Sunday, 25 January 2015

TLFG: 26 January - 1 February 2015

Is it that time again? It's amazing how a week can go so quickly.

How has it been for you? For me, not much happened until Friday when we held our first informal Non-League Day 2015 planning meeting.

A few interesting things came up and the day has the potential, once again, to grow even more. Our German and Swiss counterparts have already got their date announced and website up and running with their joint event 'Lokalrunde' being held over the weekend of 5/6 September. If you fancy trying some some non-league football over there then put the dates in your diary now - I have.

We've pretty much chosen our date too but have a couple of things to double check before we can officially announce it.

Dagenham & Redbridge is the place to be for cheap tickets this week
With that out of the way I faced a dilemma on Saturday. Since I began this blog I have become a father. My ideal Saturday starts with a parkrun in the morning and continues with a football match in the afternoon.

Since the arrival of my daughter I feel very lucky and guilty if I get to do both and now pretty much have to make a choice. If QPR are playing at home then it's easier as the ground is pretty much at the end of my road so attending only takes up about two hours which I can usually get away with. 

However, it has now been decreed that I can do both IF I take my daughter with me. 

It was a tantalising prospect so I put the feelers out on Friday night asking fellow fans where they recommended for the buggy users amongst us. 

I got some very helpful suggestions but some were immediately ruled out. I don't drive and travel by train to most places so step-free access was an issue for some destinations.

Others were also thought better of because the games were too big and the compact grounds likely to be too busy.

The strongest contender was ultimately Fisher, in the Southern Counties East League, whose chairman was swift to invite me to their game against Croydon. They groundshare with Dulwich Hamlet at Champion Hill - a ground easily reached by public transport with good access all the way along the route. I was even told by another fan that nappy changing could be undertaken in the boardroom!

Ultimately it proved to be just a fact-finding exercise as the timings went out the window - one of the challenges of having a small child. We ended up spending our afternoon at Battersea Park Children's Zoo instead.

Thanks again to all those that did respond and hopefully we'll start getting out and about to football soon.

Oh yes, just in case you were wondering, I did get to complete the parkrun part of my ideal day (my local event at Wormwood Scrubs). Next Saturday I hope to do the new one in South Oxhey near Watford. Give it a go if you're in the area or even if you're not.

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
White pin - Sunday fixtures



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 Manchester City - it didn't take much to decide what should be match of the week. Quite simply these are the top two teams in the country right now, although you wouldn't have thought it on Saturday as both bowed out of the FA Cup at home to lower division opposition. This will be different, though. No players will be rested, no chances will be taken. The Blues were having a mini blip in the league at the start of the month which saw City catch them but now it's the Mancunians who are slipping up. The gap is currently five points so City really can't afford to lose. If fit and selected, this will also mark Chelsea legend Frank Lampard's return to Stamford Bridge with an opposing team. He famously scored a late equaliser in the reverse fixture back in September. (Premier League, Saturday 31 January, 530pm. Ticket info)

2. Brentford v Middlesbrough - we've got a mouthwatering clash in the Championship too as a couple of title contenders duel for top spot. The table is so tight at the moment, that anyone of the top five could be leading the pack come tea-time on Saturday. With the Bees being freshly promoted and Boro finishing 12th last season, both sides have come a bit from nowhere which is always pleasing to see. The Teesiders are of course former members of the Premier League so their challenge isn't a great shock but Brentford are a big surprise. They are one of the smallest clubs in the division and have rarely competed at this level so when they lost 4-0 at the Riverside earlier in the campaign, no-one would've expected them to regroup and keep up their amazing form. That said, Boro are a bogey team for the Bees who are winless against them since 1964. (Championship, Saturday 31 January, 1215pm. Ticket info)

3. Leyton Orient v Scunthorpe United - by the time you read this you might struggle to get a ticket for both of the above but that won't be a problem here. That's not to say this isn't a significant game, far from it. The O's have had a turbulent season and are currently languishing in League One's dreaded bottom four but they'll almost certainly move out of it if they beat fellow strugglers Scunthorpe who are just three points ahead. The Iron, however, are doing pretty well following the appointment of former Man Utd player Mark Robins as manager in October. With only three defeats in their last 17 games they will be tough to beat. They have, however, lost their last two so it could be a good time to play them. (League One, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Dagenham & Redbridge v Cheltenham Town - the Daggers didn't play on Saturday and duly remained in the League Two relegation zone. The Essex club have been flirting with a return to non-league football for a year or two now and they'll really need to get a good result here to keep spirits up. Cheltenham are actually in worse form than Dagenham, with only one win in 12, so should represent one of the softest targets they've been presented with for a while. It's also 'Daggers Against Racism Day' so ticket prices have been cut - standing will cost you just £2.50. However, you must buy in advance to get these prices. (League Two, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Dartford v Bristol Rovers - I'm still pinching myself that a club of the Pirates' stature are plying their trade in non-league football this season. The West Country club, in terms of attendance, are the giants of the Conference with average crowds of over 6,000 which is nearly double what nearest rivals Grimsby Town and Wrexham get. Despite their huge following, they aren't running away with the league. They actually had a bit of a shaky start but are now up in third and a shoe-in for a play-off spot at least. Dartford are almost the mirror image - with only 1,000 fans attending games and only five wins under their belt, they are third from bottom. The Kent club did well to hold FC Halifax to a draw in the FA Trophy on Saturday but that means a long midweek trip for the replay before this game - hardly ideal. Dartford gave a decent account of themselves when they last met in October, narrowly losing 1-0 and they'll have to be at their best to avoid defeat here. (Conference National, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Bromley v Havant & Waterlooville - the Ravens have had a great campaign but suffered a bit of a dip in form recently as they took only one point from three games. On Saturday they got back on track with a morale boosting 2-1 win at promotion rivals Basingstoke Town to stay second. This Saturday they face another big challenge in the form of third placed H&W. The Hawks are only three points behind and ready to try and avenge the home defeat they suffered on the opening day of the season. Both sides have two games in hand on leaders Boreham Wood, so wins will put both in a strong position to challenge for the title. (Conference South, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Harrow Borough v Wingate & Finchley - as has been well documented, I like Harrow so find it hard to see them struggling. Manager Dave Anderson announced his resignation nearly two weeks ago but decided to stay on until a replacement was found. On Saturday they narrowly lost again at Grays as the gloom continued. This morning, however, his successor was finally announced - Steve Baker who was in charge at Chipstead. His first match is likely to be this one against neighbours W&F. Wingate have been superb this season and are another fine example to Harrow of how well a club with a small fanbase and limited resources can do. With five wins from their last six, they find themselves well in contention for a place in the Conference South, something that a club averaging crowds of 136 shouldn't be able to do. They are also in possession of the division's top scorer David Knight so he should be worth taking a look at too.  (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Club info)

8. Tooting & Mitcham United v Burgess Hill Town - the Terrors haven't really lived up to their nickname this season, coasting along comfortably in midtable where they will probably finish. You get the sense that with their fine facilities, if they got everything in place they could do something really impressive a bit like arch rivals Dulwich Hamlet (dare I say it). That all seems a long way off at the moment though, with the main reason for you going to see this game being the visitors. Sussex club Burgess Hill are, in terms of form, one of the best in country at any level. With 27 league games played this season, they are unbeaten. They are only three points clear at the top of the Isthmian League Division 1 South but they have a whopping four games in hand on their two nearest rivals so it's looking pretty good for them. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Club info)

9. Barking v Clapton - if you fancy a good old East End derby then get yourself down to Mayesbrook Park for one of the games of the day in the Essex Senior League. Both these sides are enjoying good times at the moment, sitting nicely in the top five. The Blues are second so will start as favourites but a large and lively away following will make sure the Tons feel at home. The last match between them ended in a 0-0 draw and it's likely to be close again this time. (Essex Senior League, Saturday 31 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Phoenix Sports v Tunbridge Wells - it's almost three years since I last went to see Phoenix in action. They were in the Kent Invicta League in those days and hoping for big things. Here we are in 2015 and they look well capable of repeating the meteoric rise of neighbours VCD Athletic who have climbed all the way up to the Isthmian Premier. Still a couple of years away from that level, Phoenix are hot favourites to win the Southern Counties East League this season and move up again. They have also done superbly well to make it to the last 16 of the FA Vase, a tournament that Tunbridge Wells made it to the final of two seasons ago. Along they way they grew their fanbase considerably making them one of the biggest clubs in this division. It should make for a lively Wednesday evening. (Southern Counties East League, Wednesday 28 January, 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, 18 January 2015

TLFG: 19-25 January 2015

Welcome to TLFG, it's great to have you here.

Last week I wrote about how Harrow Borough needed to change things up a bit in order to avoid relegation. On Monday Dave Anderson, their manager, stood down. Dave has done a decent job on very tight finances over the last three and half years and has continued the club's proud tradition of somehow avoiding the drop.

Sadly that tradition is under real threat and they lost again to a late goal at Hampton & Richmond on Saturday while a replacement was still being sought. 

QPR, my first love, are in an equally precarious situation but manager Harry Redknapp is still hanging on following a 2-0 loss at home to Manchester United.

I went to this game and Rangers did give it a good go, arguably shading the first half which ended goalless.

Joey Barton prepares to swing in a free-kick as QPR search for an equaliser
Some tactical changes by Louis van Gaal made the difference after the interval but with only a one-goal lead going into injury time, it wasn't easy for the Red Devils.

Elsewhere, long time TLFG reader Paul B from the Netherlands, was back in town to watch Charlton's game up at Watford. The tickets were cheap but sadly the Addicks, his favourite English club, got thrashed. It wasn't a completely miserable trip as I'd arranged for some Watford fans to look after him before the game and give him a bit of background about the Hornets.

If you haven't heard of Paul before, I gave him a hand researching his book on London football at the end of 2013. If you speak Dutch and are thinking of coming here to see a game I recommend you give 'Matchdays' a read. I caught up with him in Shepherd's Bush after the game and apparently it's proving popular.

Last week I went back to working Monday-Friday for the first time in almost 15 years so maybe I'll get to see a bit more live football in the near future.

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
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures


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 Leicester City - it's a really big week for Spurs with back-to-back home games in two cup competitions which they should win. In midweek they host Sheffield United in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final and then have this game in the FA Cup fourth round. Spurs haven't won the league for over 50 years but with 12 domestic cup wins under their belts, they know a thing or two about knock-out football. With only two all-Premier League ties nationwide, this becomes one of the biggest games of the round. On paper this should be a certain home win - Tottenham are fifth in the table while Leicester are bottom. Spurs also beat the Foxes 2-1 on Boxing Day at the King Power Stadium so the omens don't look too good for the visitors. (FA Cup fourth round, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Bradford City - the only other tie in the capital could well provide one of the mismatches of the season. The Blues are in imperious form at the moment as a hapless Swansea City discovered on Saturday. The Swans are a decent Premier League side so you have to fear for the League One Bantams. The Yorkshire club will come to London with nothing to lose and to be fair they are one of the best sides in their division. Despite this, Jose Mourinho will almost certainly rest a good amount of his first team but even then they should have more than enough for their opponents. (FA Cup fourth round, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Fulham v Nottingham Forest - both these sides really should be doing better. Before the season, both were fancied to do well in the battle to get into the Premier League. The Cottagers had just come down along with their TV parachute payments while Forest had invested in new players and had former playing legend Stuart Pearce in charge. Fulham started badly and plummeted to the bottom while Forest got off to a flyer. Since then their seasons' have inverted and consequently they're now more or less alongside each other in midtable. Hopefully we'll get a repeat of September's match at the City Ground where the sides laid on an eight-goal thriller which Forest won 5-3. (Championship, Wednesday 21 January, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Watford v Blackpool - with both sides making swift exits from the FA Cup they return to league action this weekend. The Hornets hammered the previously tough to beat Charlton 5-0 on Saturday, a result which made the sacking of Bob Peeters look a bit rash. The result kept them in the top six well on course for a play-off place. This weekend they have a great chance to make further progress as bottom club Blackpool pay a visit. The Seasiders have been pretty poor this season as off-field problems have taken their toll. They have, however, taken four points from their last three league games so there are signs of a revival. If you're a neutral you should strongly consider going to this as all tickets are half price. Bargain!  (Championship, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. AFC Wimbledon v Accrington Stanley - after the highs of giving Liverpool a run for their money in the FA Cup a couple of weeks ago, it's all gone a bit flat for the Dons. They've played two league games since and lost both with the 3-1 reverse against struggling Carlisle at Kingsmeadow being particularly disappointing. In order to stop the rot they'll need to see off Accrington who are locked on level points with them in midtable. Since joining the Football League in 2011, the Kingston-based club have failed to win any of their seven games against the Lancashire outfit so it could be tricky. (League Two, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dartford v FC Halifax Town - slightly strangely in my opinion, the powers that be have decided to schedule the next round of the FA Trophy alongside that of the FA Cup. Out of the remaining 16 teams fighting for a chance to get Wembley, only one is from the TLFG catchment area. Given how bad the Darts have been in the league this season, it's no mean feat that they've got this far in the Trophy. On Saturday they play host to Yorkshire club Halifax who are having a much better time of things and who won at Princes Park only five days ago in a Conference game. (FA Trophy third round, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Hampton & Richmond Borough v Maidstone United - a tough week beckons for Hampton as they welcome two of the top three to the Beveree for back-to-back Isthmian League matches. It starts with the visit of leaders Maidstone. The Kent side are the biggest club in the division who average crowds of over 1,700 - impressive for a seventh tier side. After just missing out on a play-off place last season, they have become hot favourites for the title this time round. Presently they are three points clear of local rivals Margate but have two games in hand so that could become nine points. Although unbeaten in nine league fixtures, they have drawn four so are by no means unstoppable. Prior to Saturday's important win over Harrow, Hampton had been winless in seven so it could be a tough evening. If you can't make this game, then Saturday's match against Dulwich Hamlet also looks well worth a watch. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Tuesday 20 January, 745pm. Club info)

8. Thurrock v Harlow Town - in the division below you've got a chance to look at another title-chasing team as the table topping Hawks travel to Thurrock. At the time of writing, Harlow are six points clear of Needham Market but they have three crucial games in hand so it's close. To stay well ahead they'll need to win at Ship Lane but it shouldn't be easy as the hosts have promotion ambitions of their own. They may be down in eighth but they're only four points adrift of the play-off places. When they last met in September it ended in a 1-1 draw so it should be close again. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Whyteleafe v Merstham - in the parallel southern division, we've got a Surrey derby to look forward to. These two play either side of the M25 and are both chasing a play-off place. They've already played twice this season in the league and county cup and the honours went to Merstham on both occasions. However, both those games were played at Moatside so this will be the Leafe's first chance to have a crack at them on their own turf. It's a bigger game for the Leafe as defeat could potentially leave them eight points adrift that all important fifth place. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. North Greenford United v Kettering Town - the Blues' game against Kettering is another contender for mismatch of the week. North Greenford have been struggling for a while now and currently find themselves ahead of bottom club AFC Hayes solely on goal difference. The Poppies should be playing at a much higher level but events off the pitch have seen them fall down the divisions in recent years. After some gloomy times, which has seen them lose their ground, things appear to be looking up as they have climbed to the top of the Southern League Division 1 Central. They're not having things all their own way by any means, however, with only five points separating the top four. Sadly NGU still look like cannon fodder on this occasion. (Southern League Division 1 Central, Saturday 24 January, 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, 11 January 2015

TLFG: 12-18 January 2015

Hello and welcome to TLFG - your guide to all the week's football in London.

I hope you're well and that your football gave you more joy than mine did this weekend.

As you may have noticed from my profile I support QPR and also have a soft spot for non-league side Harrow Borough. Both suffered defeats this weekend and both look like good bets for relegation from their respective divisions.

If Rangers go down it won't be a huge surprise and in many respects it wouldn't leave too many people scratching their heads if Boro went down too but it would be a shame.

I've been following Harrow since 1988 and in that entire time they have been generally pretty rubbish but they never ever, ever get relegated - somehow they always pull it off. I remember a 5-0 away win at a good Windsor & Eton side on the final day one season in the early '90s with Paul Ripley scoring a hat-trick - dream stuff. They look like they'll need something special this time too as they've now gone seven league games without a win.

All is not lost though. There are a number of teams in the mire and a win could lift them out of the bottom four but they need it to come sooner rather than later so that morale doesn't slip too far. Come on the Boro!

The week ahead doesn't have many blockbuster fixtures hence a rather strange TLFG Top 10 which jumps from the Championship to the Isthmian League. Although I've got a ticket for QPR v Man Utd on Saturday, the two FA Vase ties this weekend look more exciting and with one being played on Sunday I'd strongly suggest you give at least one of them a visit.

That's it from me. Enjoy!

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
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures


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. Queens Park Rangers v Manchester United - the visit of the Red Devils is always a huge event in the Shepherd's Bush calendar but it's rarely one that goes well for the hosts. It's almost 25 years since Rangers last got the better of the team from Old Trafford at Loftus Road. It will take a Herculean effort if they're to end that run here - Rangers are in the bottom three and looked devoid of ideas against relegation rivals Burnley on Saturday. However, this Man Utd side is one of the weakest for years and they come into this on the back of a 1-0 home defeat to Southampton so there is a tiny glimmer of hope for the Londoners. (Premier League, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - as above, this is a big game at both ends of the table. Spurs keep threatening to break into the top four but then blow it with defeat to much lower ranked opposition like Crystal Palace on Saturday. Looking at the table, they should beat the Mackems who are one point above the relegation zone and winless in four. Sunderland's record at White Hart Lane is also pretty dreadful with only win since 1985 - it all points pretty convincingly to a home win but this is Tottenham and anything could happen. (Premier League, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. West Ham United v Hull City - like Tottenham, the Hammers have a decent looking midweek FA Cup replay against Premier League opposition. However, in both cases, ticket prices have been slashed and a number of first teamers may well get rested too which explains why I haven't gone for them. Like the first two, this match also sees teams from opposite ends fighting for points to either get into Europe or simply stay up. The hosts were in the top four but haven't won since before Christmas meaning they've dropped to seventh. Hull are in the bottom three but won two of their festive fixtures as they showed signs of getting things together. Once again you'd be hard pushed to bet against the hosts who have only lost twice at Upton Park against the Tigers since 1920. (Premier League, Sunday 18 January, 130pm. Ticket info)

4. Watford v Charlton Athletic - it's derby time at Vicarage Road on Saturday and with all of the top three games pretty much sold out, I'd advise you to head to this one as all ticket prices have been reduced by 50%! Yes, that's half-price tickets for everyone for what should be a pretty decent game. Although it's by no means the fiercest of derbies, it still is one of sorts and there should be a big crowd. On the pitch the Hornets have been decent and it was a shock when they lost at lowly Huddersfield on Saturday. Despite this setback, they are still well on course for at least a play-off spot so will start as favourites. The Addicks, however, will be tough to beat. Although they're in the bottom half of the table, they are the division's draw specialists and have lost only six of their 25 games. (Championship, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Millwall v Ipswich Town - it's not looking good for the Lions at the moment. With only one win from their last 12 games I'm genuinely quite surprised that manager Ian Holloway wasn't sacked following their loss at bottom club Blackpool on Saturday. As a QPR fan I have a soft spot for Ollie so I'm glad he wasn't but he's going to have to do something pretty special to save his club and his job. This weekend they welcome title contenders Ipswich so it won't get any easier. They have done quite well against them at the New Den in recent seasons but lost the reverse fixture 2-0 back in September. (Championship, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Fulham v Reading - these sides were playing Premier League football two years ago so both sets of fans will be wondering quite how their teams now find themselves towards the wrong end of the country's second tier. Both have been pretty dodgy this season as they have struggled to impose themselves. The Cottagers' supporters may be starting to worry again though as they've suddenly lost three on the bounce and will be looking over their shoulders again as teams, like Brighton, start to pick up. The Royals saw off Fulham with ease earlier in the season but they should find it a bit tougher this time. (Championship, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Hendon v Metropolitan Police - the week gets off to a great start with this top-five clash in the Isthmian League. How these two relatively poorly supported teams, in terms of numbers, manage to put out decent sides is close to a miracle so credit to the two managers. Although mathematically both are still in with a slim shot at the title, they do have very realistic chances of claiming play-off spots which in itself would be a great achievement. A win is a must for either if they want to even dare to think of catching the leaders so there's plenty at stake. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Monday 12 January, 745pm. Ticket info)

8. Erith & Belvedere v Yaxley - it's FA Vase fourth round time this weekend so we're down to the last 32. This means things are getting pretty serious with Wembley Stadium's arch starting to inch over the horizon as these sides start to close in. Only four TLFG sides remain in the competition which has been dominated by sides from the Northern League over the last few years. Three of our local contenders come from the Southern Counties East League: - while leaders Phoenix Sports have an away game, E&B entertain Peterborough club Yaxley at Park View Road. The Cuckoos are third in the parallel United Counties League so should provide a stern test. This match is being played on Sunday afternoon so if you're not going to West Ham, give this some serious consideration. (FA Vase fourth round, Sunday 18 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Greenwich Borough v AFC St Austell - the other SCEFL side playing at home in the Vase are Greenwich. Like E&B they groundshare with a Conference National side, in their case Dartford and their impressive Princes Park. St Austell are from Cornwall and with a close to 500 mile round trip will have one of the longest journeys of any club left in the competition. On paper the visitors look like the better side having had a much bettergood season in the South West Peninsula League but all that travelling could be their undoing. (FA Vase fourth round, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Club info)

10. Sun Sports v Kings Langley - last up this week it's a third versus first derby match in the Spartan South Midlands League. Sun Sports got promoted last season and topped the league early on. Although they've slipped back a bit since then, a win here against their near neighbours will draw them level on points. If you can't make it to this one, it's also second versus fourth as Harefield United take on AFC Dunstable on the SSMFL's very own Super Saturday. (Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, Saturday 17 January, 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, 4 January 2015

TLFG: 5-11 January 2015

Hello, welcome and a Happy New Year to you all.

I hope the festive period was good for you both on and off the field of play.

Mine was quiet with some minor illness affecting the household and a solid schedule of work - consequently I didn't get to see any live football so I hope you did to make up for it.

I'm actually writing this during the early hours of Friday morning (2 January) as I'm heading out of town for the weekend and don't want to be tied to a laptop the whole time. As a result, some facts and figures in what I've written below might not be 100% accurate or some big breaking news may get totally ignored - apologies.

The ticket section has some good deals in it this week with a number of Football League clubs running good promotions during January so make sure you have a look.

Getting into most Premier League clubs is becoming harder as we get to the business end of the season as all have plenty to play for. Unless you are a member or have a friend who is then it's pretty much impossible to get a ticket to watch Arsenal, Chelsea or Crystal Palace. QPR are also selling out every home match at the moment but a few hundred tickets usually make it to general sale but you've got to be quick. Tottenham and West Ham usually always have something but buy early to avoid being saddled with a bad seat or a really expensive one.

This week's action gets off to a great start on Monday when AFC Wimbledon host Liverpool live on TV in the FA Cup third round. No-one under 30 will probably remember the final of 1988 when the old Wimbledon somehow beat the seemingly invincible Reds 1-0 thanks to Lawrie Sanchez's first-half headed goal. It is still one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history and probably my favourite final. A lot has happened to both clubs since so it will be very interesting to see how this one pans out.

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
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures


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. Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur - a decent looking London derby between teams at opposite ends of the table. The Eagles were on a terrible run and sacked boss Neil Warnock following defeat to Southampton on Boxing Day. Since then they've drawn two games as they wait for Alan Pardew to take over. His first league game in charge will be this one against Spurs who are enjoying a resurgence after a mildly dodgy spell. With four wins from their last five, including a 5-3 vanquishing of Chelsea, they're now just a win away from a place in the top four. The north Londoners have a pretty fine record at Selhurst Park too with three successes from their last five visits. (Premier League, Saturday 10 January, 530pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Newcastle United - earlier in the day the Blues will hope to get their title bid back on track after going on a two game winless streak. A few weeks ago many observers had already declared the Premier League to be a one-horse race such was Chelsea's early season dominance but their significant lead has been totally wiped out by reigning champions Manchester City who moved level on points following their win over Sunderland. The Magpies are managerless at the time of writing but are freescoring and beat Chelsea in the reverse fixture a few weeks ago so it could be a corker. (Premier League, Saturday 10 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool - arguably the match of the week, this FA Cup third round tie brings back memories of the 1988 final which the Dons sensationally won. In those days they were in the same division, now the re-formed south London outfit are in League Two but given the Reds' current form they could cause another upset. Unsurprisingly the match is sold out but you can watch it live on BBC One. (FA Cup third round, Monday 5 January, 755pm. Ticket info)

4. Brentford v Rotherham United - with back-to-back defeats against promotion rivals Ipswich and Wolves, it's been a bad Christmas period for the Bees. The Millers provide them with their next chance to pick up some league points and they should do so as their opponents are on a very poor run. However, the most notable thing about this game is that it's 'Pay What You Can' so it's damn cheap to get in. Book in advance so you don't miss out. (Championship, Saturday 10 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Leyton Orient v Fleetwood Town - the O's ended last season losing the League One play-off final on penalties after being 2-0 up - devastating stuff. This season has seen them fighting for survival at the other end of the table. With leadership changing in the boardroom, the club has also gone through about 20 managers in the last three months (or something like that, I've lost count) as stability was well and truly lost. However, the rot seems to have stopped as latest boss Fabio Liverani has masterminded comfortable wins over fellow strugglers Crawley and Yeovil to give them hope. Midtable Fleetwood are the next to travel to Brisbane Road and are on a pretty mediocre run so could be there for the taking. (League One, Saturday 10 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Wealdstone v Bath City - it's FA Trophy second round time this weekend which means we're down to the last 32. This is the only tie in the London area and it pits two Conference South sides against each other who had poor starts to their campaigns. Both have now recovered and sit nicely in midtable. The Stones have the more illustrious history and won the Trophy 30 years ago when they were one of the best non-league clubs in the country. Bath have never been beyond the third round. The two league fixtures between the sides this season have already been played with each side winning the away game. It should be close. (FA Trophy, Saturday 10 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Enfield Town v Hendon - we've got a north London derby to look forward to in the Isthmian League on Saturday. Enfield have had a very topsy turvy season with an iffy start, a sensational October and then a December to forget. Consequently they're slap bang in the middle of the table but on a worrying run of five defeats from six in the league. Turning things round against the Greens will be tough. Sitting fourth and with games in hand on top club Margate they are still genuine title contenders and with striker Leon Smith having netted over 20 goals already this season they are an impressive side. The hosts will take heart from their 3-0 win in the match at Earlsmead back in August but it will still take something special to win here. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 10 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Clapton v Haringey Borough - two of my favourite clubs in Step 5/Level 9 meet for this top five Essex Senior League clash on Saturday. The Tons are unrecognisable from the club I went to visit when this blog started out in 2011. Then they were perennial strugglers, lucky to see crowds of more than 20 coming through the turnstiles of their famous old, but very dilapidated, ground (the oldest in London). Now, thanks in large part to the emergence of the Clapton Ultras, they are probably the best supported side in the league and are one of the best sides in it. They are not, though, anywhere near the amazing standards that Haringey have set this season. The club, who actually play on White Hart Lane unlike the more famous side down the road and round the corner, are 11 points clear of nearest challengers FC Romania and look certainties for the title. When these two met at Coles Park on the opening day, Borough won 5-1 but don't let that put you off - the Ultras put on a great show whatever. (Essex Senior League, Saturday 10 January, 3pm. Club info)

9. Molesey v Spelthorne Sports - it's been largely all about Cove and Ashford Town (Middlesex) in the Combined Counties League this season but that could be about to change. As the top two have dropped the odd point here and there, Molesey have crept up to third and have enough games in hand to go top if they win them. At the time of writing they have a match against Raynes Park to negotiate before this one but they are definite contenders. Spelthorne are new to this division following promotion and have made a great start to life at this level. They sensationally won their first seven league games as they made a huge initial impact but they've come down to Earth a bit since then and are currently sixth. Two decent teams, oh and it's a local derby too. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, Saturday 10 January, 3pm. Club info)

10. Farleigh Rovers v Worcester Park - in the division below, looking to emulate Spelthorne's title success, we have these two. Farleigh are eight points clear at the top but lost 3-0 to second placed AFC Croydon Athletic over Christmas as they showed signs of fallibility. Worcester Park are just a point behind them in third. Crucially, though, both have four games in hand on Farleigh which means they could both catch and overtake them. With this in mind, this becomes a must-win game for both sides. When they last met in October, Farleigh won 3-1. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 10 January, 2pm. 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, 21 December 2014

TLFG: 22 December 2014 - 4 January 2015

Hello there one and all and welcome to TLFG's Christmas and New Year special.

As is becoming an annual tradition, I've put together a compendium of all the festive season has to offer at football grounds around the capital.

The fixtures are quite stretched this year with some teams playing on Boxing Day, others not. Whole leagues aren't playing over New Year while others are. I think every team are playing at least twice - Premier League sides have four games.

The long and short of it all - it's a great time of year to be a football fan in London.

Talking of football fans from London, I'd like to give a special mention to Gordon Hill aka the 'Wealdstone Raider' whose charity single 'Got No Fans' got to number five in the UK Christmas pop chart. Check it out and download it to give a little to his chosen charities.

TLFG reader Peter with his son at Selhurst Park
I was also pleased to receive an email from American reader Peter who came over with his son for a week of football watching primarily in London. He took in games at Arsenal, Brentford, Crystal Palace, Watford and also took a trip to Birmingham to see Aston Villa.

His biggest tips to fellow fans thinking of undertaking a similar trip is to book a hotel away from central London to cut costs (he stayed in Croydon) and also to email the big clubs directly saying you're from overseas if you're struggling to get tickets.

Joey Barton swings in a first-half corner for QPR
Over the next two weeks I've only got Christmas Day and Boxing Day off so I've got a fairly tiny window to see a game and very limited transport options given the festive closedown so I'm not sure what I'll get to see yet.

I was lucky enough to go to another five-goal thriller at Loftus Road on Saturday as QPR came back from 2-0 down to beat fellow strugglers West Brom 3-2. Rangers are producing really entertaining home games at the moment so you could do worse than head to W12 sometime in the near future.

That's it from me. Have a great Christmas and New Year and thanks for your support once again. It's been a good year for TLFG and it would be nothing without your clicks. Cheers!

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 WEEKS AHEAD
There are almost 150 matches in the London area over the next two weeks 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.

TRAVEL ADVISORY
Over the Christmas period a lot of public transport shuts down either to simply give staff a break or to allow engineering work to be undertaken.

There is no public transport at all on Christmas Day and next to no national rail services on Boxing Day. Crucially, some fairly large parts of the District Line will not open on 26 December too. All this means that getting to clubs like Brentford, Charlton, Chelsea and Crystal Palace will be harder than normal to get to so be prepared. 

Time Out have produced a good guide with full details which you can find here.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them 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: 22-28 DECEMBER
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday (Boxing Day) fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



MATCH MAP: 29 DECEMBER - 4 JANUARY
Yellow pin - Monday matches
Green pin - Tuesday matches
Orange pin - Thursday (New Year's Day) fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures



Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. As there are so many, the usual Top 10 has been extended and games will be listed in date order. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG's CHRISTMAS CRACKERS

Tuesday 23 December
Welling United v Ebbsfleet United - local derby in the FA Trophy. Ebbsfleet's manager has just joined from Welling spicing things up a bit more. Ticket prices are also reduced. (FA Trophy, 745pm. Ticket info)

Friday 26 December
Arsenal v QPR - north versus west London derby with Gunners starting as overwhelming favourites. (Premier League, 530pm. Ticket info)
Chelsea v West Ham United - west versus east London derby between two clubs in the top four. (Premier League, 1245pm. Ticket info)
Brentford v Ipswich Town - top three clash between two in-form teams. (Championship, 1pm. Ticket info)
Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers - two play-off contenders go head-to-head. (Championship, 530pm. Ticket info)
Leyton Orient v Crawley Town - relegation six-pointer at Brisbane Road. (League One, 3pm. Ticket info)
Boreham Wood v Bishop's Stortford - Hertfordshire derby between the leaders and strugglers. (Conference South, 3pm. Ticket info)
Kingstonian v Hampton & Richmond Borough - local derby which marks the return of former K's manager with Hampton. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 3pm. Ticket info)

Saturday 27 December
Hendon v Wingate & Finchley - local derby between teams in the top seven. To top it all it's 'Pay What You Want'. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 3pm. Ticket info)
Enfield Town v Dulwich Hamlet - north versus south London derby. Also, two teams hoping for a play-off spot at least. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 3pm. Ticket info)
Redbridge v Barkingside - derby between two sides, who used to groundshare, in the Ilford area. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, 1pm. Ticket info)
Romford v Thurrock - groundshare derby between these two Essex rivals. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, 3pm. Ticket info)
Walton & Hersham v Walton Casuals - Surrey derby between crosstown rivals. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, 3pm Club info)
Whyteleafe v Tooting & Mitcham United - south London derby between play-off contenders. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, 3pm. Ticket info)
North Greenford United v Hanwell Town - west London derby featuring sides at opposite ends of the table. (Southern League Division 1 Central, 1pm. Club info)
Phoenix Sports v Erith & Belvedere - top two battle between local rivals. (Southern Counties East League, 3pm. Club info)
AFC Croydon Athletic v Farleigh Rovers - third versus first in this Surrey derby. (Combined Counties League Division 1, 2pm. Ticket info)

Sunday 28 December
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - two of the country's big names meet in this lunchtime game. (Premier League, 12pm. Ticket info)
Queens Park Rangers v Crystal Palace - London derby between two top-flight strugglers. (Premier League, 3pm. Ticket info)
West Ham United v Arsenal - London derby featuring clubs fighting for a place in the top four. (Premier League, 3pm. Ticket info)
Millwall v Bournemouth - the struggling Lions welcome the leaders. (Championship, 3pm. Ticket info)
AFC Wimbledon v Exeter City - if the Dons are to push for a play-off place they'll need to beat sides like this. (League Two, 3pm. Ticket info)
Barnet v Dover Athletic - league leaders against FA Cup giantkillers. (Conference National, 3pm. Ticket info)
Bromley v Wealdstone - two of the form teams of the division. (Conference South, 3pm. Ticket info)

Monday 29 December
Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion - only game of the day between relatively local rivals. (Championship, 8pm. Ticket info)

Tuesday 30 December
Aveley v Tilbury - derby between two south Essex rivals. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, 745pm. Ticket info)

Thursday 1 January
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea - big London rivals with plenty to play for. (Premier League, 530pm. Ticket info)
Harrow Borough v Hendon - groundshare derby. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 3pm. Club info)
Wingate & Finchley v Enfield Town - north London derby. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 3pm. Ticket info)
Chipstead v Whyteleafe - Surrey derby between play-off hopefuls. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, 3pm. Ticket info)
Tooting & Mitcham United v Carshalton Athletic - south London derby. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, 3pm. Club info)

Saturday 3 January
Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion - cup tie between sides at opposite ends of the Championship. (FA Cup third round, 3pm. Ticket info)
Charlton Athletic v Blackburn Rovers - two sides from the top half of the Championship set off down the road to Wembley. Most tickets are just £10. (FA Cup third round, 3pm. Ticket info)
Waltham Forest v Barking - two of the leading pack on the east side of town. (Essex Senior League, 3pm. Club info)
Sun Sports v Berkhamsted - top four match-up in the Watford area. (Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, 3pm. Club info)

Sunday 4 January
Arsenal v Hull City - a repeat of last year's final in this televised game. (FA Cup third round, 530pm. Ticket info)
Chelsea v Watford - a Goliath v David derby. (FA Cup third round, 4pm. Ticket info)
Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield United - Premier League strugglers against giantkillers from League One, real cupset chance. (FA Cup third round, 1pm. Ticket info)
Boreham Wood v Ebbsfleet United - leaders against play-off contenders. (Conference South, 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.

Monday, 15 December 2014

TLFG: 15-21 December 2014

After all the excitement of last week, the last few days have been very sedate with late shifts ending any hopes of watching any live football.

The week ahead will see me try and put together TLFG's Christmas and New Year Special and go to QPR v West Brom on Saturday.

Generally, it's not a particularly riveting week on the football front with, apart from a couple of big non-league games, very few blockbusters to look forward to. I guess the football planners are saving everything up for the festive period when we get a huge selection of Christmas crackers.

You never know though - in a week when upsets took place in BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor, we could get some stonking games. Here's hoping Santa brings us a few early gifts. Enjoy! 

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 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
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures


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 Newcastle United - it says something about the matches on offer this week that this one tops the bill. On paper a League Cup quarter-final should whet the appetite but more often than not, in modern times, it's been seen by Premier League sides as a chance to give a few reserves a run out. I'm hoping that that won't be the case here as this trophy is one that both sides have a really good chance of winning. In the league only a point separates the sides so it should be close. (League Cup quarter-final, Wednesday 17 December, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. West Ham United v Leicester City - in east London we've got a game of great significance at either end of the table. The Hammers have had a superb season and their fans are probably pinching themselves that they're still in the top four. If they beat bottom club Leicester handsomely and Manchester United lose at Villa then they will go third. As mentioned, the Foxes are bottom and winless since September so are well and truly there for the taking. (Premier League, Saturday 20 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Millwall v Bolton Wanderers in the Championship we've got a bit of Friday night football between two sides who are battling to avoid the drop. The Lions flew out of the blocks and briefly topped the table but they've now won just two of their last 16 games to sit 20th, five points above the relegation zone. Bolton made an iffy start but have been performing well of late and are unbeaten in six - it should be another close one. (Championship, Friday 19 December, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. AFC Wimbledon v Mansfield Town - nothing in League One this week so next up we've got a chance to see the Dons in action. Neal Ardley's side have had a good week with back-to-back wins over Wycombe in the FA Cup and York in the league. They also drew Liverpool at home in the FA Cup, a tie that will be shown live on TV. On Saturday they host Mansfield who have only won one of their last 11 league games and have a poor record against the Kingsmeadow club. A win here could get Wombles fans dreaming of a play-off place. (League Two, Saturday 20 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Barnet v Chester - despite being held to a goalless draw by Conference South side Concord on Saturday (replay on Tuesday), the Bees are still well on course for the Conference title. After a two-game winless wobble in November, they won the next two to maintain a seven-point lead at the top. Their great season opened with a 5-0 away win against Chester who have since recovered to sit snugly in midtable. Head to The Hive to see if Martin Allen's side can keep up the momentum. (Conference Premier, Saturday 20 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Welling United v Ebbsfleet United - what a dramatic few days it's been for these local rivals. On Wednesday Wings manager Jamie Day decided to quit after over five years in the post and head east to join Ebbsfleet, a team playing in the division below, believing that have better long-term prospects. The timing of his departure raised even more eyebrows as it was just three days before the two sides were due to meet in an eagerly anticipated FA Trophy tie. It finished 1-1 and now the sides must meet again for the replay. (FA Trophy first round replay, Tuesday 16 December, 745pm. Ticket info)

7. Bromley v St Albans City the Ravens had no such trouble getting past Leiston in their Trophy tie on Saturday and extended their winning streak to four matches in the process. With no replay to worry about, they now have a week to prepare for this tricky league match against the Saints. It's a match they need to win if they want to keep up with Conference South leaders Boreham Wood who took full advantage of Bromley's cup commitments to move six points clear. With three wins from four, St Albans are well in the hunt for a play-off spot themselves and held Bromley to a 2-2 draw earlier in the season. (Conference South, Saturday 20 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Harrow Borough v Lewes - unlikely to be one for the purists, we've got this relegation six-pointer in the Isthmian League. Harrow are deliciously unpredictable and are capable of pulling off sensational results in very unlikely circumstances - often pushing the big teams hard and losing regularly to far more modest opposition. On Saturday this was demonstrated brilliantly by their 3-3 draw at leaders Margate. Sussex club Lewes were in the Conference Premier until 2009 but it's been downhill ever since and now the Rooks are perched just above the trapdoor into Step 4/Level 8 football. It is a slightly false position though as they do have games in hand on most sides around them but they've got no reason to be complacent. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 20 December, 3pm. Club info)

9. Barking v Haringey Borough this game needs little promotion as it pits second against first in the Essex Senior League. Haringey will start as overwhelming favourites though as they've already opened a whopping 13-point lead and are scoring nearly four goals a game! On the bright side for Barking they have two games in hand so if they win these and Saturday's match then they'll only be four points behind. With all this in mind, it looks like Mayesbrook Park could possibly play host to a title decider in December!  (Essex Senior League, Saturday 20 December, 3pm. Club info)

10. AFC Croydon Athletic v Worcester Park we finish this week with the pick of the games in Step 6/Level 10. At the moment it's potentially a three-horse race in the Combined Counties League Division 1 with Farleigh nine points clear at the top ahead of these two who both have enough games in hand to draw level if they win them. A win here could potentially knock the other one out. Of the three, only Croydon have the facilities to be promoted so I guess it would be good to see them win. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 20 December, 2pm. 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.