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.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

TLFG: 28 July-3 August 2014

Greetings sports fans and welcome to TLFG.

Pre-season is now well under way and this week sees three of our local top-flight sides return to the capital to play a varying quality of opposition.

It's also the opening weekend of the Combined Counties League as competitive football also makes its return.

I'm not sure I'm going to get to see a game until the opening day of the Premier League in about three weeks time when I've managed to get a ticket for QPR's season opener against Hull City.

Having decided to forego a season ticket this year, I only went for membership and feared I might miss out in the scramble for tickets as the Premier League brings loads more fans to games.

Luckily my friends and I were on the ball and got in quick for game one and got some fairly easily for a very decent price of £30 (including a members' discount of £5). Given the negative ticket pricing stories emanating from QPR in recent years, I was pleasantly surprised by this.

Not long now!

Here's hoping the game is a lot better than our last two first-day matches in the Premier League - both ended in heavy home defeats to Bolton and Swansea, sides like Hull, who we would've thought we'd have had a chance against.

The rest of my week has been spent continuing to work towards Non-League Day on 6 September.

My main task has been putting the match map together. If you consider that compiling the weekly one I do for this blog takes about four hours, then doing one which covers the whole country is a mammoth task but one I find ultimately very satisfying. It is afterall, the key feature of NLD's website.

Said website will hopefully launch in the next few days and then we'll be into the final phase when things start to get really interesting...

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 pin - Thursday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures


View London match map 28 July-3 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. The Emirates Cup - Arsenal have been hosting four team pre-season tournaments on and off since the Makita International Tournament in 1991. In 2007 the popular Emirates Cup we have today got under way and has been contested every year since (bar 2012 because of the Olympics). This year's challengers to the Gunners are Benfica, Monaco and Valencia. There are two games a day over the weekend. As it stands, the Sunday has sold out and only a few are left for Saturday when it's Valencia v Monaco and Arsenal v Benfica.  (Saturday & Sunday 2-3 August from 2pm. Ticket info)

2. Brentford v Crystal Palace - the Bees have made a cracking start to pre-season with three consecutive wins over increasingly tougher opposition, scoring 11 goals in the process. On Tuesday they welcome Spanish club Osasuna before this London derby against the Eagles on Saturday. Tony Pulis guided Palace to a solid midtable finish in the Premier League last season and should be hard to beat again. I expect this to be quite a decent game and tickets are available from just £8. (Saturday 2 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Leyton Orient v Queens Park Rangers - this really should also have been a Championship v Premier League London derby but the O's blew a 2-0 half-time lead in the League One play-off final in May to miss out on promotion. Instead we've still got an attractive battle of east versus west on Tuesday night. Russel Slade's side are unbeaten in their three games so far while QPR have enjoyed one win and one defeat from a trip to Germany. This is a first-team game for the Premier League side but given they're also playing at Southend 24 hours later, there's likely to be a fair amount of squad rotation going on. (Tuesday 29 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Watford v Udinese - the fact that both clubs are owned by the Pozzo family is probably the main reason why this fixture has been arranged. It pits the Championship Hornets against the team from Italy's Serie A. Watford have crammed in seven games since the start of the month and are unbeaten but the Bianconeri are the highest calibre opponents they will have faced. The most notable thing about this match is that it's only £3 to get in with all profits going to charity. (Saturday 2 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Millwall v Real Mallorca - I can't think of many better ways to begin a weekend of football watching than a night in balmy Bermondsey watching the Lions take on former Copa del Rey winners Real Mallorca. Ian Holloway's side finished only four points above the relegation zone last season whilst the Los Bermellones avoided the drop into Spain's third tier by just one point as they also had a season to forget. Tickets are available at a flat price of £10. (Friday 1 August, 745pm. Ticket info)

6. Barnet v Wycombe Wanderers - these two looked almost certain to be playing each other in the Conference this season. Wycombe began the final day of the League Two campaign in the relegation zone, three points adrift of safety.However, they pulled off a 3-0 win at bottom club Torquay while Bristol Rovers lost 1-0 at Mansfield to go down in their place on goal difference. Although Barnet didn't struggle to stay up last season, they did miss out on promotion by a comfortable margin. They've also suffered some bruising defeats in pre-season, most recently a 5-1 drubbing by Brentford at home on Tuesday. This game could be quite tight. (Saturday 2 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Sutton United v Cambridge United - the hosts' pre-season campaign comes to a close with this game against League Two club Cambridge United. Paul Doswell's side have experienced a mixed bag of results over the last few weeks with three wins, a draw and two defeats. On Saturday they recorded a tidy 1-0 win at Isthmian League title contenders Maidstone United and next face Conference club Aldershot in another testing game. Cambridge have packed in seven games over the last two weeks suffering only one defeat to Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk so they should prove to be challenging opponents. (Saturday 2 August, 3pm. Club info)

8. Kingstonian v Dover Athletic - the K's had a fine season last time out, finishing second in the Isthmian League. Sadly they came unstuck in the play-offs, a result which saw long-serving manager Alan Dowson resign. Despite this disappointment, Kingstonian are fancied to do well again this year and are seen as London's best hope of winning the title. Dover are back in the Conference Premier after some fine late-season form guided them through the Conference South play-offs. The Whites should provide a good yardstick for the K's to measure themselves against as they also won the Isthmian League five years ago. (Saturday 2 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Thurrock v Ebbsfleet United - in the division below Kingstonian, Thurrock are seen as being the best that the Greater London area has to offer. Ebbsfleet who play just across the Thames in Kent have been installed as Conference South title favourites so in essence we have two teams who should be in positive spirits preparing for what I think is fair to call a derby. Although two divisions currently separate them, they were both Conference South clubs in 2010/11. Both games that season ended in a draw. (Tuesday 29 July, 745pm. Club info)

10. Greenwich Borough v Dartford - last up this week we have this groundshare derby. Southern Counties East League side Greenwich play four divisions below Dartford but began an eye-catching groundshare at the Conference Premier club's fine Princes Park last season. This was primarily due to some wealthy new owners taking over at Borough. This summer they have made further headlines by signing former Brentford and Millwall striker Gary Alexander whilst they also failed in an attempt to bring in former Dutch star Edgar Davids. The Darts only avoided relegation last season courtesy of a reprieve so perhaps they'll have to watch their backs!  (Sunday 3 August, 1pm. 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, 20 July 2014

TLFG: 21-27 July 2014

Hi there and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

It's been a hot and steamy old week in London with hot days and thundery nights, very tropical.

There were also lots of games on, some of which drew capacity crowds.

The much anticipated friendly between AFC Wimbledon and Chelsea didn't disappoint as the League Two side raced into a 2-0 lead before three late goals (two from John Terry) proved to be their undoing.

A strong Arsenal side also drew a large attendance at Boreham Wood who were opening their new West Stand.

Did you go to a game? This week's schedule is absolutely packed with games but all our Premier League sides are off on foreign tours so it will be lower league clubs that take centre stage and the top clubs' reserve and youth sides.

The Non-League Day preparations have also continued this week with the main event being the release of the Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern League fixtures.

Personally, this level of non-league football is the one I most identify with and enjoy. The clubs are a good size and admission remains at £10 or under which to me is crucial.

I've also done my first press interview of the new campaign for the Non League Paper and we've had a number of discussions with some other potential partners.

The hard work of getting all the matches on to the match map is the next challenge - it's simple enough but very time consuming with several hundred having to be added.

This afternoon we've got our biggest planning meeting yet as we move into the final six weeks of the campaign.

On the day itself I'm pretty certain I'll be off to Dulwich Hamlet v Hampton & Richmond Borough - a great host club, decent opponents and it's easy to get to.

Over the previous four years I've been to Hayes & Yeading United, Tooting & Mitcham United, Wealdstone and Harrow Borough so it will be good to visit another club and see how they do 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 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
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 21-27 July 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. Brentford v OGC Nice -  the friendly of the week sees Championship newcomers Brentford host Ligue 1 outfit Nice. After finishing runners-up to Wolves in League One last season, the Bees find themselves back in the second tier for the first time since 1993. Their pre-season began with a solid 3-1 win at Boreham Wood and they will travel to Barnet before hosting their first home game against Les Aiglons. The club from the Cote d'Azur narrowly avoided relegation from the French top flight last season so should provide interesting opposition. (Saturday 26 July, 4pm. Ticket info)

2. Dagenham & Redbridge v Colchester United - the Daggers have two home games this week but I've gone for this one over the match against MK Dons as it's an Essex derby. As usual, the League Two club have a packed pre-season schedule and will have played six times by the time of this match. They've made a disappointing start so far with four defeats from five against primarily non-league opposition. This week's games are against League One sides so hopefully they'll up their game. (Saturday 26 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Barnet v Brentford - as recently as 2009 these two were rivals in League Two. The last five years have seen Barnet slide back into the Conference while Brentford have risen to the heady heights of the Championship meaning three divisions now separate them. Since Barnet's move to The Hive, only eight miles now lies between them so I think it's fair to call this a derby. Recent games have been tight with Brentford usually sneaking home by a one-goal margin. (Tuesday 22 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Dartford v Gillingham - the Gills' tour of south-east London continues with a trip to Princes Park on Tuesday. Having been held to a 1-1 draw by Welling on Saturday, they face a similar challenge from fellow Conference outfit Dartford here. The Darts have lost twice against Football League opponents in recent days but only by narrow margins. This game against Peter Taylor's League One side will be their last home game before the new season so will hope to get a decent result. (Tuesday 22 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Boreham Wood v Cambridge United - after hosting a strong Arsenal side on Saturday, this match is going to seem like a bit of comedown. The Wood opened their new stand against the Gunners and put on a good show in front of a big crowd as they lost 2-0. It will be great if a few people who turned up to watch that game are tempted to return to Meadow Park for the visit of League Two Cambridge who are the lowest ranked side they've played in pre-season so far. United, however, have been banging in goals for fun recently and held La Liga club Espanyol to a 2-2 draw on Saturday. (Tuesday 22 July, 730pm. Club info)

6. Thurrock v Portsmouth - one of the more unusual match-ups of the summer sees Isthmian League Division 1 North club Thurrock host League Two Pompey. Four divisions currently separate the clubs but it should be many more when you consider Portsmouth were a Premier League side as recently as 2010. Terrible financial mismanagement robbed them of that status and they plunged down the pyramid, even flirting with relegation to the Conference last season. Thurrock have also had a traumatic time of late, suffering back-to-back relegations in 2011/12 and 2012/13. They steadied the ship last season and almost went back up and will hope for better this time. (Tuesday 22 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

7. Sutton United v West Ham United XI - the U's have enjoyed successful run-outs against youthful sides from Chelsea and Reading so far so it will be interesting to see how they fare against a development side from West Ham. With the first team on tour in New Zealand, don't expect to see any household names on show but you could see a star of the future as they look to emerge from the Hammers' famous academy system. (Wednesday 23 July, 745pm. Club info)

8. Wealdstone v Watford U21 - the Stones romped to a 4-0 win over local rivals Harrow Borough on Saturday suggesting they could give this Hornets side a tough evening. Wealdstone have struck up a good relationship with Watford, a club they used to groundshare with, in recent seasons so a reasonable turnout should be expected. One or two first-team players could even make the visitors' squad as they don't have any other games on around then. (Wednesday 23 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

9. Harrow Borough v Arsenal XI - after their dreadful start against Wealdstone, Boro will have to really up their game as they face back-to-back matches against a good St Albans City side and this development squad from Arsenal. Glamour friendlies like these often don't prove much on the field but provide a vital source of income to the host clubs. It was a game like this that inspired me to set up Non-League Day originally. If you're an Arsenal fan who can't make it over to New York for the first team game, please give this one a try instead. (Saturday 26 July, 3pm. Club info)

10. Millers Challenge Invitational - pre-season mini tournaments are becoming ever more popular and over in Essex we've got this fine looking event this weekend. Aveley play host as four neighbouring clubs from the Isthmian League go head-to-head over two days. Rather than being a knockout competition with semi-finals, this takes on an Emirates Cup format with points awarded for wins, draws and goals scored. East Thurrock United, Grays Athletic and Romford provide the opposition with games kicking off at 1pm and 330pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available game-by-game, by the day or all weekend. (Saturday & Sunday 26-27 July from 1pm. Match 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, 13 July 2014

TLFG: 14-20 July 2014

Greetings readers, welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

I hope you're well and in the mood for some football as things are really starting to hot up this week.

Once tonight's World Cup final is out of the way, all the big stars start filtering back to their clubs (via a beach somewhere) and start spicing up some pre-season friendlies.

One or two players whose teams went out in the group stage may even be back in training by now and could feature for Arsenal and Chelsea in their friendlies at lower league London opposition at the weekend (more on that below).

Last week I mentioned how I was about to enter the scrum for QPR season tickets - well it turned out that all four of the people I go with decided against it so none of us got one and they all sold out.

It's membership for us instead and I hope the club make it worthwhile and tier it in someway so new fans drawn in by Premier League status don't suddenly find themselves on an equal footing with people who have been members for years. Other clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham manage this but QPR are notorious for failing to reward loyalty and I fear we may be shortchanged again.

The Non-League Day preparations have also continued. The big event this week was announcing our official charity partner for this year's campaign - Prostate Cancer UK.

We were initially drawn to them by their 'Men United' campaign, fronted by comedian Bill Bailey, and the partnership they have with the Football League and its clubs. Here's hoping it will be a tie-up that works well for all parties.


Tomorrow sees the release of the Isthmian League fixtures and there's one team I'm really hoping end up at home on the day. I won't say who but they are one of the best clubs at that level and have missed out on all four previous occasions - they deserve a go and I'm told they'll make a real effort to get extra people in.

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, in case of bad weather, 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 14-20 July 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. AFC Wimbledon v Chelsea -  the friendly of the week is a derby between two south-west London clubs - one from League Two, the other from the Premier League. Most fans reading this blog will remember when both of these sides were in the top flight with the last match between the two seeing the Blues beat the Dons 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in February 2000. A lot has changed since then and technically AFC Wimbledon are a different club but many of the fans remain so Saturday should be quite an occasion. To be clear, Chelsea are treating this as a first XI fixture so expect a strong side. Only a few tickets remain so buy in advance. (Saturday 19 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Boreham Wood v Arsenal - next up is this other appealing contest between two clubs from the north of town. The Wood have a special relationship with the Gunners which sees the Premier League side play the lions share of their reserve and women's teams games at Meadow Park. On the last two Non-League Days, Arsenal have also loaned Boreham Wood their luxury team bus to transport their squad to away games. This Saturday's match is being used to officially open their new West Stand with Arsene Wenger set to name a very strong squad in honour of the occasion. Again, tickets are selling well so buy in advance. If you can't make this, Boreham Wood are also hosting Championship club Brentford on Thursday. (Saturday 19 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Dartford v Millwall - the Darts should have been playing Conference South football this season but saw their relegation reversed when other clubs fell into financial difficulties. Yesterday they began pre-season with a 1-0 win at neighbours Thurrock. On Tuesday things should get a lot tougher when Ian Holloway's Millwall come to town. This will be the Championship club's first game of the summer and they'll look to do well in what also has a derby feel to it. Despite a decent crowd being expected, it's pay on the gate with no tickets being sold in advance (Tuesday 15 May, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Welling United v Gillingham - just down the road in Welling, the Wings welcome their second Football League team of the summer to Park View Road. Having seen off Charlton Athletic 2-0 on Saturday, they next welcome League One outfit Gillingham who play a little outside London in north Kent. The Gills will be paying visits to most senior non-league clubs in the county over the next few weeks and started with a solid 3-1 win at Folkestone on Saturday. They travel to Bromley ahead of this one so will have two games under their belt by the time this one comes round. Not much ticket info is readily available for this but the Charlton game was £13 in advance, £15 on the day. (Saturday 19 July, 3pm. Club info)

5. Barnet v Luton Town - both these sides have seen better days and are almost certainly playing in divisions beneath where they really should be. Last season they competed as rivals for the Conference title - the Bees never really got going and missed the play-offs while the Hatters ran away with it after four years of previous disappointments. Back in League Two, the former top-flight side should bring a sizeable following to the Hive for this match on Sunday afternoon. The Bees opened their pre-season with a 1-0 loss at home to Peterborough and also welcome League Two Stevenage on Tuesday. (Sunday 20 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Wealdstone v Dagenham & Redbridge - it will be an interesting season for the Stones who have been gradually gaining momentum like a locomotive over the last two or three years. After reaching an FA Trophy semi-final and missing out in two play-off campaigns, they finally bagged the Isthmian League title in April to climb up to the Conference South. Back in the '80s Wealdstone were the best non-league club in the country but never made it into the Football League. All kinds of problems resulted from the sale of their ground in the early '90s and they fell several rungs down the non-league ladder. Now they're almost back to the heady heights they once competed at and play their first home game of the summer against the Daggers from League Two. Thus far Gordon Bartlett's side have managed back-to-back wins at Leverstock Green and Burnham while Dagenham have lost two of their three friendlies albeit against theoretically stronger opposition. (Tuesday 15 July, 745pm. Club info)

7. Sutton United v Reading U21 - after holding a Chelsea U21 side to a 0-0 draw on Saturday, Sutton next face an U21 team from Championship club Reading. A bumper crowd of over 1,700 watched that one and they'll hope to get another decent attendance for this one. Sutton are currently fourth favourites for the Conference South title after missing out in the play-offs last season. Head down to Gander Green Lane to see if they're worth a punt. (Saturday 19 July, 3pm. Club info)

8. Hampton & Richmond Borough v Brentford XI - the Beavers had to settle for third place in the Geoff Harvey Memorial Vase at Corinthian Casuals this weekend. After suffering a semi-final loss to Merstham on Saturday, they came back to drub the hosts 5-1 in today's third place play-off. Next up is the almost perennial visit of a Brentford side to the Beveree. This is not being classed as a first team game by the visitors so don't expect too many regulars. (Tuesday 15 July, 745pm. Club info)

9. Thurrock v Charlton Athletic XI - with the first team on tour in Spain, don't expect household names in the Charlton squad for this one either. Thurrock opened their pre-season with a narrow loss to Dartford who play three divisions above them. An Addicks reserve side will probably be of a similar standard so another close game could ensue. (Wednesday 16 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

10. Harrow Borough v Wealdstone - I don't like to feature the same team twice in a Top 10 but I'm going to break my rule to squeeze in the only all non-league match recommendation of the week. Yes, it's Harrow derby time again. The Stones' promotion made it look as if this would be the first season for many years that their wouldn't be a Harrow derby but the clubs have come together to put on this 'friendly' instead. Little love is lost between the fans of these clubs with Wealdstone's blue horde far outnumbering Boro's hardy regulars. As I've previously mentioned, the vitriol seems a lot stronger from the Stones fans and I've never really understood why as they've historically had much the better of things. I'm hoping to get to this one. (Saturday 19 July, 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, 6 July 2014

TLFG: 7-13 July 2014

Hi there one and all and welcome to the second TLFG of the 2014/15 season.

It's been quite a week at the World Cup with some very memorable games and notable individual performances. Who do you think will win? Who do you want to win? Personally I'd like to see the Dutch do it as they've never won it before and, personally, I think they've been the most entertaining of the remaining four so far.

Have you seen any pre-season games yet? There haven't been many to choose from but I'm sure some of you have ventured out to get your football fix.

Personally my focus has turned once again to Non-League Day preparations.

This year's event will take place on Saturday 6 September and the pressure's on to make it the most successful it's ever been.


Just two months to go!

Discussions with our new charity partner (name to be announced soon) and crafting an accompanying press release have kept me busy while the announcement of the Conference and FA Vase fixtures mean we now know the first batch of clubs who will be hosting on the day.

In the London area Barking, Barnet, Broadfields United, Bromley, CB Hounslow United, Croydon, Epsom Athletic, Fisher, Glebe, Holmesdale, Oxhey Jets, Raynes Park Vale, Seven Acre & Sidcup, Staines Town and Sutton United are all at home. Hopefully they'll get some good crowds in.

The next lot of fixtures, including the Isthmian League, are due out on 14 July - I can hardly wait.

Next up for me is the scramble for a QPR season ticket which begins at 10am tomorrow (Monday). Here's hoping it will be worth buying this year.

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 40 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, in case of bad weather, 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
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures


View London match map 7-13 July 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. Welling United v Charlton Athletic -  the friendly of the week is a derby between two south-east London clubs - one from the Conference Premier, the other from the Championship. After spending this weekend playing in a tournament in Belgium, the Addicks first pre-season game back on home soil will be this one at Park View Road. It will be a chance to see what changes new boss Bob Peeters has made since taking over at the end of May. Welling had a very satisfactory return to the top level of the non-league game last season and will hope to smoothly bed in their new signings to make a good start this time. (Saturday 12 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Barnet v Peterborough United - this game isn't a derby but the clubs are strongly connected by one man - Barry Fry. One of the most colorful characters in the English game, Fry came to prominence as Barnet manager in the '80s and early '90s when he took them into the Football League for the first time. These days he's director of football at League One Posh, hence the arrangement of this game. Barnet missed a place in the Conference Premier play-offs by seven points last season and boss Martin Allen will be under pressure to secure a top-five finish. (Saturday 12 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Sutton United v Chelsea U21 - among the favourites for the Conference South title, Sutton usually manage to put together an entertaining package of pre-season games and this year their first home match is against a team of up-and-comers and maybe one or two Chelsea first teamers who didn't go to the World Cup. A similar fixture last year drew a large crowd and saw a big win for the visitors. Tickets are available for £10 and can be bought in advance if you want to avoid queuing. (Saturday 12 May, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Staines Town v Reading U21 - the Swans had a pretty decent 2013/14 finishing eighth in the Conference South. This year the bookies give them virtually no chance of winning the title which suggests they probably think they'll be stuck in a relegation dogfight instead. See if this looks like being the case when they welcome the youngsters from nearby Championship club Reading.  (Saturday 12 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Walton Casuals v Fulham U21 - by their recent standards Walton had a great season last time. They even made the early running in the Isthmian Division 1 South but were caught by the chasing pack and finished a creditable ninth. The pick of their pre-season games is this one against Fulham whom club chairman Tony Gale represented over 250 times, presumably making the arrangement of this game a lot easier. Casuals have failed to win either of their first two friendlies so will probably find the going tough here too. (Saturday 12 July, 3pm. Club info)

6. Dulwich Hamlet v Bromley - Dulwich suffered a disappointing end to their season in the Isthmian Premier as they went from briefly leading to finishing just outside the play-offs in what was a thrilling campaign for the neutral. Their first friendly is against fellow south-east Londoners Bromley who endured a fairly similar fate in the Conference South - blowing an 11-point lead before tamely bowing out in the play-offs. The Ravens head to Champion Hill with a game under their belts already after they lost 1-0 at home to League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday. (Saturday 12 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Thurrock v Dartford - little more than the span of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge separates these two clubs so although they play in different counties this is a derby. When this blog started out in 2011 they used to face each other in the Conference South, now three divisions separate them after Dartford's promotion to the Conference Premier and Thurrock's double relegation to the Isthmian League Division 1 North. It would only be two if Dartford hadn't been reprieved from relegation themselves this summer following financial problems at other clubs. They are expected to struggle again so a morale boosting performance at Ship Lane is almost a must. (Saturday 12 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. VCD Athletic v Ebbsfleet United - VCD joined the Isthmian League last season and topped the Division 1 North pretty much from start to finish, stunning many along the way. They now find themselves in the Premier Division and have landed a challenging friendly against Conference South title favourites Ebbsfleet who hail from just a few miles to the east. Is their fairytale likely to continue? Find out if the omens look good on Saturday. (Saturday 12 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. The Geoff Harvey Memorial Vase - this mini tournament is one of the highlights of pre-season, certainly if you live in south-west London. Hosted by Corinthian Casuals and contested by four teams over a weekend it usually provides some decent entertainment. Alongside the hosts we also have returning champions Kingstonian, fellow Isthmian Premier side Hampton & Richmond Borough and Division 1 South outfit Merstham. The semi-finals see Corinthian Casuals play Kingstonian and Hampton take on Merstham on Saturday ahead of a third-place play-off and final on Sunday. Day and weekend tickets are available, although you can just turn up for the final as I did last year. Give it a go! (Saturday and Sunday 12 & 13 July. Game 1 at 11am, Game 2 at 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Southall v London Tigers - these two play several hundred metres apart either side of the A40 over on the west side of town. Southall currently play in the tenth tier of English football and groundshare at Hanwell Town but they are ambitious and could well compete alongside London Tigers in the Spartan South Midlands Premier in the not too distant future. (Saturday 12 July, 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.