed out, if you're in London that day and you want to do a 'groundhop double' it can be done in north London thanks to the two White Hart Lane clubs hosting games with staggered kick offs.

"The two White Hart Lane clubs?" I hear you ask. "Surely there's only one?" Technically you'd be right but guess what, it's not Spurs. In fact the main club on White Hart Lane are actually non-league side Haringey Borough. Spurs' stadium is located off Tottenham High Road at the junction with White Hart Lane but they chose that name for some reason.

Anyway I digress. At 3pm Haringey open their Essex Senior League campaign against Clapton in what should be an entertaining fixture. Over the last year or so, Clapton's fan base has grown massively thanks largely to their raucous bunch of ultras who create quite an atmosphere at games.

When this finishes you should have time to stroll down White Hart Lane to watch Spurs play German club Schalke in a friendly which kicks off at 530pm. If you've got tickets for this already and didn't know about this other earlier game please seriously consider giving it a go - it can't be easy running a non-league club in the shadow of such illustrious neighbours and a few extra people through the turnstiles could make a massive difference. In fact, if only 1% of the crowd going to Spurs went to this, it would probably provide them with their biggest crowd of the season.

NON-LEAGUE DAY LATEST

On the point of boosting non-league crowds, it's time to mention Non-League Day again. We're now less than five weeks away and there still seems so much to do.

The main event this week was the launch of our refreshed website. Its most important feature is the match finder which is almost complete - we're just waiting on the Sussex County League to announce their fixtures.

We've also got a new range of t-shirts. A percentage of sales of these will go to our official charity Prostate Cancer UK. Most of them are colour customisable so get buying or enter the competition to win one.

The other thing we really need help with is publicity so if you run a website or blog and can put one of our banners on it then I'd greatly appreciate it.

That's it from me. Don't forget, you can get all the latest ticket information for our local clubs and other big games taking place in the capital on the 'Match Ticket Info' page .

GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 70 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following match map. If you've never used it before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the left side of the map page to make sure you get all the information.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures


View London match map 4-10 August 2014 in a larger map


Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below.

TLFG TOP 10

1. FA Community Shield - the biggest game of the week sees the FA Cup and Premier League winners go head-to-head in the annual season curtainraiser at Wembley. That means this year's fixture will be between Arsenal and Manchester City which isn't a bad match-up by anyone's standards. Although this is technically little more than a friendly, the combatants always seem to take it pretty seriously and we've seen some decent games and goals in recent years. Such is the popularity and prestige of this game that it's already sold out so you're probably best to try and find a TV if you want to watch this one. (Sunday 10 August, 3pm. SOLD OUT)

2. Tottenham Hotspur v Schalke 04 - Spurs have made a very solid start to life under new boss Mauricio Pochettino winning three and drawing one of their pre-season games. Their latest outing on Saturday saw them crush Celtic 6-1 in Helsinki. German giants Schalke provide the opposition for their only home friendly. They came third in the Bundesliga last season and have been concentrating on playing English opponents so far this summer having beaten Stoke and drawn with West Ham. Today (Sunday) they play Newcastle too. Tickets are £20 for adults. (Saturday 9 August, 530pm. Ticket info)

3. Queens Park Rangers v PAOK - the build-up to QPR's return to the Premier League culminates in this friendly against one of the biggest teams in Greece. Rangers have been a bit underwhelming in pre-season but showed a few touches of class as they beat Shamrock Rovers 4-0 in Dublin on Saturday. After a slow start to the summer, it seems a number of transfers could be on the cards this week so hopefully a few will get a run out in this. PAOK have been even more ordinary over the last few weeks winning just one of their six friendlies. (Saturday 9 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. West Ham United v Sampdoria - it's Premier League versus Serie A in our last friendly of the week. I know they are only friendlies but the Hammers results over the last few weeks have been pretty poor. The only win they've had came on Saturday when they beat Schalke on penalties - a fine result given the game was in Germany too. Their Genoese opponents have been far more impressive, winning six of their eight games including a 16-0 victory against Bardonecchia who I presume must be an Italian non-league side or equivalent. (Saturday 9 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Brentford v Charlton Athletic - there's a strong argument to say that this should be match of the week as it's an actual live, fully competitive fixture and a London derby. After over 20 years away, Brentford are finally back in England's second tier so this is a massive day for the club. They've had a good pre-season and will fancy their chances against the Addicks who struggled last season and are among the favourites for relegation. Tickets are almost gone with the remaining ones only available to people with a purchasing history so it could be tough to get one. (Saturday 9 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Millwall v Leeds United - elsewhere in the Championship we've got a game that's already being seen by many as a relegation six-pointer. The Lions were poor on the pitch last season, while Leeds were rubbish off it and what goes on in the boardroom could undermine them again. However, what most people think when they see this fixture come up is who will win the battle of the fans. In the 2012/13 football arrests league table (the most recent one I've found) both finished in the top eight. When it came to banning orders they were both in the top five. When you consider most clubs at the top of the list are the biggest ones with the most fans, then it puts into context how significant the problem is at Millwall who average gates of just over 10,000. Definitely go if you want a match with a bit of atmosphere. (Saturday 9 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Leyton Orient v Chesterfield - the O's kick-off their League One campaign against last season's League Two champions Chesterfield. Having lost in last season's play-off final, the east London club will want to get off to a good start and justify the bookies' faith in them as being one of the main contenders for promotion. Expect this match to be tight - four of the last six meetings between the two have ended in draws. (Saturday 9 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. AFC Wimbledon v Shrewsbury Town - much has been made of the Dons' small budget so their continued survival in League Two is impressive. They came mighty close to dropping out of the Football League last season but stayed up and open this campaign against the Shrews who got relegated from League One. Rather than being predicted to struggle again, they are seen as being one of the most likely sides to mount a title challenge so should be worth a watch. (Saturday 9 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Dartford v Wrexham - it's not looking too good for London's Conference Premier clubs with Dartford and Welling seen by the bookmakers as the two worst sides in the division. The Darts got relegated last season but financial problems at other clubs saw them reprieved. Welling didn't do too badly but their budget is tiny compared to the likes of new giants of the division Bristol Rovers and the many other full-time clubs they compete against. Wrexham are another big club and are unsurprisingly fancied to do well. Get down to Princes Park to see if Dartford can prove the doubters wrong. (Saturday 9 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Wealdstone v Eastbourne Borough - after a pretty traumatic couple of decades, the Stones are back in the sixth tier of English football for the first time since 1992. After two years of failure in the Isthmian League play-offs, they won the title with relative ease last season to get back to a level which their fans will probably they feel they deserve to be at. As I've mentioned many times before, Wealdstone were the best team in non-league football nationwide for part of the '80s and although the landscape has changed massively since, they'll look to acquit themselves well at this level. They're not expected to be pushing for promotion this time round but I'm sure they'll make things difficult for several clubs. (Saturday 9 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.