Sunday, 14 August 2022

TLFG: 15-21 August 2022

It's another short one from me this week I'm afraid.

If you read last week's piece, you'll know I was in Turkey and my eldest daughter had picked up a nasty bug.

She recovered, we came home on Thursday and the youngest one came down with the same affliction so I've been rather sidelined by that.

As a result, it's just match maps again this time and there's absolutely loads on in the men's and women's game so there's no excuse not to see something.

Resale tickets for West Ham v Brighton are now available

I'm actually at work now and my break is about to end so I gotta dash!

UPDATE (16/08/22) - I've managed to find a bit of spare time and have now produced a 'Daily Digest' which you can find towards the foot of the page.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include a few games in the Premier League and EFL, the next round of the FA Cup, lots of other non-league matches and the opening weekend of the FA Women's National League. There are also some good U21 games and FA Youth Cup ties.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

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 drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin




TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.


Tuesday 16 August

Championship
QPR v Blackpool @745pm - the R's created one of the stories of the weekend when they came from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw at Sunderland courtesy of goalkeeper Seny Dieng's injury-time header. The club from W12 have made a reasonable start under new boss Mick Beale and will hope to pick up three points here against a side who haven't won at Loftus Road since 1972. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Plymouth Argyle @745pm - after the joy of beating QPR on penalties in the EFL Cup, the Addicks came back down to earth with a defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. With four points from their opening three games, they're sat snugly in midtable. Plymouth have made a better start and should provide a stern test. Tickets

National League
Boreham Wood v Aldershot Town @745pm - the hosts are one of the smallest clubs in this division but have a habit of doing rather well. Last year they were challenging for the title but fell away after a superb FA Cup run which culminated in a Fifth Round trip to Goodison Park to play Everton. This season they've made a solid start and are one of nine teams to be sharing top spot after two games. A win here against early strugglers Aldershot could see them take the lead outright

National League South
Dartford v Havant & Waterlooville @745pm - the Darts also looked like title contenders for much of last season but eventually bowed out in the play-offs. They've got off to a good start again with two wins and face another one of the division's strongest sides on Tuesday

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Hendon @745pm - if I was heading out to a non-league game tonight, this would be my personal pick. In a division with clubs stretched between West London and Cornwall, this is definitely a derby. H&YU were another side to see a strong title bid fall away at the last and will hope to go one better this time. The Greens have made a disappointing start, losing their first two and could be in for another tough evening here

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Wednesday 17 August

Premier League Cup
Arsenal v Swansea City @7pm - the Gunners play their first group game in this U21 competition which they have yet to win. This is taking place at Boreham Wood

Isthmian League Premier Division
Kingstonian v Wingate & Finchley @745pm - the K's nomadic existence begins a new chapter on Wednesday as they play the first competitive game at their new home at Imperial Fields which they will be sharing with Tooting & Mitcham United 

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Thursday 18 August

UEFA Europa Conference League
West Ham United v Viborg @745pm - after making it to the semi-finals of the Europa League last season, the Hammers have made it into Europe again although in the slightly lesser Conference League. On Thursday they welcome Danish club Viborg for the first leg of this second qualifying round tie. The visitors only finished seventh in their domestic league last season and had to go into a 'relegation round' in order to stay up. In other words, they start as significant underdogs here. Tickets

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Friday 19 August

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Southall v Peacehaven & Telscombe @745pm - the next round of the FA Cup gets underway on Friday night at Ashford Town's ground near Heathrow. The 'All won promotion from the Combined Counties League last season and therefore play a level above their opponents who hail from the Sussex coast

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Saturday 20 August

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers @1230pm - the top-flight action gets underway at lunchtime with this match at the THS. Spurs grabbed a dramatic injury-time equaliser to draw 2-2 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday in what was a highly entertaining game. With only one point from two games, Wolves have yet to get going but they have a good record here - winning on two of their three visits. Tickets are only available to members 
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa @3pm - the Eagles picked up their first point of the season at Anfield on Monday night after recording a tidy 1-1 draw with Liverpool. Next up they face a Villa side managed by Reds legend Steven Gerrard. The sides are part of that midtable pack that will have aspirations of breaking into the top 10 this season. Tickets are not available to non-members
Fulham v Brentford @3pm - if I could choose a Premier League match to be at on Saturday, then it would be this derby at Craven Cottage. Old rivals from the lower leagues, there will be members of the fanbase at both clubs who will be pinching themselves that this is taking place in the top division. Aside from the play-off final at Wembley in 2020, the Bees have dominated this fixture in recent years and have lost only one of their last 10 league games against Fulham. Tickets are only available to those with membership or a previous booking history

Championship
QPR v Rotherham United @3pm - for most casual fans or neutrals, the highest level match you can watch on Saturday will be this one at Loftus Road. As a QPR fan, your instinctive reaction would be to predict a home win as the Millers are one of the smallest clubs in the division. However, they finished as runners-up in League One last season and won the EFL Trophy so come into this campaign on a high. With four points from two games, they can't be underestimated. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Cambridge United @3pm - following their promotion from League Two, the U's finished just a point behind the Addicks in 14th last season. With two wins from their first three games, they've begun well but they've only won twice at Charlton with the last time coming way back in 1991. Tickets

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Chelsea @2pm - there's a rather random but high quality U21 game sandwiched into Saturday's schedule, but at a time where you can't really get to go to anything else afterwards. The match is at Boreham Wood's ground where it's often free to get in but check with Arsenal nearer the time for the latest information

National League
Barnet v Woking @3pm - at the time of writing, the Bees have made the best start of any London club in the National League. Although it's still very early days, they're third. Woking haven't started quite so brightly but hailing from Surrey, they should bring a decent travelling support for this one

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Slough Town @3pm - at one point last season, it looked like the Hamlet would grab a place in the top seven but their form left them at the wrong moment and they finished 10th. Slough had a mediocre season and have yet to win so far in this campaign. With a crowd of 1,808 for their last home game against Braintree, Dulwich often draw the highest crowds in the division so, unusually for this level, you're always advised to buy in advance and turn up at least half an hour before to claim a spot with a decent view. Tickets

Southern League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Hanwell Town @3pm - it's derby day at the Rogers Family Stadium where these two near neighbours meet in a league match for the first time in ages, possibly ever. The Geordies are a club on the up after winning promotion from the Isthmian League South Central via the play-offs. Shunted across into the Southern League by the bigwigs at the FA, they will be looking to embarrass the Boro on their own pitch and they could well do it

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Everyone's favourite cup competition continues on Saturday with clubs from the eighth tier and below looking to break into the Qualifying Rounds where the higher ranked non-league teams begin to enter. The winners of each tie get £1,444 and the losers £481

Colliers Wood United v Chatham Town @3pm - Combined Counties League club Colliers Wood face a tough afternoon against Kent club Chatham who finished runners-up in the SCEFL last season to claim promotion to the Isthmian League. However, the south London club saw off Faversham Town in the last round, who play at a similar level to Chatham, so shouldn't be overawed
Erith Town v Bedfont Sports @3pm - the Dockers also welcome eighth-tier opposition. Bedfont made it to the Isthmian League South Central play-offs last season and all the way to the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup 
Fisher v Sittingbourne @3pm - the Fish have a habit of causing the odd cupset, beating Tooting & Mitcham a couple of years ago and knocking out Sutton Common Rovers in the opening round this season. The visitors on Saturday come from the eighth tier too and will have to avoid complacency at all costs
Glebe v Cray Valley PM @3pm - after beating Holmesdale in a derby in the last round, Glebe have drawn another local club at home in this round too. CVPM play a level above them and made it to the FA Vase final in 2019 so should provide a significantly tougher test
Raynes Park Vale v Hythe Town @3pm - after getting the better of Erith & Belvedere in the last round, RPV have been rewarded with another home tie. Hythe play in the Isthmian League so should represent a step up in class. I've got a feeling the hosts will give it a good go though
Sutton Athletic v Ashford United @3pm - the home team won promotion from the SCEFL Division 1 last season and with it, a place in the FA Cup. Kent club Ashford finished as runners-up in the Isthmian League South East before losing in the play-offs. If Sutton do win, it will equal their best ever run in the competition

MCFL Premier Division
Clapton CFC v Shepherd's Bush @3pm - nothing really takes my fancy in the 10th tier but as a little added bonus, I'm going to throw in this 11th-tier game which is being played on the 3G pitch at Wadham Lodge. Going back to the early days of football in the capital, Clapton and Shepherd's Bush were two of the city's main amateur teams. The Tons' history has been a bit complicated since then, whilst Shepherd's Bush, who used to play at Loftus Road, simply ceased to be in 1915. Fast forward over 100 years and clubs representing both these areas are back and about to play for the first time. As someone who always had a dream of seeing the Bushmen relaunch, I'm chuffed to see that it's happened. The only slight downside is that it's not being played at The Old Spotted Dog, the hosts' historic old ground, but it's still not quite ready 

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Sunday 21 August

Premier League
West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion @2pm - after hopefully avoiding an upset in the Viborg game, the Hammers welcome a very tricky Brighton side to the London Stadium. The Seagulls have taken four points from their opening games against Manchester United and Newcastle and should fancy themselves to get at least a draw here. Tickets are available via the club's ticket exchange

Isthmian League Premier Division
Kingstonian v Enfield Town @3pm - the K's welcome a tough Towners side to Imperial Fields. The north London club made it to the play-offs last season

FA Cup Preliminary Round
Romford v Takeley @3pm - as a result of their groundshare with Barking, Romford have to play a lot of their cup ties on Sundays. In this one, they face fellow Essex Senior League side Takeley who have lost both of their league games so far this season

FA Women's Championship
London City Lionesses v Crystal Palace @1230pm - after England's success in the Euros, this season is set to be a hugely important one for women's football in this country. With the Super League campaign still a few weeks away from kick-off, the second to the sixth tiers begin on Sunday. This big derby in London is the pick of the action in the second tier. LCL finished as runners-up to Liverpool last season but with only one team going up, have to spend another year at this level. Palace had a good year too and finished fourth so it will be really interesting to see who comes out on top in this game at Dartford's ground. Adult tickets are £8 and can be bought in advance or on the gate

FA Women's National League Southern Premier
Watford v Gillingham @2pm - the Hornets suffered relegation to the third tier with virtually the last kick of the season in a thrilling game against Coventry United. They'll be looking for a positive start to life at their new home at Wealdstone's ground but Gillingham are a canny side who they can't take lightly. The visitors used to be associated with the men's team of the same name but split and became an independent entity in 2020. Adult tickets are £5 and can be bought online or on the gate

FA Women's National League Division 1 South East
AFC Wimbledon v Hashtag United @2pm - the biggest game of the day in the fourth tier takes place at Carshalton Athletic's ground in south London. Finishing third and second respectively last season, this should provide us with an early look at who could challenge for the title this time round. Adult tickets are £5 on the gate
Actonians v Chesham United @2pm - personally, I'm aiming to be at the Middlesex FA's HQ at Rectory Park in Northolt for this one. As regular readers know, my eldest daughter plays junior football for Actonians and has been a mascot for them in the past. The West London club finished fifth last season, just a point behind local rivals QPR who they will hope to pip this year. Chesham are new to this division after being moved over from the parallel Division 1 South West in which they also finished fifth. Adult tickets are £5 and can be bought online in advance or on the gate
Hounslow v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @2pm - elsewhere in West London, there's a derby between a club who have just been relegated and one which has just come up. Hounslow, who play at Hanworth Villa, have struggled for several years and only seasons curtailed by Covid saw them stay in the third tier for so long. Last season, they lost all 26 league games and could well find it tough against Ashford who beat a number of higher ranked sides in cup games. I couldn't find any ticketing details but it can't be more than a fiver to get in

London & South East Women's Regional League Premier Division
Sutton United v Fulham @2pm - the U's won the Division 1 North title last season to move up to the fifth tier. The Cottagers came third in the Premier Division and should be regarded as one of the favourites going into this derby at Gander Green Lane. To top it all, it's free entry

London & South East Women's Regional League Division 1 North
Brentford v Clapton CFC @3pm - in the sixth tier, the Bees welcome the well-supported Tons' women's team to Bedfont Sports' ground near Heathrow for this season opener


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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

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

Has this blog been helpful? Donate to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund here 

Sunday, 7 August 2022

TLFG: 8-14 August 2022

Greetings one and all and welcome to this week's TLFG.

As I mentioned in the last edition, I'm currently 4,000km away in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, not far from the Syrian border.

It's been 40C most days and doing any daytime sightseeing has been tough, which is a shame as it's absolutely stacked with interesting things to see.

As one of the oldest cities in the world, it is definitely worth a visit if you're into history and archaeology.

Welcome to Gaziantep!

Gaziantep is also the culinary heart of Turkey or Türkiye as the government now prefers it to be called.

With a wife whose family hails from the Arab world, I thought I'd tried the best baklava many times over but the stuff they make here is like nothing I've ever tasted.

The meat and chicken is also the softest I've ever had too - it just melts in your mouth!

I would love to say I'd sampled one of the local football teams too but alas no.

Gaziantep FK played their first game of the season on Saturday but they were away to Sivasspor, around 400km north.

It ended 1-1 with former Premier League player Max Gradel scoring for their opponents.

The local women's team ALG recently became national champions but they flew off the other day to prepare for their Champions League match against Brann in Norway.

As a result, the most I have to look forward to is a visit to Gaziantep's official club shop in a local shopping mall - the stadium itself is modern and looks impressive but is a long way out of town in one of the northern suburbs, pretty much surrounded by desert.

Whether it was the heat, the water or something else - my eldest daughter has been pretty ill today so this week's blog won't have a 'Daily Digest', just match maps.

I'm set to fly back on Thursday so hope to catch a game at the weekend.

Have a great week.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include a few games in the Premier League and EFL, the opening round of the EFL Cup, some FA Cup replays and lots of other non-league and women's games too.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

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 drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin






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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

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

Monday, 1 August 2022

TLFG: 1-7 August 2022

Well, well, well.

After my piece last week about now much preferring the match day experience at women's games, I went with my daughter and several friends to Wembley for the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final between England and Germany.

What a day it was and in stark contrast to the men's final their last year.

The journey to the ground was smooth - although the train from Baker Street was busy, it was calm and populated by people full of hope and expectation rather than drink, drugs and bitter rivalry.

I knew things were going to be different when I approached BOXPARK and it was joyously pumping out S Club 7 tunes while fans whooped and cheered inside.

England fans celebrate success at Wembley

Getting there early, we breezed through the turnstiles and were greeted by rows of friendly servers at the kiosks selling food and drink.

Unsegregated fans from all over Europe were proudly sporting their colours and smiling at each other on the concourse as kick-off approached.

Seeing my daughter without face paint, another gave her theirs - much to her delight.

Once in our seats, the atmosphere just grew and grew. With Status Quo blasting on the sound system, it was the biggest party atmosphere I'd ever experienced at football and the match hadn't even started.

The game ebbed and flowed and there was some real tension but the celebrations at full time after the 2-1 win were next level.

With most Women's Super League clubs playing their matches at the men's stadiums throughout September - I heartily encourage you to get involved.

I'm off to Turkey in a couple of days so I will try and get a piece out while I'm there but it could be delayed or pretty minimal.

Have a great week and enjoy your football - it's come home afterall!

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include the first round of games in the Premier League and National League and the opening round of the FA Cup. There are also several EFL games and lots of non-league and women's games too.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

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 drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.


Monday 1 August

Championship
Watford v Sheffield United @8pm - the week gets underway with a pretty big game in the second tier where two recent members of the Premier League play their opening match. The Hornets, like Fulham and Norwich, have become a yo-yo club and are fancied to once again be among the frontrunners. The Blades made the play-offs last season but fell short in their efforts to make an instant return to the top flight. In the head-to-head, Watford are unbeaten in five against the Yorkshire club. Tickets
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Tuesday 2 August

SSML Premier Division
Cockfosters v London Colney @745pm - unusually, the SSML season kicks-off on a Tuesday night. After a lot of restructuring over the summer, the hosts are now the only club within the M25 who are playing in it. As a result, this match against London Colney is about as close as they'll get to a derby in a league game this season. The visitors should've been relegated last season but got a reprieve

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Wednesday 3 August

CCL Premier South
Colliers Wood United v Balham @730pm - there's a staggered start in the CCL with a handful of teams beginning their campaign in midweek. Over at Wibbandune there's a match between CWU and their former tenants Balham. Last season it was the visitors who had the better campaign, so it will be interesting to see if they can repeat that

Women's friendly
Hashtag United v West Ham United @745pm - after playing at Canvey Island's ground for a couple of years, Hashtag Women will be spending this season at Aveley's ground. Last season they finished runners-up to Billericay Town in the women's fourth tier and will start as one of the favourites this time. On Wednesday they face the huge challenge of playing WSL side West Ham who thrashed Billericay 5-1 last weekend and Enfield Town 11-2 on Wednesday

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Friday 5 August

Premier League
Crystal Palace v Arsenal @8pm - the new Premier League season gets underway with this opener at Selhurst Park. With two defeats from their nine pre-season games, the Eagles come into this match in pretty good shape. The Gunners ended last season just behind arch-rivals Spurs, to miss out on a Champions League place. Over the summer they've made a number of decent signings and won all five of their friendlies, most recently crushing Sevilla and Chelsea 6-0 and 4-0 respectively. In 2021/22, Palace took four points off Arsenal and beat them 3-0 when they last played in April. Tickets are only available to members

Premier League 2
Fulham v West Ham United @3pm - earlier in the day there's an U21 game at the Cottagers' training ground in Motspur Park. Check with the club on the day for all the final details and whether or not the public will be admitted. UPDATE - admission is going to be very strictly limited to season-ticket holders who pre-register with the club in advance

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Saturday 6 August

Premier League
Fulham v Liverpool @1230pm - after winning the Championship, the Cottagers make their return to the Premier League with one of the toughest fixtures they could've got. However, the last time they were in the top division in 2020/21, Fulham won at Anfield and drew with the Reds at home. Several pundits have expressed a feeling that Liverpool will struggle to replicate their high standards of recent years so maybe this is a good time to get them. Tickets are only available to members
Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton @3pm - after a fine season under Antonio Conte, Spurs are fancied to do well with a number of bookies offering odds of 12-1 on them winning the title. A number of high-profile signings has boosted confidence in the north-London club but they must avoid complacency here as the Saints were a bit of a bogey team for them last year. Tickets are only available to members.  

Championship
QPR v Middlesbrough @3pm - after losing their opening game at Blackburn on Saturday, the best thing for R's supporters this weekend was seeing QPR fan and former player Chloe Kelly score the winning goal for England in the Euro final against Germany. Hopefully, she'll be the guest of honour at this game and give them some inspiration against Boro who are among the favourites for promotion. Tickets

League One
Charlton Athletic v Derby County @3pm - the Addicks started with a 2-2 draw at Accrington where youngster Miles Leaburn scored a late goal. The son of Carl Leaburn, I saw him play against QPR in an U23 game back in the spring and thought he looked decent so keep an eye on him as the season progresses. Derby began life in the third tier with a satisfactory 1-0 win over Oxford and should start as favourites here. Tickets

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Manchester United @1pm - there's a rather random but high quality U21 game sandwiched into Saturday's schedule, but at a time where you can't really get to go to anything else afterwards. The match is at Boreham Wood's ground where it's often free to get in but check with Arsenal nearer the time for the latest information

National League
Barnet v FC Halifax Town @3pm - the Bees get their season underway with a tough game against a side who made last season's play-offs. Dean Brennan's side comfortably avoided relegation last season but were much closer to the bottom three than top so he'll want to see some significant improvement this year
Dagenham & Redbridge v Gateshead @3pm - after drawing 1-1 with West Ham's U23 team on Saturday, the Daggers welcome the newly promoted Heed to Victoria Road. After a strong finish, the hosts missed a play-off place by one point last season and will hope for a top-seven finish this time
Wealdstone v Bromley @3pm - with one of the smallest budgets in the division, it's going to be all about survival for the Stones this season. After suffering some disappointing defeats in pre-season, most fans are realistic about this being a tough campaign. However, they survived very comfortably last time out so why not this time too? Bromley saw their play-off challenge dip in the closing weeks of the season as their focus seemed to shift to the FA Trophy which they ultimately won at Wembley

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Braintree Town @3pm - at one point it looked like the Hamlet would grab a place in the top seven but their form left them at the wrong moment and they finished 10th. With huge crowds of 2,000-3,000 attending their home games, expectation levels are often high. Braintree struggled a lot last season but pulled clear of the danger zone at the right time

Southern League Premier Division South
Hanwell Town v Truro City @3pm - the Geordies won a dramatic play-off final in the Isthmian League South Central to move up to the seventh tier for the first time in years, possibly ever. The powers that be decided to move them across to the Southern League where the travel distances are significant - exemplified by this fixture featuring a Cornish side. Often one of the strongest teams in this league, Truro should present a tough introduction to life at this level
Metropolitan Police v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - possibly the game of the day at this level sees two of last season's top four meet at Imber Court. H&YU were top for a large part of 2021/22 but slipped away to finish second before losing an acrimonious play-off final to Farnborough. They've made some good summer signings and are expected to do well again

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Everyone's favourite cup competition gets underway on Saturday with clubs from the eighth tier and below looking to begin an historic and potentially lucrative run. The winners of each tie get £1,125 and the losers £375

Abbey Rangers v Hanworth Villa @3pm - the visitors romped to the CCL North title last season to move up to the Isthmian League. Abbey Rangers also had a decent season, finishing fourth. They'll no doubt be looking to get one over the league champions when they welcome them to Addlestone Moor
Buckhurst Hill v Walthamstow @3pm - the hosts began life in the Essex Senior League with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Romford. In this eye-catching tie, they welcome last season's ESL winners to Roding Lane 
Cobham v Tooting & Mitcham United @3pm - the Hammers had an unremarkable campaign in the CCL South last year but so did the Terrors in the division above. On paper, the south London club should win but they've lost to ninth-tier opposition for the last two years so are definitely vulnerable
Fisher v Sutton Common Rovers @3pm - one of the sides who beat Tooting were the Fish of the SCEFL Premier. On Saturday they welcome another Isthmian League club who also struggled last season, so there's some decent cupset potential here too
Glebe v Holmesdale @3pm - there's a decent looking south-east London derby to look forward to in Chislehurst where two SCEFL teams do battle. Glebe managed a top-three finish last season so should be expected to win here
Raynes Park Vale v Erith & Belvedere @3pm - this all-ninth tier clash stands out for me too. RPV did well in the friendly against QPR U23 I attended a few weeks ago and they are a club who are looking to make progress this season. The Deres are usually there or thereabouts in the SCEFL and should give them a good game

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Sunday 7 August

Premier League
West Ham United v Manchester City @430pm - the football week ends with a visit from the league champions to east London. The Hammers drew this fixture 2-2 towards the end of last season and also knocked them out of the EFL Cup so this isn't the happiest ground for Pep Guardiola's side. Tickets have sold out but you might be able to get some on resale

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Edgware & Kingsbury v Hoddesdon Town @3pm - if you didn't know, Edgware Town became Edgware & Kingsbury over the summer - in recognition of the fact that the club plays a lot closer to Kingsbury than Edgware and they use the now defunct Kingsbury Town's old ground. Since reforming in 2016, they've only made it beyond this round twice. Hoddesdon, from the SSML Premier, are of a very similar standard so it should be close
Stansfeld v Wembley @3pm - I say it every year so I'll say it again, if you want to follow a 'Road to Wembley' in the FA Cup then why not start it with the club of the same name? They face a tricky trip to Chislehurst to play Stansfeld who won the SCEFL Division 1 title last season 

Women's friendlies
Dulwich Hamlet v Oxford City @2pm - like the men's team, the Hamlet's women get crowds way bigger than the level they play at. Given what happened at Wembley on Sunday, I'd hope to see a bumper crowd at Champion Hill for this one
Fulham v London City Lionesses @230pm - after beating local rivals QPR last weekend, the Cottagers welcome a side from Championship club LCL for what should be a far tougher fixture
Clapton CFC v AFC Wimbledon @2pm - not been to visit the oldest ground in London yet? Then get yourself along to the Old Spotted Dog as the Tons welcome some fourth-tier opposition


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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

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

Sunday, 24 July 2022

TLFG: 25-31 July 2022

Earlier on Sunday evening I ended up contributing to a debate of BBC Radio 5 Live's famous 606 football phone-in show.

They were debating the perceived downward trend in fan behaviour at stadiums in the post-covid era, citing the appalling scenes at last summer's Euro 2020 final at Wembley and all the violent pitch invasions which took place towards the end of last season.

They wanted to know if listeners saw this as a problem, if it affected them and whether it had changed their attitudes to watching football.

People who have been reading this blog for a few months might remember me writing about my disillusionment with the match-day experience at QPR.

Fulham, Brentford and Arsenal all host La Liga clubs this weekend

The last time I went with my nine-year-old daughter in March, we were surrounded by people booing the players who took the knee, others who screamed obscenities at poorly performing players in a way that seemed far more unhinged than normal and the away fans chanting "Paedo" at one of our more senior fans who joyously wears a sombrero to games, has an old school football rattle and a horn which he blows occasionally to spur on the team.

She was understandably a bit freaked out and in no hurry to return.

On Saturday we had a chance to go back as the R's welcomed Crystal Palace to Loftus Road for their final pre-season friendly.

We didn't go.

It was close. I opened the app to buy tickets but then felt myself becoming very mildly anxious and gave up.

Will I go again this season? At full price (around £50 for my daughter and I), no way.

I might consider going alone to a cup game for a tenner but this could be a watershed moment for me.

Contrast all this with our experience at another UEFA Womens Euro 2022 game on Thursday night where the two of us headed to Brentford again for the big quarter-final derby between Germany and Austria.

There was no menace in the air at all, at any point.

Rival fans sat together, sang their anthems, waved their flags and enjoyed their night.

Regular watchers of men's football who I took to the game were struck by the difference as were families I know who wouldn't dream of going to a men's game and absolutely loved it.

I know this is entirely my problem and many people reading this will think I'm a soppy snowflake and you're probably right.

As recently as 10 years ago I would've almost certainly agreed with you, would've relished the edgier atmosphere and tribal hostility but not now.

I'm at a different point in my life, I have two young kids and the cost of living is starting to escalate fast.

I can afford to go to watch QPR but it doesn't represent good value and as a dull middle-aged Dad, I have to find value in everything!

So this season it's going to be mainly non-league, women's and QPR Reserves for me.

Despite the doom and gloom here, we all want different things out of football.

Some friends of mine took a young American relative to Loftus Road on Saturday and he loved it and I'm sure you will too but it's just not right for me at the moment.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final, some high profile pre-season games featuring Premier League and European teams, the opening weekend of games in the EFL and some of our local non-league competitions, plus many other friendlies.

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

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 drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.


Monday 25 July

Friendly
Carshalton Athletic v Hampton & Richmond Borough @745pm - after a goalless draw at Sutton Common Rovers on Saturday, the Robins welcome opponents from the division above. Hampton suffered a 3-1 defeat at home to QPR U23s in their last game

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Tuesday 26 July

Friendlies
Barnet v Portsmouth @730pm - the Bees lost 3-1 to MK Dons at The Hive on Saturday and face an equally tough visit from Pompey on Tuesday. Tickets
Hanwell Town v QPR U23 @745pm - the R's based their women's team at the Powerday Stadium last season and have a great relationship with their geographically closest non-league club. For collectors, the Geordies have produced a programme for this game ahead of their first season in the seventh tier for many years. Tickets
Wingate & Finchley v Norwich City U23 @745pm - despite being one of the smallest clubs in the seventh tier, it's great to see W&F starting another season at that level. I'm not sure what their relationship is with the Canaries but this is a great game for them to have brought to Summers Lane. Tickets
Walthamstow v Leyton Orient @745pm - the Stow are about to begin life in the eighth tier after winning promotion to the Southern League. The O's have this listed as a first-team game on their website so should be bringing a strong squad. Tickets

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Wednesday 27 July

Friendlies
Bromley v Arsenal U21 @745pm - the Ravens won the FA Trophy last season and will hope to challenge for a play-off spot this time. After narrowly losing 3-2 to Sutton United on Saturday, they next welcome a young Gunners side. Tickets
Enfield Town Ladies v West Ham United Women @745pm - the Towners suffered relegation to the fifth tier of the women's pyramid last season but have landed this high-profile game against WSL opposition. The Hammers thrashed third-tier Billericay 5-1 on Saturday so you fear for Enfield here

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Thursday 28 July

Friendly
Dulwich Hamlet Women v AFC Wimbledon Women @8pm - the pick of the action for me is this women's friendly at Champion Hill. The Hamlet start as underdogs against the Dons who should be one of the favourites in the fourth tier. Tickets

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Friday 29 July

Friendlies
Boreham Wood v Arsenal U23 @7pm - the Wood conclude their impressive pre-season programme with this friendly. The Gunners play most of their U23 and women's games at Meadow Park so they always send a side at this time of year. For reference, the Gunners are also fielding an XI at Slough Town the same evening. Tickets

SCEFL Premier
Erith Town v Phoenix Sports @730pm - elsewhere, in south-east London, the new season gets underway in the ninth tier. The Dockers managed a respectable seventh-place finish last year and may well start as favourites against a Phoenix side who got relegated from the Isthmian League

ECL Division 1 South
May & Baker v Cannons Wood @745pm - the hosts, who play at Aveley, begin their season in this 10th-tier division, with an interesting game against a newly promoted and re-named side who won the Essex Alliance League as DTFC
NW London v Barkingside @8pm - up at Haringey Borough's ground, NW London begin their first ever season in the 10th tier with a challenging game against the 'Side
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Saturday 30 July

Friendlies
Arsenal v Sevilla @1230pm - the Gunners' big pre-season home game this year is against the side who finished fourth in Spain last year. The six-time Europa League winners are proving to be quite a draw, with the 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium already sold out
Brentford v Real Betis @3pm - over on the west side of town, the Bees welcome the other Seville club who managed a top-five finish and won the Spanish Cup last season. With a capacity of only 17,000, it's really hard to get tickets for most of Brentford's home games so if you want to tick this ground off your list, then take your chance now as this one is on general sale
Crystal Palace v Montpellier @3pm - the Eagles conclude their pre-season by welcoming French club Montpellier. Palace finished 12th in the Premier League last season while their opponents came 13th in Ligue 1 so they should be fairly well matched. Like Brentford, tickets for Palace home games are very hard to get without membership but this is on general sale so anyone can go
Bromley v Chelsea U23 @3pm - the Ravens bring their pre-season to a close with another eye catching fixture. Having already played sides from Spurs and Arsenal, the fifth-tier club finish off with a visit from the Blues. Tickets
Dagenham & Redbridge v West Ham United U23 @3pm - we've got an east London derby to look forward to at the Chigwell Construction Stadium where the Daggers also conclude their preparations for the new National League season with a game against the Hammers. Tickets

Championship
Millwall v Stoke City @3pm - if you want some proper competitive football then the EFL kicks-off on Saturday. The Lions had a great 2021/22, finishing ninth despite having one of the smallest budgets in the division. Former Premier League club Stoke have been stuck in the Championship doldrums for four years now and missed a play-off spot by 13 points last season. The Den is never a nice place to go for a visiting team and I predict a tough afternoon for the Potters. Tickets

League Two
AFC Wimbledon v Gillingham @3pm - after a couple of years of flirting with relegation, the Dons suffered a dreadful winless run which saw them finally lose their place in League One. The Gills finished three points above them but suffered a similar fate so this season opener should be interesting. I went to the new Plough Lane a few weeks ago for an awards do and was very impressed by the stadium so I'd recommend a visit if you haven't already been. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Grimsby Town @3pm - the O's finished slap bang in the middle of the table, pretty much equidistant from the play-off and relegation zones. No doubt they'll hope for better this time. On Saturday they welcome the Mariners who won last season's National League play-off final at the nearby London Stadium. Tickets
Sutton United v Newport County @3pm - a busy day of fourth-tier action is completed by this game at Gander Green Lane. The U's missed the play-offs by just one point last season and would probably be more than happy with a repeat of the 1-0 win they managed over the Welsh club here in April. Tickets

Essex Senior League
Buckhurst Hill v Romford @3pm - this will be the newly promoted hosts' first ever game in the ninth tier following their promotion from the Eastern Counties League. It will be against Romford who've just come down from the Isthmian League so it will be interesting to see how both clubs fare in this one
Redbridge v FC Clacton @3pm - the Motormen finished third last season and missed a play-off place by two points. The former Isthmian League club must be keen to return to the eighth tier but face a tricky opponent who finished seventh 
West Essex v Woodford Town @3pm - it's derby day at Wadham Lodge where Walthamstow-based club West Essex welcome their near neighbours. The hosts finished one place above Woodford last year so it should be close

SCEFL Premier
Stansfeld v Bearsted @3pm - without a ground of their own, Stansfeld finished nine points clear at the top of Division 1 to step up to the ninth tier for the first time since taking over Eltham Palace FC back in 2016. Bearsted recorded a solid midtable finish in the Premier Division so should provide a good yardstick of the level of teams the Chislehurst club will come up against this year

Women's friendly
Actonians v Corrib Rangers @11am - fancy a women's game featuring European opposition with an early kick-off which allows you to do a double? Then look no further than this game at Rectory Park in Northolt where Women's National League club Actonians welcome a side from Galway in Ireland
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Sunday 31 July

UEFA Women's Euro 2022 Final
England v Germany @5pm - this highly successful tournament reaches its climax at Wembley on Sunday evening. After demolishing Sweden, the highest-ranked team in the tournament, the Lionesses will play old rivals Germany who have won this title more times than any other country. The last time the sides played in February, England won 3-1 to win the Arnold Clark Cup. Tickets have officially sold out but some will probably become available towards the end of the week

Friendly
Fulham v Villarreal @3pm - if men's football is more your thing, Premier League returnees Fulham welcome one of last season's Champions League semi-finalists from Spain. Managed by former Arsenal boss Unai Emery they also finished seventh in La Liga so should provide formidable opposition. Tickets

Women's friendly
Fulham v QPR @1045am - it's possible to get a double-helping of Cottagers action on Sunday as their women's team welcome local rivals QPR to Motspur Park


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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

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

Monday, 18 July 2022

TLFG: 18-24 July 2022

After decades of waiting, I achieved a lifetime's ambition on Monday - I got to climb the Great Pagoda in Kew Gardens.

It was a thing of wonder for me as a child, standing 50m tall and totally shut to the hoi polloi that visited the botanical gardens.

However, while visiting on Monday, I noticed it was open and I could simply buy a ticket and go up.

I say simply, it's a hefty 253-step climb but the views are well worth it.

From the top, you can easily see Brentford's new stadium which is where I ended up the following day to watch the Women's Euros match between Germany and Spain - two of the tournament favourites. 

Actonians U9s doing a fine job as mascots for Germany

Although this was always going to be one of the biggest nights of the tournament, it was even more important in TLFG Towers as my daughter and her Actonians U9 team-mates were all set to be player escorts.

Dropped off four hours before kick-off, they were allocated Germany after losing a game of rock, paper, scissors to another group of girls who chose to represent Spain.

It turned out to be a fortuitous turn of events as they ended up meeting three former Germany internationals in the build-up - World Cup, Olympics and Euros (x3) winner Anja Mittag, current U17 coach and TV pundit Julia Simic and Jennifer Zietz who won the Bundesliga with Turbine Potsdam six times.

With shoes, socks, flags and clappers all autographed, the girls headed out onto the pitch to perform their duties.

Sadly because of Covid, they no longer have much direct interaction with the players and stand a few metres in front of them.To see photos of my daughter in the shadow of Alexandra Popp, Merle Frohms and eventual player of the match Marina Hegering was quite something. 

Given England's rivalry with Germany, it was weird to want them to win but when your daughter's representing them, then it kind of affects you that way.

Sheffield, Hilltop, Budapesti AK & Corinthian Casuals are taking part

Although Spain dominated all the possession, passing and shooting stats, it was Germany who still managed to win 2-0 and a final against the Lionesses now looks like a strong possibility.

Saying that, England now have a very challenging quarter-final against Spain and Germany have a tricky derby against a tough Austria side who don't concede many goals.

This second quarter-final is going to be at Brentford on Thursday and UEFA have put some more tickets on sale this weekend - I've got mine!

For many EFL clubs, this is the final week of pre-season so several have decent friendlies lined up.

We also have the incredibly unusual and highly intriguing Egri Erbstein Tournament to look forward to at the weekend but more on that in the 'Daily Digest' below. 

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include the UEFA Women's Euro 2022, pre-season games featuring Premier League, EFL, many of our local non-league sides and a few women's teams too. 

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

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 drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section, I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Tuesday 12 July

Friendlies
AFC Wimbledon v Reading @745pm - after drawing 0-0 with League One side Ipswich on Saturday, the Dons next welcome some Championship opposition. The Royals drew with West Ham in their last match. Tickets
Leyton Orient v Portsmouth @7pm - if you're after a slightly early kick-off, then this match at Brisbane Road could be for you. The O's enjoyed a 3-1 win over Spurs' U21 side on Saturday while Pompey won at Gillingham. Tickets UPDATE - NOW BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
Sutton United v Woking @745pm - the U's rekindle an old non-league rivalry with the Cards on Tuesday night. Two titans of the Surrey football scene, they've won the county cup 28 times between them. As far as I can tell, this match is pay on the gate
Dulwich Hamlet v Millwall U23 @730pm - a crowd of over 1,600 made their way to Champion Hill to see the hosts draw with a young side from Arsenal on Saturday. You'd think there'd be a healthy attendance for this one too as the Lions are the nearest pro club to the Hamlet. Tickets
Haringey Borough v QPR U23 @815pm - actually playing on White Hart Lane (unlike Spurs), I always enjoy a visit to Coles Park. They've won their last three friendlies so come into this in reasonable form whilst the R's youngsters have yet to register a victory. This should be pay on the gate

A bit further afield
Gillingham v Crystal Palace @7pm - with the Eagles' first team on tour overseas, this should have largely been an U23 side. However, a significant number of the club's star players didn't travel as it's believed they weren't vaccinated for Covid so you could see the likes of Wilfrid Zaha, Christian Benteke or Eberechi Eze. Tickets
Stevenage v Derby County @730pm - relegated to League One and without manager Wayne Rooney who decided to move on, the Rams are beginning a new era under the ownership of property developer David Clowes. Tickets
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Wednesday 20 July

Friendlies
Millwall v Hammarby @7pm - I think I'm right in saying that this is our first bit of European club action this summer. Hailing from Stockholm, Hammarby are currently 13 games into their league campaign and fifth in the table in the Swedish top flight. The Lions have therefore done pretty well to get them to come over at relatively short notice - the fact they share the same sponsor (Huski Chocolate), might have something to do with it. Tickets
Wealdstone v QPR @745pm - Grosvenor Vale will play host to the R's first team in what is the highlight of the Stones' pre-season. With many supporters having a soft spot for both teams, it's no surprise that the match has sold out
Bromley v Tottenham Hotspur U21 @745pm - after tough fixtures against Enfield Town and Leyton Orient, Spurs' youngsters face some National League opposition in their next game. Tickets
AFC Wimbledon v Portsmouth @8pm - there's also a decent looking women's friendly taking place at Carshalton Athletic's ground.  The Dons should be one of the frontrunners in the women's fourth tier this season so a match against Pompey from the level above should provide them with a good test
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Thursday 21 July

UEFA Women's Euro 2022 Quarter Final
Germany v Austria @8pm - after three capacity crowds in the group stage, Brentford's ground prepares to host its final game of the tournament and it's a decent one. This second of the four quarter-finals is a big derby between Germany, the most successful country in the competition's history, and neighbours Austria. Aside from England, the German side has been incredibly impressive, winning all three games and not conceding a goal. The Austrians have caused a bit of an upset by qualifying ahead of Norway but they've been very tough to beat and have only conceded one themselves. Germany should be strong favourites but I can see this possibly going all the way to penalties. Some extra tickets went on sale on Saturday

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Friday 22 July

Friendlies
AFC Croydon Athletic v Brentford B @730pm - there are a couple of games on Friday night with this one featuring the Hamlet's new B side marginally the more interesting of the two

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Saturday 23 July
Friendlies
Watford v Southampton @3pm - one of the more unusual games of the pre-season period sees the Hornets take on the Saints at Wealdstone's ground in Ruislip. It is a first-team game for both sides but the pitch at Vicarage Road is being relaid and the game is being played here instead. Given the very limited capacity of 2,500, only supporters with a pre-existing Fan ID can get a ticket 
QPR v Crystal Palace @3pm - when I first heard the R's big pre-season home game was going to be against Palace Reserves I was pretty disappointed. However, as I mentioned above, the players that the visitors have to choose from are actually pretty impressive so this could be quite a bit better than I first thought. Tickets
Millwall v Ipswich Town @3pm - after the excitement of welcoming European opposition to The Den earlier in the week, the Lions come down to earth with a far more mundane opponent from League One. The Tractor Boys have won on two of their last three league visits to this part of London but it's been nearly four years since they were last in the neighbourhood. Tickets
Charlton Athletic v Swansea City @3pm - a bit of a random one but if you're a fan of either club or want to tick The Valley off your list, then you're in line for a good afternoon. Tickets
AFC Wimbledon v Oxford United @3pm - again, nothing too exciting about this one but it gives you the chance to check out Plough Lane which must be among the finest stadiums in the fourth tier. Tickets
Dagenham & Redbridge v Leyton Orient @3pm - in east London there's a local derby to look forward to. These sides were playing each other in the National League until fairly recently so it should be close here. Tickets
Egri Erbstein Tournament
One of the undoubted highlights of the whole pre-season period is this tournament taking place over the whole weekend in Tolworth. It all kicks off at midday when hosts Corinthian Casuals take on Hilltop in the first semi-final before Hungarian club Budapesti AK play Sheffield, the oldest football club in the world, at 4pm. Tickets are available by the day or for the whole weekend
A bit further afield
Luton Town v West Ham United @3pm - if things had gone better for the Hatters in the play-offs then this would've been a Premier League fixture this season but sadly it didn't. If you haven't been to Kenilworth Road, you really must - it's old, unique and not likely to be around for too much longer. Tickets
Reading v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - there's set to be some more Premier League talent on show in Berkshire where the Royals welcome the Seagulls. Tickets
Doubleheader
Just beyond the M25's Essex border, Billericay Town are hosting back-to-back games featuring their women's and men's teams. First up, the women take on WSL side West Ham United at 130pm before the men's side play Tottenham Hotspur U21s at 630pm. This late kick-off gives you the chance to pair it with a 3pm game on the east side of town if the women's match isn't for you. Tickets
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Sunday 24 July
Egri Erbstein Tournament
The action gets underway at 12pm as the losers of the two ties on Saturday meet in a third-place play-off. The final will take place at 4pm. As mentioned above, tickets can be bought by the day or for the whole weekend
Friendlies
Cray Wanderers v Maidstone United @3pm - it's definitely a day for football historians in London. If you can't watch Sheffield, the oldest club in the world, playing in the Egri Erbstein Tournament then you could head south-east to Bromley to watch Cray who are the oldest club in the capital. They face a tough match against the fifth-tier Stones.UPDATE - MATCH OFF
Fulham v AFC Wimbledon @2pm - the pick of the women's action, in my opinion, is this derby at Motspur Park. In men's football you'd have the Cottagers as strong favourites but in women's football, it's the Dons who play at a higher level

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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

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Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

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