Sunday, 23 August 2015

TLFG: 24-31 August 2015

Hi there and welcome to the August Bank Holiday special edition of TLFG.

As you may notice from the headline, this piece will also cover next Monday 31 August (a national holiday in England) so you can plan your whole weekend of football watching in one go.

I've been really pushed for time this week so it's pretty much just a match map from me at this stage - I will try and flesh things out a bit over the next day or two if I get the chance.

Have a good look through the map because there are over 120 fixtures in the next week or so. Apart from the big games in the Premier League and Football League there are also loads of local derbies in the local non-league competitions and also the next round of games in the FA Cup.

On Bank Holiday Monday itself, the Combined Counties League have scheduled all their games for 1130am meaning you'll be able to see at least two games that day.

Right, that's it from me for now. I might have more for you later in the week but if not, then fill your boots with the great games on offer and enjoy!

UPDATE (25/8/15): Match ticket info and a list of recommended games now updated - see below

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 well over 100 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

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

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

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

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

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures
Purple pin - Bank Holiday Monday fixtures




TLFG RECOMMENDS...
Normally I suggest a Top 10 of games to watch but this week there are so many that I'm going to list a few more by date.

Monday 24 August
Arsenal v Liverpool - two members of Premier League royalty meet at the Emirates
Aveley v Cray Wanderers - a top six clash in Isthmian League Division 1 North

Tuesday 25 August
Crystal Palace v Shrewsbury Town - cheap tickets to see Palace in the League Cup
Fulham v Sheffield United - more cheap League Cup action
QPR v Carlisle United - another cheap League Cup night out
Enfield Town v Leiston - Isthmian league leaders pay a visit to north London
Corinthian Casuals v Dorking Wanderers - leaders versus eighth in Isthmian Division 1 South
Walton & Hersham v Walton Casuals - derby time in leafy Surrey

Wednesday 26 August
Grays Athletic v Canvey Island - Essex derby featuring joint leaders of Isthmian League

Friday 28 August
Arsenal v West Ham United - U21 Premier League action at the Emirates Stadium

Saturday 29 August
Chelsea v Crystal Palace - London derby featuring the reigning Premier League champions
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton - Spurs look for their first win of the season against the Toffees
Brentford v Reading - pretty much a derby in the Championship
Leyton Orient v Bristol Rovers - top versus fourth in League Two
Boreham Wood v Woking - the hosts beat Tranmere and now welcome second place Woking
Dulwich Hamlet v Grays Athletic - two Isthmian League title contenders meet
Wingate & Finchley v Staines Town - match between two in Isthmian League's top eight 

Also on 29 August FA Cup Preliminary round - TLFG picks:

Barking v Haringey Borough - went head-to-head for Essex Senior League title last season
Bedfont & Feltham v AFC Hayes - local derby
Bedfont Sports v Hanwell Town - local derby
Phoenix Sports v Guernsey - two up and coming teams from Isthmian North & South
Wembley v North Greenford United - local derby

Sunday 30 August
All FA Cup ties:
Barkingside v Ipswich Wanderers 
Erith & Belvedere v Carshalton Athletic
Erith Town v Horsham YMCA

Monday 31 August
Dartford v Ebbsfleet United - big derby in National League South
Hendon v Harrow Borough - groundshare derby in Isthmian Premier
Kingstonian v Dulwich Hamlet - south London derby in Isthmian Premier
Thamesmead Town v Aveley - second versus third in Isthmian North
Cray Wanderers v Phoenix Sports - local rivals and both in form in Isthmian North
Molesey v Corinthian Casuals - derby featuring Isthmian South leaders
Hanwell Town v North Greenford United - the A40 derby in Southern League
AFC Croydon Athletic v Croydon - derby time in south London 
Hanworth Villa v Spelthorne Sports - derby hosted by joint Combined Counties leaders


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, 16 August 2015

TLFG: 17-23 August 2015

Hello there and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

How has your week been? Did you make it to any games?

I didn't but I would very much like to have checked out the Saudi Super Cup which was played at QPR's Loftus Road on Wednesday.

As readers of last week's piece will know, the prices for this game were prohibitive with the majority selling for £45 and £75 - far too much for most casual fans wanting to see a game.

Having been working early shifts all week, I took a late afternoon nap and was actually woken by the chanting of the crowd at the game.

Despite the prices and location of the game some 3,000 miles away from teams' home city of Riyadh, the atmosphere sounded electric. Although not sold out, I saw some video footage showing a reasonably full stadium so it seems like it was a success. Al-Hilal beat Al-Nassr 1-0 in case you're interested with former Porto player Carlos Eduardo scoring.

Lokalrunde is just three weeks away
For me, preparations are continuing for Non-League Day 2015 on 10 October which means we've got just under eight weeks to pull everything together. 

This weekend's FA Cup results mean we know a load more of the teams who will have home games so I'll try and get their fixtures on the match map over the next few days.

In the meantime Lokalrunde, our sister event in Germany and Switzerland, is coming up in three weeks during their most appropriate international break. 

If you're reading this in one of those or any neighbouring countries and fancy a weekend of non-league action European style then check out the event's website to see which teams are participating.

As always, enjoy your week of football watching and let me know what you've been up to.

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red 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. West Ham United v Bournemouth - there are three Premier League games taking place in the capital this week but none of them are hugely mouthwatering. I've gone for this as it's the only one that still has tickets on general sale. After the joy of winning at Arsenal on opening weekend, the Hammers came back down to Earth with a home defeat against an impressive looking Leicester side. They have a chance to get back to winning ways on Saturday against the newly promoted Cherries who have never played in the Premier League. One of the smallest in the division, the Dorset club are among the favourites for relegation and duly lost their opening game against Aston Villa. They have a tough match against Liverpool at Anfield on Monday so if they come out of that with any points then this should be interesting. (Premier League, Saturday 22 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Brentford v Birmingham City - the Bees are proving to be quite a resilient bunch so far this season. At 2-0 down and with the clock well past 90 minutes against Ipswich last week, they somehow salvaged a 2-2 draw. On Saturday they came from behind twice to beat Bristol City 4-2 at Ashton Gate. As a result they are up to third and preparing to host the Blues who have also picked up four points from their first games. Having not beaten them in six attempts, the visitors are becoming a bit of a bogey team for Brentford who are particularly bad against them at Griffin Park where they haven't defeated them since 1954. (Championship, Tuesday 18 August, 745pm. Ticket info)

3. Millwall v Barnsley - the Lions were installed as one of the favourites for promotion from League One this season and began with a good win at Shrewsbury. On Saturday they faced another contender in the form of former Premier League side Coventry. The match against the Sky Blues would, I thought, be an indicator of how good Millwall are. Sadly they missed an early penalty and then got swept aside by four goals to nil - quite a wake up call. Barnsley, another side who've seen better days, have made a similar start and are the sort of side that must be beaten if a promotion-winning campaign is to be seriously entertained. (League One, Tuesday 18 August, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Leyton Orient v Stevenage - after suffering a turbulent year which ended in relegation, the O's have made a very positive start to life in League Two under new boss Ian Hendon. Having taken the full six points from tricky derby fixtures against Barnet and Dagenham & Redbridge in their first two league games, the East Londoners are joint top. Stevenage, now managed by former Manchester United and England star Teddy Sheringham, have made a more modest start and will begin very much as second favourites. Given the visitors' location just to the north of London this is effectively a derby too. (League Two, Tuesday 18 August, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Boreham Wood v Forest Green Rovers - having crammed three games into their first ever week playing at national level, the Wood will probably be satisfied with the three points they have gleaned so far. One of the minnows of the National League, the Hertfordshire side were predicted to struggle but began with a solid home win over Halifax. However, narrow back-to-back defeats to Eastleigh and Gateshead at opposite ends of the country have dulled some of that early euphoria. On Tuesday they welcome early leaders Forest Green who made the play-offs last season and are hoping for at least more of the same this time. A point here would be quite an achievement for the hosts. (National League, Tuesday 18 August, 745pm. Ticket info)

6. Wealdstone v Ebbsfleet United after finishing last season strongly, the Stones were fancied to push on and firmly establish themselves in the sixth tier. It may still happen but with three defeats from three games their start has been disappointing. Things aren't going to get any easier on Saturday when leaders Ebbsfleet, who have a 100% win record at the time of writing, roll into Grosvenor Vale. Expected to do well, they've lived up to their billing and seen off some decent sides already. The two games between the sides last season were tight with Ebbsfleet scoring the only goal in 180 minutes of football. (National League South, Saturday 22 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Grays Athletic v Billericay Town - on the far eastern side of town we have an Essex derby to look forward to on Saturday. Grays just missed out on a play-off spot last season but have remained positive over the summer and begun well. Undefeated in three, they have become one of the four teams to open an early lead at the top. Also unbeaten but with more draws than wins, county rivals Billericay should provide tough opposition. Will Grays keep their place in the Gang of Four? Head to Aveley's ground which they share to find out. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 22 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. AFC Hornchurch v Thamesmead Town - the Urchins are new to this division after getting relegated. A Conference South side not that long ago, they are expected to bounce straight back up and have made a decent enough start with two wins from three. Thamesmead, however, have made a superb start having won all three of their games so should be very dangerous opponents. A top-eight clash from the eighth tier - this could well be worth a look if you're on the east side of London. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 22 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Wembley v Hillingdon Borough the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that I recommended you watch these two last week too. Well their FA Cup tie ended in a draw so they have to replay at Vale Farm on Tuesday. If you haven't begun your 'Road to Wembley' yet or are looking to continue it, then watching a game within sight of the national stadium probably isn't a bad place to spend an evening. Saturday's game finished 1-1 and with the hosts being the higher ranked side, they should start as favourites. (FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay, Tuesday 18 August, 745pm. Club info)

10. Bedfont & Feltham v London Tigers - these other two West London clubs also tied 1-1 in the FA Cup on Saturday so have to do it all again on Tuesday. Bedfont play a level below the Tigers so did well to earn a draw in Greenford. B&F have one of the most unusual grounds in the country located as it is at the end of Heathrow Airport's very busy runway. If you like football and plane-spotting then this is quite possibly your idea of heaven. (FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay, Tuesday 18 August, 745pm. Club info)

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

Sunday, 9 August 2015

TLFG: 10-16 August 2015


And they're off!

After two-and-a-bit months of waiting (it seems no time), the new season has begun.

What an opening weekend it has been with a number of notable upsets taking place right here in the capital.

London's big two, Arsenal and Chelsea, both began at home with matches against sides they would expect to beat. Jose Mourinho's reigning league champions gave away the lead twice to draw 2-2 with Swansea while the Gunners lost 2-0 at home to West Ham - a result I really didn't see coming.

Tottenham also came unstuck at Old Trafford - no shame in that, while Watford began life back in the top flight with a useful draw at Everton. Crystal Palace netted a fine 3-1 win at Norwich as they look to record a top 10 finish this year.

In the Football League, QPR lost 2-0 in the derby at Charlton. Unsurprisingly, but ridiculously unfairly, a section of the fans are already calling for Chris Ramsey's head. Brentford scored twice in injury time steal a point off fellow promotion contenders Ipswich while Fulham drew at Cardiff.

There were also wins for Millwall and Leyton Orient in League One and League Two.

The Saudi Super Cup is coming to QPR's Loftus Road on Wednesday
Newly promoted Boreham Wood and Bromley both made their debuts in the newly renamed National League and both enjoyed fine 3-1 wins over clubs with former Football League heritage.

Isthmian League favourites Dulwich Hamlet lived up to their billing as they dispatched Canvey Island 3-0 to go top.

There were many more stories from around the leagues and if you went to a game I'd like to hear about it.

The week ahead is crammed full of action again and aside from the normal league games, we have the opening rounds of the Football League Cup and FA Cup which have thrown up some interesting ties.

We also have one of the most unusual fixtures played in the capital for sometime.

Over the last few years, grounds in London have regularly played host to international friendlies between teams who usually have either/or a large contingent of players plying their trade in England or Europe and big expat communities in the capital.

QPR's Loftus Road has been used several times and as it's on my doorstep I usually try to go. I've seen the likes of Australia v South Africa, Ghana v Denmark and South Korea v Ivory Coast. All have been good fun and the atmosphere has been lively.

On Wednesday the hallowed turf in Shepherd's Bush will see the Saudi Super Cup played upon it. The Saudi Arabian equivalent of the FA Community Shield between the league champions and cup winners has for some reason been moved from the Gulf State to W12.

I've yet to hear a reason why but I'm all for quirky fixtures like this and would under normal circumstances love to pop along.

However... the prices are staggering.

With the two main stands running along the side of the pitch 'unavailable',  there are only tickets currently on sale behind the two goals. The cheapest tucked away in the wings where your view will be far from ideal are £25. All the others are £45 and £75!!!

I love Loftus Road (how can I not?) but as any regular approaching six foot will tell you, the leg room in the seats makes Ryanair's offering look first class. SEVENTY-FIVE OF THE QUEEN'S POUNDS for the Upper Loft is crazy.

If they do manage to sell them and the place is packed to the rafters then fair play to them but they'll have missed a trick if they don't and it's half empty. Good luck to them.

Rant over. Enjoy your football and please let me know what you go to watch, particularly if you make it to the Saudi Super Cup.


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red 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 Arsenal - Alan Pardew's side got off to a flying start as they recorded a solid 3-1 win at newly promoted Norwich on opening day. Arsenal, however, suffered what must be the shock of the weekend as they lost 0-2 at home to West Ham. Personally I thought the Gunners would win with relative ease against a Hammers side which was booed at times during their brief Europa League adventure. On paper the north Londoners should win here too. Palace's record against the Gunners is poor - their last win came at Highbury over 20 years ago. However, the West Ham result and the fact that this is a very positive and united Eagles outfit could well see Arsene Wenger's charges come unstuck again. (Premier League, Sunday 16 August, 130pm. Ticket info)

2. Watford v West Bromwich Albion - perhaps not the most mouthwatering offer of the day at first glance but it's the Hornets' first home game back in the top flight after eight years away. The atmosphere should be special and in West Brom they face beatable opponents. Much has changed at Watford over the summer on and off the pitch and they acquitted themselves well at Everton on Saturday, forcing a 2-2 draw. It will be hard to know how good the Baggies are until they play Manchester City on Monday but they are unbeaten in six against Hertfordshire's top club and should provide a good test for the hosts. (Premier League, Saturday 15 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Saudi Super Cup - one of the most unusual fixtures to have been played in London for a while is taking place at QPR's Loftus Road on Wednesday. The Saudi Arabian version of the FA Community Shield pits league champions Al Nassr against cup winners Al Hilal. I have to confess to knowing very little about either but both hail from the capital Riyadh so if nothing else it's a derby. How many fans of either side make it to London will be interesting to see but only seats behind each goal are currently still available. One point to note - legendary Colombian scorpion kicker and all round eccentric Rene Higuita is goalkeeping coach for Al Nassr so hopefully he'll put in an appearance of some sort. (Saudi Super Cup, Wednesday 12 August, 7pm. Ticket info)

4. Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion any game against London opposition, particularly ones from the south and west of the city, pretty much count as derbies for Brighton. The seaside town around 50 miles south of the capital is often referred to as 'London-By-The-Sea' because of its proximity and popularity with its denizens. Consequently a large away following should make their way to Craven Cottage, particularly given their positive start to the season. Fulham managed a decent draw at Cardiff on Saturday so should manage to take at least a point from what is historically a pretty even contest. The Cottagers are also holding a Fans' Day in Bishop's Park next to the ground before the game if you want some extra entertainment. (Championship, Saturday 15 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Millwall v Coventry City - both these former top-flight sides are expected to push for at least a play-off spot this season and both got off to good starts on Saturday with wins in their opening fixtures. Coventry are too big for this division but financial problems in recent years have seen them suffer. However, things seem to be getting back on track and they have now returned from exile in Northampton to play at the Ricoh Arena again. The Lions, let us not forget, came flying out of the traps last season and became early leaders in the Championship but it all fell apart and they got relegated. There seems to be a more positive vibe around the camp at the moment with former playing legend Neil Harris now in charge and this will be a good test of their credentials. (League One, Saturday 15 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dagenham & Redbridge v Leyton Orient - the O's began life back in the fourth tier with a tidy 2-0 win over fellow Londoners Barnet on Saturday. Next up in the league they face another derby against a side, like them, from the east of town and hence it's probably the derby for these two this season. Given the Daggers have only been around for a little over 20 years, there have only been 11 previous meetings but the record is totally even with four wins apiece and three draws. Orient have been more dominant of late though, are unbeaten in five and should win here. The Daggers suffered a 3-0 reverse at Portsmouth in their opening game and are expected to struggle. (League Two, Saturday 15 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Hendon v Dulwich Hamlet - after losing in last season's play-off final, the Greens were installed as one the favourites to win the Isthmian League title this time round. However, with opening matches against fellow contenders Grays, Enfield and Dulwich, the fixture gods couldn't have been much less helpful. Having taken a point from their trip to Essex on Saturday, they have to negotiate the derby against Enfield before the current favourites pay a visit to Earlsmead. Dulwich, if you're new to the non-league scene, are a club on the rise. Another side to come unstuck in last season's play-offs, the south London club have seen their support base come close to trebling over the last two or three years as an attractive and largely successful team has pulled in the punters. Regularly attracting crowds of over 1,000, no mean feat for a team in the seventh tier, they began their 2015/16 campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over Canvey Island to immediately go top. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 15 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Tooting & Mitcham United v Corinthian Casuals - the rise of Dulwich has been particularly painful for Tooting fans who view them as their biggest rivals. Former regulars in the Isthmian Premier, they're currently in the division below and will hope to get back into the top flight as soon as possible. They got off to a good start with a win at East Grinstead and next welcome near neighbours CCs for a derby at the well appointed Imperial Fields. Corinthian Casuals started well last season but fell away into midtable by the end, however, the bookies suggest a play-off place could be theirs this year. They saw off a well-fancied Worthing side in their first fixture so will start as slight favourites for me. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, Tuesday 11 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Croydon v Sutton Common Rovers - this season's 'Road to Wembley' begins on Saturday with the playing of the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round. A total of 736 teams from around the country will take part at some point with the first 368 of them doing battle this weekend. There are quite a few ties in the London area so it's been hard to pick which two to feature but I've firstly gone for this one as it's a derby. With only Carshalton between them, Croydon and Sutton almost run into each other in London's Deep South. Both playing in the ninth tier and recently in the same league, these two began with league defeats so will look to get their seasons back on track with a win and a useful bit of prize money. (FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round, Saturday 15 August, 3pm. Club info)

10. Hillingdon Borough v Wembley - what better way to start your 'Road to Wembley' than by watching the club of the same name? Unsurprisingly they don't play at the legendary stadium but you get a good view of it from their pitch. On Saturday they travel six miles west to the Middlesex Stadium to play Hillingdon who were one of the best non-league sides in the country back in the 1960s and '70s. They even made it to Wembley for the FA Trophy Final back in 1971. Currently down in the tenth tier after relegation last season, they'll start as underdogs. (Saturday 15 August, 3pm. Club info)

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

Monday, 3 August 2015

TLFG: 3-9 August 2015

Hi there and welcome to the season-opening edition of TLFG.

I can't believe it's that time again already and for the first time in what seems like years, all the leagues are getting under way on the same day (bar the odd Friday night appetiser).

London clubs are expected to do well again at national level with Chelsea and Arsenal set to challenge for the Premier League. Brentford, Fulham and QPR in with a chance in the Championship and Millwall and Leyton Orient fancied to do well in League One and League Two.

Boreham Wood and Bromley are both making their debuts in the fifth tier so it will be interesting to see how they get on against the likes of Grimsby Town and Tranmere Rovers.

At the other end, a number of new sides have moved up to the tenth tier so if you're a hardened groundhopper there could well be some new grounds for you to tick off.

Atalanta defend a QPR corner in front of their very vocal supporters
So how was your week? I managed to finally catch a game by visiting Loftus Road for QPR's friendly against Serie A side Atalanta.

It was a reasonably competitive affair with the visitors taking an early lead when Jasmin Kurtic crashed a superb volley past Rob Green before new signing Jay Emmanuel-Thomas equalised with a deflected shot midway through the second half.

The highlight of proceedings, however, were the Atalanta supporters. There were only a few hundred but the noise they generated throughout with their highly co-ordinated routines impressed many of the Rangers faithful. I have no idea what they were singing about but everything passed off smoothly enough.

Over the last few years I've taken a few of my friends' kids to watch QPR in an effort to put them on the right track but all, after a promising start, have drifted away into the clutches of clubs like Manchester City and Arsenal as trophy wins and peer pressure have worked their magic over them.

However, I believe I'm onto a winner with my latest protege who has flags and other merchandise adorning his room at home. His sister made a her debut at yesterday's game too so hopefully she'll be a member of the QPR family soon as well.  

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday 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. Arsenal v West Ham United - the Gunners completed a successful pre-season with a 1-0 FA Community Shield triumph over Chelsea on Sunday. It was their first win over the Blues in eight attempts and should put them in a very positive frame of mind ahead of this weekend's season opener against the Hammers. Whether they mount a serious title challenge this year remains to be seen and with the bookies seeing them finishing third again, it could be all about the cups. West Ham have been playing competitive fixtures for a month already thanks to their participation in the Europa League. Despite playing unheralded opposition and fielding slightly less than full strength teams themselves, they've made heavy weather of it and have been far from convincing. When you also consider the east London club have lost their last 10 against Arsene Wenger's team, it's hard to envisage that run being anything but extended. (Premier League, Sunday 9 August, 130pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Swansea City - the reigning Premier League champions begin their title defence at home to Welsh club Swansea and most would see this as a comfortable home win. Despite Garry Monk putting together a decent side who finished eighth last season, they struggled against the Blues losing both league games and conceding nine goals in the process. The Swans also have to go back all the way to 1981 to find a record of their last league win over the Stamford Bridge outfit. Don't completely write them off though, last season they opened with a very unexpected win over Manchester United at Old Trafford so Jose Mourinho won't take them lightly. Tickets for Chelsea games are hard to get hold of for non-members but if you want to go to this, at the time of writing, tickets are on general sale in the away supporters section of the ground so contact Swansea as soon as possible. (Premier League, Saturday 8 August, 530pm. Ticket info)

3. Charlton Athletic v Queens Park Rangers - Chris Ramsey's side begin life back in the Championship with a London derby against the Addicks. QPR are expected to challenge for a play-off spot but Charlton are seen by many to be certs for relegation. Only time will tell but with only two wins from seven pre-season games, things aren't looking great for Guy Luzon's side. I had a look at Rangers in their game against Atalanta on Sunday and find it hard to see them getting more than a play-off place so with it being a derby and the opening day, it should be pretty even. QPR also have a poor record at The Valley so anything's possible. (Championship, Saturday 8 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Leyton Orient v Barnet - this time last year, a derby like this was probably not on the near horizon for fans of either side. The O's had been a penalty shoot-out away from a place in the Championship while the Bees had missed a place in the Conference play-offs by a comfortable margin. Twelve months on they're together after seasons of massively contrasting fortunes - the O's got relegated after going through several managers and Barnet went up after winning the title. With former Bees player and manager Ian Hendon taking the reigns at Brisbane Road over the summer, this game will have that little bit more to it than usual. The hosts will start as firm favourites but a Martin Allen inspired Barnet should be well up for it. (League Two, Saturday 8 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Bromley v Wrexham - the Ravens won the Conference South last season and make their long-awaited debut in non-league's top flight on Saturday. They begin with a mouthwatering clash against Welsh club Wrexham one the biggest clubs at this level. A League One club until as recently as 2005, the Dragons have become one of several clubs whose finances have dragged them down the pyramid. The last few years have seen them make the play-off and FA Trophy finals and they have been installed as one of the promotion favourites again. Bromley are a club with real potential and consolidation at this level will be the priority so a point from this game at a busy Hayes Lane should be celebrated. (National League, Saturday 8 August, 3pm. Club info)

6. Sutton United v Maidstone United this National League South match between two of the bigger clubs in the division really wets my appetite. Sutton have been promotion contenders on an almost yearly basis so it was a bit a surprise to see them struggle to fifteenth last season. Despite this, they've kept faith with boss Paul Doswell and they're fancied to challenge again. Maidstone clinched the Isthmian League title last year to continue the long climb back towards the Football League place the Kent town lost in 1992 when the previous club of the same name went bust. Still with a large following (they averaged crowds of over 1,800 last season) and a fine modern stadium, it can't be too long before they push on again. One other point of note - this will be Sutton's first competitive game on their new 3G pitch. (National League South, Saturday 8 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Grays Athletic v Hendon - it's quite hard to predict who's going to do what when you get to this level but the bookmakers are under the impression that these two will challenge. Hendon came close last season, losing to Margate in the play-off final, but their supporter base is still relatively small as they head into the final year of their groundshare at Harrow Borough and finances are said to be tight. Grays are in a similar position to Hendon in that they are currently without a ground of their own and although they didn't make the play-offs, they only missed them by a point. Don't expect a massive turnout for this (200-250) but do expect a closely fought game. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 8 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. AFC Hornchurch v Cray Wanderers - elsewhere in Essex in the division below, we have what many of the tipsters see as potential top-two clash. The Urchins have had a rollercoaster last four seasons that have seen one play-off final win, one defeat and two relegations. So in just over two years they've gone from the Conference South to Isthmian Division 1 North, a fall not many had foreseen. As mentioned, the bookmakers see it being another eventful season for them as they challenge to get back up. Cray, the capital's oldest club, a mainstay of the Isthmian Premier for several years, found themselves destined for life in the Southern Counties East League until a fine rally at the end of 2014/15 saw them stave off relegation. With ambitious former VCD Athletic boss Tony Russell appointed over the summer, the Wanderers are expected to do well. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 8 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Barking v Ilford - the opening day fixtures in the Essex Senior League have thrown up a local derby between these two East End clubs. Playing just over a mile apart, there's not much between them in terms of distance. Although Haringey Borough romped to the title last season, Barking finished a very creditable third and will hope to push on this time. Ilford were an Isthmian League side until recently but were well off the pace last season and I've heard nothing to suggest things will be different this time round. A derby's a derby though so either could win. (Essex Senior League, Saturday 8 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. FC Elmstead v Orpington - several new clubs have moved up to Step 6/Level 10 this season and one of them are FC Elmstead who have joined the Kent Invicta League. The Chislehurst club have been selected to kick-off the KIL season with this Friday night fixture against Orpington under lights at Holmesdale's ground near Bromley. Free on Friday night? Then pop down to Oakley Road to see what they're capable of. (Friday 7 August, 745pm. Club info)

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

Monday, 27 July 2015

TLFG: 27 July - 2 August 2015

It's been quite a week for TLFG.

As you may have noticed we've got a new, themed look and our own website address.

I hope you like it and that you'll find www.tlfg.uk a bit easier to use.

The traffic to this blog has soared over the last two weeks, nearly doubling, which has been really pleasing so thanks a lot for taking the time to read and for making it all worthwhile.

I'd also like to apologise again for the slightly delayed publication. Putting the map together has taken hours once more but that's because we've got even more matches to look forward to than last week - over 100.

A fine read about London football in German
If you're visiting London over the next few days, you've picked a great time to come with a really interesting selection of games to choose from. 

Personally, I'm all set to go to QPR v Atalanta on Sunday - if it happens (see TLFG Top 10 below). It'll be my first visit to Loftus Road since March when Tottenham were in town so it will be good to get back there. 

How well we do this season is unclear but optimism is fairly high and with my membership renewed once again I'm ready for the new campaign.

In other news, long-term readers may remember Dutch writer Paul Baaijens came to London at the back end of 2013 to research his book about London football called 'Matchdays'.

It's done well back in his homeland and it has now been translated and published in Germany by fellow TLFG reader Christoph Beutenmuller and his 'pretty good books' publishing company.

If you're a German speaker, give it a read. You'll probably learn more than you will from this blog! 

Have a good week and if you have any questions, send them my way.


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday 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. FA Community Shield - the annual curtain-raiser between the Premier League champions and FA Cup winners takes place at Wembley on Sunday and this year it's between the two titans of London football - Chelsea and Arsenal. The Blues' pre-season has got off to a wobbly start in America with defeat to the New York Red Bulls and a 1-1 draw against Paris St Germain. The Gunners, on the other hand, have won all four of their matches and scored 14 goals in the process. This included winning the Emirates Cup, something they haven't achieved since 2010. Arsenal are the current holders of the Shield but their recent record against Chelsea is poor (winless in eight) so you still have to fancy the west Londoners. (FA Community Shield, Sunday 2 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Women's FA Cup Final - unless you're a member of one of the participating clubs, getting tickets to the Community Shield will be hard or very expensive. A far more realistic chance of visiting Wembley presents itself the previous day when Chelsea and Notts County meet in the final of this prestigious competition. Following England's third-place finish in the World Cup, interest in the women's game is the highest it's been for a while so quite a lot of attention is being focused on this. With ticket sales at the 24,000 mark over 10 days ago, a record attendance is very much on the cards and with very reasonable prices (adults £15, kids £5) it's not hard to see why. Both sides are currently in the top four in the league so we should hopefully get a decent game. (Women's FA Cup Final, Saturday 1 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. West Ham United v FC Astra Giurgiu - after scraping past Maltese cup winners Birkirkara on penalties in the last round, the Hammers' Europa League adventure next pits them against one of the top teams in Romania. Slaven Bilic's side were expected to get to this stage but have made heavy weather of it and in the Black Devils they should face a significant step up in class. If they want to make the group stages, still two rounds away, they'll need to up their game. Tickets for this are once again only £10 for adults and £5 for kids and will probably come close to selling out so don't delay buying if you want to go. Remember, it's also West Ham's final season at the Boleyn Ground so don't miss your chance to visit. If you can't get to this game, they also have a friendly against German club Werder Bremen on Sunday. (Europa League, Thursday 30 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Watford v Sevilla - the Hornets' long awaited return to the Premier League is getting closer and this attractive friendly against the reigning Europa League champions will be their last warm-up match. On the pitch, preparations have been going well with four wins and a draw so far. Despite this they are still favourites to get relegated but I have a feeling they will give it a good go and win a few admirers along the way. Tickets for Watford's home games look likely to be restricted to members only for most of the season so take this chance while you can. (Friendly, Friday 31 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Fulham v Crystal Palace - we've got a London derby at Craven Cottage the following day between sides possibly going in opposite directions. The Cottagers have spent most of the 21st century as a well established Premier League club but it well went pear-shaped in 2013/14 and they got relegated. Back in the Championship they found last season difficult and spent most of it trying to stay out of the bottom three. Eventually they survived and this time round no more than a midtable finish is expected. Following promotion in 2013, the Eagles are well on the way to cementing themselves into the top flight establishment with two top-11 finishes. With Alan Pardew in the dugout, a solid and well motivated squad in place and a passionate fan base behind them, the future looks bright for Palace. (Friendly, Saturday 1 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Queens Park Rangers v Atalanta - pre-season is becoming a bit of a joke at Rangers with plans often appearing at the very last minute or falling through completely. Their recent tour of Italy promised much with some decent opposition lined up but ultimately only one of the three games took place and that miles away from where originally scheduled. This friendly, the only one at Loftus Road before the big kick-off, was supposed to have been against Chievo Verona but it too mysteriously fell through last week and fellow Serie A side Atalanta have been drafted in at short notice. Aside from this shambles, QPR are fancied to do quite well this year and they've made a number of interesting signings so I'll be there to see what's what. (Friendly, Sunday 2 August, 1245pm. Ticket info)

7. Millwall v Tondela - after suffering the trauma of relegation, Neil Harris's Millwall side are being tipped to be among the frontrunners in League One this year. Pre-season has been unspectacular so far and they finish it with this match against Portuguese opposition. Tondela have enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last few years having only become a fully professional club as recently as 2012. Last season they won the Segunda Liga so will play in the top flight against the likes of Benfica and Porto for the first time this year. (Friendly, Saturday 1 August, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Hampton & Richmond Borough v Salford City - when the Beevers announced this fixture a few weeks ago it immediately caught people's attention. If you missed it, prior to last season, a consortium of Manchester United legends Phil Neville, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs took control of non-league Salford. They went on to win the Northern Premier League Division 1 North and now play at a parallel level to Hampton. They have since got further backing from Peter Lim, owner of Valencia and they have big plans to progress. Hampton have more modest ambitions and found things a little rocky last season but with former Kingstonian boss Alan Dowson in charge, they should be in safe hands.  (Friendly, Saturday 1 August, 3pm. Club info)

9. Middlesex Charity Cup Final the Women's FA Cup isn't the only piece of silverware up for grabs on Saturday. Four miles to the west, Harrow Borough go after the Middlesex double. Having beaten Hanwell Town to claim the Middlesex Senior Cup back in May, Boro have had to wait until now for the final of this competition because of the Enfield Town ineligible player saga. Enfield were supposed to have been Harrow's opponents and hosted the final at the end of last season but got disqualified. Consequently the final will now be played at Harrow but, at the time of writing, we don't know their opponents. Ashford Town and Cockfosters will contest the other semi-final on Tuesday so all will be revealed then. (Middlesex Charity Cup Final, Saturday 1 August, 3pm. Ticket info: TBC)

10. Thamesmead Town v Jersey - last up this week we see another unusual game with interesting opponents from overseas. Over the last few years, fellow Channel Islanders and big rivals Guernsey have been making all the football headlines as they turned semi-pro and climbed up to the eighth tier of English football. Jersey, the bigger island, have been somewhat left behind and are trying to redress the balance with some good pre-season games. Last week they welcomed Sutton United for a visit, this Saturday they travel to the capital to take on Thamesmead who play at the same level as Guernsey. Town representatives are very excited about the game which will be the focus of what is also the club's Community Fun Day so get down there if you're in the area. (Saturday 1 August, 3pm. Club info)

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

Monday, 20 July 2015

TLFG: 20-26 July 2015

First off apologies for the slightly later publication than usual.

It's been a busy old week and rather than gradually bring everything together over a few days, I didn't start compiling the map until Sunday morning.

With pre-season now fully underway, this took even longer than usual and we've got a bumper week to look forward to with over 100 games taking place in the Greater London area.

So what have you been up to? I've heard from a few of you including Kev from Sussex (thanks for the photo) who made it to Kingsmeadow for Kingstonian's game against Chelsea's U21s. I warned in my preview not to expect to see John Terry in action and although he didn't play, the Blues captain did still put in an appearance which was appreciated by many of near 1,000 crowd.

John Terry made it to Kingstonian on Monday to watch Chelsea's U21s
West Ham packed out the Boleyn Ground again as they took on Birkirkara in the Europa League. The Maltese underdogs almost pulled off a shock 0-0 draw but conceded a last-minute goal as they gave new Hammers boss Slaven Bilic an uncomfortable evening.

The east London side are back in action again this week while Arsenal also return to action in the capital with a couple of games at the weekend - see TLFG's Top 10 below for details of both.

The first batch of tickets for Premier League games at Tottenham and West Ham go on general sale over the next few days. With Arsenal, Chelsea and Crystal Palace pretty much members only, these two are likely to be the easiest source of tickets for matches at this level this season. If Watford really struggle then you might get some there too.

As previously mentioned, there's loads on offer so have a great week.

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday 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. The Emirates Cup - not to be confused with the Emirates FA Cup, this annual tournament at Arsenal is one of the highlights of the pre-season in London. It brings together four decent European clubs and puts them on show in arguably the city's best club stadium and tickets are reasonably easy to come by - something that is not the case for most Gunners games. Played over a weekend, this year the visiting teams are Lyon (France), Villarreal (Spain) and Wolfsburg (Germany). The format is a little odd as it's played as a league, however, each side only gets two games so Arsenal, for example, won't be playing Villarreal. Why they don't just make it semi-finals on Saturday and a third-place play-off/final on Sunday I don't know. Nonetheless, it gives you a great chance to see some good sides and the vast majority of tickets are under £30. (The Emirates Cup, Saturday & Sunday 25/26 July, from 2pm. Ticket info)

2. Charlton Athletic v West Ham United - on paper this friendly leaps off the page. A London derby between two sides from the east side of town, one south and one north of the river. Despite the geographical closeness and similar stature, the clubs have only played competitively on 40 occasions in their history with last game as long ago as 2007 when the Addicks enjoyed a resounding 4-0 win in a Premier League game at The Valley. Despite that result, Charlton got relegated that year and fell all the way down to England's third tier. Happily they're a Championship side again and will hope to give the Hammers a good workout. The other brilliant thing about this match is that adult tickets are just £10 so it's a bargain too!  (Friendly, Saturday 25 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Brentford v Stoke City - we have another Championship v Premier League clash at Griffin Park a little earlier the same day. The Bees made a fantastic return to life in England's second division last season, outdoing all expectations to claim a play-off place. However, things went sour between owner and manager so now a new person is in charge. Dutchman Marinus Dijkhuizen joined from Eredivisie minnows Excelsior whom he did well to keep up in 2014/15. He is still a bit of an unknown quantity for many fans so he has a lot to prove. The Potters remain one of the top flight's 'unfashionable' clubs despite solid progress. Mark Hughes took them to an impressive ninth-place finish last year and should be tough to beat again. (Friendly, Saturday 25 July, 130pm. Ticket info)

4. Queens Park Rangers v Dundee United - back from a slightly chaotic tour of Italy, QPR's first pre-season game in London will be against this famous Scottish club. As a child I developed quite a soft spot for the Terrors as they went on their amazing run to the Uefa Cup final in 1987 and have kept an eye on their results ever since. Last season they came fifth in the Premiership which, to me at least, should make them about the same standard as a Championship team. If you do fancy this England v Scotland clash, please note that it is being played at Barnet's ground in north London and not at QPR's Loftus Road. (Friendly, Wednesday 22 July, 730pm. Ticket info)

5. Barnet v MK Dons - it's going to be a really busy week at The Hive as the Bees have two friendlies of their own going on too. After welcoming League One side Peterborough United on Tuesday, Championship newcomers MK Dons roll into town at the weekend. The Buckinghamshire club are highly controversial having been formed out of the original Wimbledon football club in 2004. Unofficially seen as a franchise side, they are disliked by many. On the pitch, though, they've done well in recent seasons and find themselves at this level for the first time. Barnet also enjoyed promotion last season after Martin Allen guided them to the Conference title and he will want to do well against one of his former clubs. (Friendly, Saturday 25 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dagenham & Redbridge v Southend United - although the Daggers have arguably a more prestigious friendly against Charlton in midweek, this derby against Essex neighbours Southend appeals more. As mentioned it is a derby and the sides have played regularly in recent seasons building a decent rivalry. This match is happening in pre-season as the Shrimpers hauled themselves up to League One via the play-offs in May and will no doubt want to laud that over their hosts for the afternoon. (Friendly, Saturday 25 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Bromley v Gillingham - talking of county derbies, we have one of the Kent variety down at Hayes Lane on Tuesday. The Ravens claimed the Conference South title in April and are now playing at national level for the first time - quite an achievement. Expected by the bookies to consolidate their position, it will be an interesting time for the club whose supporter base could grow considerably. The Gills recorded a very respectable midtable finish in League One last year and weren't a million miles away from gaining a play-off place. Bromley held Millwall to a 2-2 draw last week and I think the honours could well be even again here. (Friendly, Tuesday 21 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

8. Wealdstone v Wycombe Wanderers - the Stones more than held their own in the Conference South last season and will hope for at least more of the same this time round. Pre-season began with an emphatic 7-2 drubbing of local Southern League club Hanwell Town a couple of weeks ago but that's been followed with three straight defeats against somewhat stiffer opposition. Former non-league rivals Wycombe, who only play a short drive away up the A40, missed automatic promotion to League One by a point in 2014/15 and then suffered the heartbreak of losing the play-off final to the aforementioned Southend on penalties. Boss Gareth Ainsworth, a man not lacking passion, will hope his side go one better this time. (Friendly, Tuesday 21 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

9. Thurrock v Luton Town - eighth-tier club Thurrock have a habit of bringing in a biggish name in pre-season. Last year it was Portsmouth, this time it's the Hatters. The fact they have former Gillingham boss Mark Stimson in charge probably helps. The Essex side were another to make it to play-offs in their division (Isthmian League Division 1 North) last season but rather than experience penalty woe, got completely gubbed by Brentwood Town. Given they were a Conference South side not that long ago, they should really be playing at a higher level and should look to be among the title contenders again. Luton are also playing at a lower level than they should be. A Championship side until as recently as 2007, financial disaster saw them plummet down to the Conference in quick time but now they're moving back up. Achieving a top-eight finish in League Two last season, they'll be expecting at least a play-off place. (Friendly, Wednesday 22 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

10. Millers Invitational Tournament - just up the road at Mill Field, Isthmian League club Aveley are hosting a three side mini tournament on Saturday afternoon. Eastenders Clapton and Kent outfit Faversham Town are the guests with three one-hour, instead of 90-minute, games taking place from 1pm. Adult tickets are just £5 and with the Clapton Ultras no doubt putting in an appearance, it should be a fun afternoon. (Saturday 25 July, from 1pm. Tournament 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.