Monday, 22 July 2019

TLFG: 22-28 July 2019

Welcome to TLFG's look at week four of pre-season where things are really starting to hot up.

Numerous Premier League clubs finally get into action on our patch over the next few days whilst the amount of EFL sides hoping to entertain us has also increased - there are also some European visitors to add even more glamour to the mix.

Once again I've included a few notable games from beyond the M25 as I seek to showcase the best of what's on offer at this early point of the football year. I include matches on the maps if they feature at least one representative side from a Premier League/EFL or overseas team - as a general rule, games outside the M25 between non-league sides will not be included.

The biggest event of the week is almost certainly Arsenal's Emirates Cup event.

Tickets are available for this year's Emirates Cup

Sadly as the Gunners' fortunes have waned on the pitch so has the calibre of this competition with it now being only a one day event instead of spread over a whole weekend. French club Lyon are the headline act whereas Real Madrid and Juventus were both on the bill along with Hamburg in 2008.

This year Arsenal are giving their women's players the chance to shine by playing a match against Bayern Munich. I think this is a hugely positive thing but many are still not convinced about women's football and will stay away - some of the Arsenal fans I know looked disgusted when they found out!

Aside from Bayern, Arsenal Women will also warm-up for the defence of their Super League crown with another couple of friendlies against Barcelona and Tottenham next month which should be well worth a watch but more on them in the coming weeks.

As mentioned last week, let me again mark your card with news of the 'Jumpers For Goalposts' festival of football culture which is happening here in London on 3-4 August.

A new football festival is coming to London
There will be speakers, screenings, memorabilia, retro video games and pretty much everything your heart might desire.

It's taking place at Printworks London in Surrey Quays, a stone's throw from Millwall who will be hosting Preston North End on the Saturday in their opening game of the new season - day tickets to the festival are £20 but you can get 15% off if you include discount code 'LFG15' when booking. Many thanks to German TLFG reader Christoph B for tipping me off about this.

I spent all of last week commuting back and forth between London and Southampton and then I've spent all this weekend looking after my daughters with my wife away on a residential course. Consequently I've seen no football at all - however, I have Tuesday and Wednesday off so am hoping to see something.

When I publish next week's piece is open to question as I'm off to Istanbul on Sunday for a week but I'll endeavour to get something up at some point.

On the subject of Istanbul, if anyone is aware of any friendlies taking place on either side of the Bosphorus at any level, please let me know as information is proving hard to come by. I know the big clubs play most of their pre-season games away but I'm more than happy to watch Umraniye, Istanbulspor, Beykoz or whoever. I'm staying on the Asian side so that would be more convenient but I'm not fussy.

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include some decent friendlies featuring several Premier League and EFL clubs, some European teams and also plenty of games featuring non-league sides too - there are well over 100 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from.

Getting details on all games taking place this week has been a challenge, especially the lower down you go. Several clubs have published nothing at all, incorrect information and/or have not responded to requests for clarification - so there could be one or two matches I've missed. 

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 - magenta 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 22 July

Friendly
Carshalton Athletic v Charlton Athletic XI @745pm - with most of Monday's games taking place on random 3G pitches around the capital, the match of the night is undoubtedly this one as the Robins entertain a side from The Valley. However, this isn't listed as a first-team game on Charlton's website so don't expect any more than a development squad to entertain you

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Tuesday 23 July

Friendlies
Wealdstone v Wycombe Wanderers @730pm - there are loads of games on Tuesday night and I'd say that this is just about the pick of what's on offer. The sixth-tier Stones made the National League South (NLS) play-offs last season and will want to do even better under new boss Dean Brennan. Being based in Ruislip, Wycombe is only a short car or train journey away from Grosvenor Vale so a good crowd should be expected for the visit of the League One side
Metropolitan Police v AFC Wimbledon @745pm - there's also a chance to catch a League One side in action at Imber Court where the Dons make the short trip from Norbiton for another derby of sorts. The Met also suffered play-off misery last season, albeit at the level below Wealdstone, so they should be capable of giving Wally Downes' side a decent game
Sutton United v Dulwich Hamlet @745pm - there are also a couple of decent derbies on Tuesday where two of the best supported non-league sides in south London meet on the artificial turf of Gander Green Lane for what should be an intriguing contest. Sutton play a division above their visitors so should start as favourites
Dartford v Bromley @745pm - there's a very similar game taking place at Princes Park where another two local rivals go head-to-head for nothing more than bragging rights. On this occasion, the visitors play in the higher division

A bit further afield
Cambridge United v Leicester City @730pm - if you're prepared to travel around 50 miles north of London on Tuesday then you can get this week's first helping of Premier League players in action. League Two Cambridge have priced adult tickets at £10 and there seem to be plenty available
Oxford United v Fulham @745pm - after losing 2-1 to QPR on Saturday, the U's welcome another opponent from west London. The Cottagers suffered relegation from the Premier League last season but are one of the favourites to win the Championship title. Adult tickets are £12
Colchester United v Charlton Athletic @730pm - another one of our local Championship sides makes a short journey out to Essex to play League Two opposition. Adult tickets are priced at a rather steep £15
Swindon Town v Manchester United U23 @730pm - although it's only a development team, the chance for a League Two side to play against anyone from Old Trafford is too good an opportunity to miss. Although Swindon is quite a long way outside London (around 70 miles) there is a fast and frequent train service from Paddington which takes just over an hour, with the ground a short walk from the station. Adult tickets are only £8 for this one
Aldershot Town v Portsmouth @730pm - there's a bit of an Army v Navy feel to this one with both towns famous for being home to each of the armed services respectively. The Shots play two divisions below Pompey who should bring a decent following up from the coast. Although outside London, this is another ground that's very easy to get to by train. Adult tickets are £10 although it is half price for military personnel
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Wednesday 24 July

Friendlies
Barnet v Arsenal XI @745pm - not all that long ago, the regular pre-season game between these two north London clubs would see the Gunners field a full strength side but with the Bees now out of the EFL and with serious money on offer to Arsenal to tour the world during the summer, only a development side will be sent to The Hive which seems a bit of a shame. Consequently, Barnet are only opening one stand and adult tickets are only £10
Haringey Borough v Queens Park Rangers U23 @745pm - elsewhere in north London, seventh tier Borough welcome a development team from QPR to Coles Park which sits firmly in the middle of White Hart Lane unlike Tottenham's ground which isn't even on the road of the same name

A bit further afield
Reading v Peterborough United @4pm - this match flies in the face of all convention when it comes to arranging friendlies. First of all it sees a Championship side host one from League One (traditionally the more senior club usually travels), it's on a Wednesday afternoon and to top it all the Royals have decided to make it FREE ENTRY for all at the Madejski Stadium so fill your boots!
Southend United v Millwall @730pm - if it's a nice day on Wednesday, you might want to take your bucket and spade to the Essex coast and make of day of it before finishing off with a trip to Roots Hall for this potentially lively encounter. Adult tickets are £12
Cheshunt v Stevenage @745pm - the hosts won promotion to the seventh tier last season so have done well to land this friendly against a local League Two club. Stevenage have this listed as a first-team game on their website although they also have a game the night before at Maidenhead so there'll probably be quite a bit of squad rotation going on


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Thursday 25 July

Friendlies
Walthamstow v Clapton CFC @745pm - with all our local pro teams having the day off, the biggest match of the day is likely to be this one between sides who are set to groundshare for the first time this season. The hosts play two levels above the visitors but as regular readers know, Clapton CFC are supported by a small army of fans who could well turn out in decent numbers for this one
Welling Town v Sporting Club Thamesmead @745pm - in south-east London there's also a groundshare derby between two SCEFL sides. The Boots won promotion from the First Division last season and will start as favourites against SCT
Erith & Belvedere v VCD Athletic @745pm - a little to the south of Thamesmead, you come to Welling where E&B play their home games - they too have a derby against Isthmian League opposition

A bit further afield
Dorking Wanderers v Charlton Athletic XI @745pm - the Addicks will be sending another development squad into deepest Surrey on Thursday night when they take on the reigning Isthmian League champions 
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Friday 26 July

Friendlies
Dagenham & Redbridge v West Ham United U23 @730pm - if the Daggers were still an EFL team then I daresay West Ham would've sent a full strength side to Victoria Road for this one but like Barnet and Arsenal above, the relationship between these two local clubs has changed over recent years. That's not to say relations aren't good as the Hammers did send a strong team for a mid-season friendly in 2018 when Dagenham were really struggling financially and it pretty much kept them alive. Adult tickets start at £10
Welling United v Millwall XI @7pm - there's also a derby at Park View Road where the Wings, who play in the NLS, look forward to a visit from the Lions' development team
Sutton Common Rovers v Sutton United @745pm - if neither of the above appeals how about trying out the Sutton derby? A whopping four divisions separate the teams and Friday night's 'hosts'  are actually the tenants. United also have a game against Chelsea U23 the following day which will almost certainly be their priority

A bit further afield
Gillingham v Southend United @7pm - the match at Reading on Wednesday breaks most of the conventions around friendlies but it didn't break the unwritten rule about playing a team from the same division, as this one does. Why two League One teams want to play each other on a Friday night just over a week before the start of the season is beyond me
Northampton Town v MK Dons @730pm - although MK Dons have only been around for 15 years, they've had time to develop a bit of a rivalry with the Cobblers who are geographically one of their closest rivals. The visitors won automatic promotion to League One on the final day of last season so should start as favourites. Adult tickets are £14
Maidenhead United v Wycombe Wanderers @745pm - National League side Maidenhead play local EFL club Wycombe in what can definitely be classed as a derby. For fans of football history, the Magpies' York Road home is recognised by FIFA as the oldest ground in continuous use by one club in the whole world - it hosted its first game in 1871. Adult tickets are £10
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Saturday 27 July

Friendlies
Fulham v West Ham United @3pm - after several weeks of waiting, pre-season really gets going on Saturday when numerous Premier League clubs take to the field around the capital. For me, the match of the day would appear to be this crosstown London derby at Craven Cottage. Adult tickets are £20
Queens Park Rangers v Watford @3pm - there's also a derby at Loftus Road where these two old rivals meet. QPR narrowly lost to the Hornets in the fifth round of FA Cup last season before the Hertfordshire side went on to make it to the final. Adult tickets are priced at a very reasonable £10
Charlton Athletic v Aston Villa @3pm - Championship new boys Charlton have landed a huge friendly against the biggest club in the Midlands. Villa made it back into the Premier League after coming through the play-offs in May. Adult tickets are £15
Brentford v AFC Bournemouth @3pm - alongside the matches at Fulham and QPR, you're spoilt for choice on the west side of town where the Bees also welcome Premier League opposition. This is set to be Brentford's final season at their much loved Griffin Park ground so if you haven't been then you need to get a move on. Adult tickets are available from £10
Millwall v Real Sociedad @2pm - the Lions usually manage to attract a European side to the Den in pre-season and they've done very well to get the club which finished ninth in Spain last season. Adult tickets are £15
Hampton & Richmond Borough v AFC Wimbledon @3pm - the Dons follow up their midweek trip to Met Police with another game against local non-league opposition. H&RB play in the NLS so should provide a slightly sterner test

Development squad games
It's late and there are too many to mention individually but there will be U23 sides from Arsenal, Brentford, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Norwich City and several other EFL sides playing at local clubs on Saturday - have a good look round the match map to find out where

A bit further afield
Bristol City v Crystal Palace @3pm - it's over 100 miles to Bristol but it's relatively quick and easy to get to and the whole city is well worth a visit if you've never been. The revamped Ashton Gate is also well worth seeing. Adult tickets are available from £10
Luton Town v Norwich City @3pm - matches between these two were commonplace in the top flight when I was growing up but its been 27 years since they were both playing at that level and on that occasion the Hatters won 2-0 at Kenilworth Road. Both sides won their respective divisions last season so should come into this campaign on a high. Adult tickets are £15

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Sunday 28 July

Emirates Cup
After a one-year hiatus, this popular pre-season tournament at the Emirates Stadium makes its return but the format has changed significantly this year with the event only lasting one day instead of the usual two. Not only that but the opening game will see Arsenal Women take part for the first time as they play their counterparts from Bayern Munich. The men's team will then complete proceedings with a match against French club Lyon. Sadly the introduction of the women's match and a game against the third best side in Ligue 1 has proved to be a bit of a turn off for many of the Arsenal fans I know. In previous years the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus, PSG, Inter and even Boca Juniors have showed up so you can perhaps see why they aren't that excited. Don't forget that the Gunners won the Super League last season and with women's football well and truly on the up in England, that could be the better game to watch. The first match gets underway at 1230pm and adult tickets cost between £25-£45

A bit further afield
Reading v Chelsea @3pm - if an afternoon in north London's not for you, then how about a short trip beyond the western fringes of town? With fast and frequent trains from Paddington, Reading is an easy 30-minute ride from central London. The ground is way out of the town centre but there are usually shuttle buses on big match days and I have walked it before. Adult tickets to watch the Europa League winners in action at the Madejski are £12 if bought in advance or £15 on matchday



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, 14 July 2019

TLFG: 15-21 July 2019

Welcome one and all to our guide to week three of pre-season.

How's it been for you so far?

The next few days look like being the busiest yet as more teams get into action and Premier League sides start to return from overseas training camps.

Once again I've included a few notable games from beyond the M25 as I seek to showcase the best of what's on offer at this early point of the football year and there are some quirky match-ups, the kind of which keep this time of year so interesting as far as I'm concerned.

A new football festival comes to London in August

Aside from the live action, let me mark your card with news of the 'Jumpers For Goalposts' festival of football culture which is happening here in London on 3-4 August.

There will be speakers, screenings, memorabilia, retro video games and pretty much everything your heart might desire.

It's taking place at Printworks London in Surrey Quays, a stone's throw from Millwall who will be hosting Preston North End on the Saturday in their opening game of the new season - day tickets to the festival are £20 but you can get 15% off if you include discount code 'LFG15' when booking. Many thanks to German TLFG reader Christoph B for tipping me off about this.

Lastly this week, thanks to Simon K who joined the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include some decent friendlies featuring several Premier League and EFL clubs, a foreign international side and also plenty of games featuring non-league sides too - there are over 100 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from.

Getting details on all games taking place this week has been a challenge, especially the lower down you go. Several clubs have published nothing at all, incorrect information and/or have not responded to requests for clarification - so there could be one or two matches I've missed. 

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 - magenta 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 15 July

Friendly
Carshalton Athletic v Cray Valley PM @745pm - the Robins made a spectacular return to the seventh tier last season, finishing as runners-up in the Bostik Premier. On Monday they entertain CVPM who celebrated their centenary year by winning the Southern Counties East League and getting to the FA Vase final - it will be interesting to see how they fare at the higher level

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Tuesday 16 July

Friendlies
Barnet v Crystal Palace @745pm - our first chance of the summer to see a bit of Premier League talent should come at The Hive as National League Barnet take on the Eagles. Just back from their training camp in Switzerland, this match is listed as a first-team game for Roy Hodgson's side so you should expect to see at least a few familiar faces. Adult tickets are still available for a very reasonable £10
Boreham Wood v Queens Park Rangers @730pm - just a bit further to the north another National League side play host to Championship club QPR. New boss Mark Warburton saw his side beaten 3-1 by Austria Vienna on Friday night and will hope for a good response here. Adult tickets are £15
Dartford v Gillingham @745pm - the Darts have also landed a juicy friendly against their local League One side. A short train journey should deliver a few away fans for this derby - adult tickets are £10
Wealdstone v Colchester United @730pm - almost four years ago the Stones made it to the first round of the FA Cup where they hosted the then League One U's. The pro club's abilities shone through and they eventually won 6-2. The hosts will welcome them once again on Tuesday with the gap between them now a tad reduced following Colchester's relegation to League Two. This will also be new boss Dean Brennan's first home game since taking charge of Wealdstone. Adult tickets are £8

A bit further afield
Stevenage v Peterborough United @745pm - League Two plays League One in this all EFL affair at the Lamex Stadium. A short trip on the train from Kings Cross is all that's required to get to this one
Ebbsfleet United v Charlton Athletic @730pm - after seeing off local National League South side Welling United on Saturday, the Addicks travel a bit further east and up a division in class for this match against Ebbsfleet. A very healthy crowd of 2,052 enjoyed the match at Park View Road so I would hope for another decent attendance here
Maidenhead United v Kuwait @745pm - one of the most unusual games of the summer takes place at York Road on Tuesday as the Magpies welcome the national team of Kuwait who are here on tour. Having already beaten Marlow and Hungerford Town, the team ranked 156th in the world should face a tougher test at Maidenhead's historic ground. If you can't make it on Tuesday, they're also playing QPR's U23 side at the club's Harlington training ground on Saturday
Woking v Wycombe Wanderers @745pm - sides from satellite towns on the periphery of London meet at the Laithwaite Community Stadium on Tuesday. Two divisions separate the clubs but with the Cards drawing with Oxford United on Saturday, it should be close again
Basingstoke Town v Luton Town @745pm - the Hatters continue their preparations for life back in the Championship with a trip to eighth tier Basingstoke. The Hampshire club suffered relegation last season and haven't played at this level for many years
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Wednesday 17 July

Friendlies
Dagenham & Redbridge v Charlton Athletic @730pm - the matches come thick and fast for the Addicks this week but at least they're not having to travel far as they head across the river to Essex. The Daggers suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Chelmsford City on Saturday and will need to be at their best to get anything out of this game. Adult tickets are available from £10
Hornchurch v Leyton Orient @745pm - the District Line looks like being busy on Wednesday night as a little to the east of Dagenham we have another derby. The Urchins begin the season without the AFC which used to precede their name as they return to the one they began using in 1961. This will be the O's first game since drawing 2-2 with Hull City in Spain just over a week ago
Tooting & Mitcham United v Reading XI @745pm - the Terrors responded well to relegation to the eighth tier but didn't quite have enough to make the Bostik League South Central play-offs and they'll hope to go that little bit further this year. On Wednesday they welcome a development squad from Reading for what they hope will be a good workout

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Thursday 18 July

Friendly
Glebe v Welling United @745pm - there are a handful of games on Thursday with this one topping the bill. Both hailing from south-east London, this derby should draw a reasonable enough crowd with the visitors, who play three levels above their hosts, starting as strong favourites
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Friday 19 July

A bit further afield
Crawley Town v Brighton & Hove Albion @745pm - there's nothing in London of any note on Friday so I recommend heading south for this Sussex derby near Gatwick Airport where you should also get to see some Premier League players put through their paces. Adult tickets are £10
Colchester United v Ipswich Town @730pm - there's also a derby at the JobServe Community Stadium where Paul Lambert takes his recently relegated Ipswich side back to one of his former clubs. Adult tickets are £15
Welwyn Garden City v MK Dons @745pm - after recently hosting Luton Town, WGC next welcome Paul Tisdale's League One side for another prestigious friendly. Adult tickets are £5
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Saturday 20 July

Friendlies
Bromley v Crystal Palace @3pm - the pick of the day's games is this south-east London derby between the National League Lilywhites and Roy Hodgson's top flight side. This match is listed a first-team game on the Eagles' website so it could be worth buying tickets in advance
Barnet v Peterborough United @3pm - with a number of our bigger local clubs playing away on Saturday, the Bees find themselves high up the bill for the second Saturday running as they host League One side Peterborough. Adult tickets are £10
Dagenham & Redbridge v Southend United @3pm - there's a decent looking Essex derby at Victoria Road on Saturday which should draw in a few fans. The Shrimpers play two divisions above the hosts so will start as favourites. Adult tickets are available from £10
Dartford v Leyton Orient @3pm - the Darts enjoy another visit from EFL opposition when E10's finest head down to Princes Park. Adult tickets are £10
Dulwich Hamlet v Tottenham Hotspur U23 @3pm - the Hamlet have spent a very enjoyable few days in the north west, enjoying back-to-back victories over Chester and Marine. They next welcome Bromley for a derby in midweek before pitting themselves against some of the best young players in the country at Champion Hill. Adult tickets are £12
Wealdstone v Watford U23 @3pm - there will also be a representative side from another Premier League club at Grosvenor Vale on Saturday afternoon where adult tickets are £8

Doubleheaders
If you want to see two matches in an afternoon then there are doubleheaders taking place at Aveley and Bedfont Sports on almost exactly opposite sides of London. At Parkside, Aveley play Waltham Abbey at 1pm before tenants Grays Athletic entertain Enfield Town at 330pm. At the Recreation Ground, near Heathrow, FC Deportivo Galicia take on Broadfields United at 12pm before Bedfont Sports meet Beaconsfield Town at 3pm. As far as I'm aware, all matches are separate and you'll probably have to pay twice if you want to watch both but please check the details with the clubs before you set off

A bit further afield
Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - on paper the game of the day is almost certainly this one with Championship title favourites Fulham taking on Premier League opposition. For some reason this is being played at Aldershot Town's ground. Adult tickets are £10 and can be bought on arrival
Gillingham v Charlton Athletic @3pm - there's another match for the Addicks on Saturday but this should be the toughest of the lot as they make a short journey into Kent to play League One opposition. Adult tickets are £15
Oxford United v Queens Park Rangers @3pm - mention of the U's brings back very bad memories for any QPR fans born before 1980 and able to remember the Milk Cup Final defeat of 1986. Having beaten some of the best clubs in the country, including Chelsea and the then almost invincible Liverpool, en route to the final - cup glory seemed a formality for Jim Smith's side. However, it wasn't to be as his players froze and Oxford ran out very comfortable 3-0 winners. Competitive games between the two have been thin on the ground as both clubs have moved up and down the divisions and it's just over 20 years since QPR beat Oxford 1-0 at Loftus Road in a league game. Only a division separate these sides now and there could easily be an upset again. Adult tickets are £12
Wycombe Wanderers v Brentford @3pm - all three west London Championship clubs will be heading out of town on Saturday with the Bees also heading up the M40 to face League One opposition. Adult tickets are £12
Stevenage v Portsmouth @3pm - the host's busy programme of pre-season games continues with this challenging fixture against Pompey who made the League One play-offs last term. Adult tickets are £12
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Sunday 21 July

A bit further afield
Gillingham v Millwall @1pm - there's only one match on in the south-east that I'm aware of but it's a good one as these two old rivals do battle at the Priestfield. If you want to go, fast trains taking around 45 minutes leave from St Pancras and Victoria and it's a pretty easy walk from the station. If you are visiting London and looking for a fun family afternoon out then I would perhaps caution against this one as there has been trouble between fans in recent years. Adult tickets are £15



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, 8 July 2019

TLFG: 8-14 July 2019

Greetings to TLFG and our guide to week two of pre-season.

Sourcing all the fixture information has been tough with several sides not publishing the details so there's been a bit of chasing, hence the delay in publication.

Consequently I might have missed a few games so apologies for any errors or inaccuracies.

After seeing Arsenal spoil us by putting out an XI at Boreham Wood last week, there are no Premier League sides in action this week but there are plenty of EFL sides instead.

I'm going to have to keep this intro brief this week as I'm really short of time but all the important stuff is below.

Thanks to Stewart and all TLFG readers who have/would like to donate to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include some decent friendlies featuring several EFL clubs and also plenty of games featuring non-league sides too - there are over 90 matches in total which is great for so early in pre-season.

Getting details on all games taking place this week has been a challenge, especially the lower down you go. Several clubs have published nothing at all, incorrect information and have not responded to requests for clarification - so there could be one or two matches I've missed. 

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 - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue 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 8 July

Friendly
Walton & Hersham v Knaphill @745pm - there's a not a lot on on Monday but this finds itself at the top of the bill because it's being played at a proper ground. For some reason this has been moved to Bedfont Sports, near Heathrow, which is rapidly becoming the hardest working stadium in the south east with matches almost everyday thanks to its 4G pitch

-------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday 9 July

Friendlies
AFC Wimbledon v Bristol City @745pm - after entertaining Brentford on Friday night, the Dons welcome some more Championship opposition to Kingsmeadow. Adult tickets start at £10
Dulwich Hamlet v Colchester United @745pm - the Hamlet entertain League Two opposition from Essex as they prepare for their second season in the National League South (NLS). Adult tickets are £12
Wingate & Finchley v Stevenage @745pm - Isthmian League side W&F are another team to enjoy a visit from an EFL side on Tuesday. Adult tickets are usually £12 at Summers Lane
Bromley v Welling United @745pm - there's a south-east London derby to be enjoyed at Hayes Lane where the hosts should start as favourites
Dartford v Ebbsfleet United @745pm - it's a similar story at Princes Park but on paper the visitors should be stronger

A bit further afield
Billericay Town v Southend United @745pm - NLS side Billericay do battle with their local EFL club in an all-Essex affair
Oxford City v Oxford United @745pm - the Oxford derby, need I say more?
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Wednesday 10 July

A bit further afield
Hitchin Town v Stevenage @745pm - with all our local teams playing friendlies on random 3G pitches with little in the way of spectator facilities, your best option would appear to be this Hertfordshire derby. Adult tickets are £9 if bought in advance online

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Thursday 11 July

Friendly
Beckenham Town v Dulwich Hamlet @745pm - there are a handful of games on Thursday with this one topping the bill. Both hail from south-east London and I'm told the ambitious Becks have one of the best pitches in the capital
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friday 12 July

Friendlies
Fisher v Millwall XI @745pm - the Fish host the Lions in a local derby. I believe the Millwall community team run and maintain Salter Road so the links between the clubs are strong. Adult tickets at Fisher are normally £8
Enfield Town v FC United of Manchester @745pm - two fan owned clubs meet for this friendly in north London. The visitors are on a whirlwind tour of the south and will also play at Lewes on Saturday

A bit further afield
Braintree Town v West Ham United U23 @745pm - the Hammers send an academy side into deepest Essex to take on the similarly nicknamed 'Iron' on Friday night. Adult tickets are £10
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday 13 July

Friendlies
Barnet v Wycombe Wanderers @3pm - there's a paucity of really eye-catching games this weekend with this one between two old rivals just about coming out on top. The Bees, aside from a good FA Cup run, had a disappointing season in the National League last season and will hope to impress against a side who narrowly avoided relegation from League One. Adult tickets are £10
Welling United v Charlton Athletic @3pm - the Wings welcome their local rivals for this annual pre-season game at Park View Road as the Addicks prepare for life back in the Championship. Adult tickets at Welling are usually £12

A bit further afield
Crawley Town v Swansea City @3pm - there's an all EFL affair not far from Gatwick Airport so if you're reading this somewhere overseas you can easily jet in for this one! To top it all, it's Crawley's Fun Day and all tickets to the match are just £1 - bargain!!!
Havant & Waterlooville v Portsmouth @3pm - it's a big day for H&W as they get to play host to neighbouring League One side Pompey. Adult tickets are £10 and available on the gate
Woking v Oxford United @3pm - the Cards won promotion back to the National League via a nervy play-off final. They play their first home game of pre-season against League One side Oxford. Presumably a 'lively' atmosphere is expected as segregation between rival fans is to be enforced. Adult tickets are £10
St Albans City v Stevenage @3pm - the visitors continue their tour of local clubs with another short trip to NLS side St Albans. Clarence Park is one of my favourite non-league grounds so I'd always recommend a visit
Folkestone Invicta v Gillingham @3pm - if the weather's good, a trip to the seaside for this Kent derby could be well worth doing
Bedford Town v Luton Town @3pm - after a good workout at Welwyn Garden City on Saturday, the Hatters travel to another nearby non-league club as they prepare for their return to the Championship
Ebbsfleet United v Tottenham Hotspur U23 @3pm - Spurs send an academy side to Kent for what will hopefully be an entertaining fixture
Ramsgate v Crystal Palace U23 @3pm - if you don't fancy getting off at Ebbsfleet, stay on the train and head for the coast to watch the Eagles' youngsters in action
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday 14 July

GTR Railway Friendly Flexi League
South Western Railway v Brighton Train Crews @2pm - as there's nothing else on, why not give some railway football a go? Two teams of drivers, guards and various others go head-to-head in this league match which comes just beyond the midpoint of the Flexi League season. The main reason to recommend this to groundhoppers is that it's being played at Fisher's ground in Rotherhithe and the hosts will have some rather fine enamel pin badges for sale



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, 30 June 2019

TLFG: 1-7 July 2019

Greetings one and all and welcome to the first edition of TLFG of the 2019/20 season - our ninth year of covering all the goings on in London.

I hope you've had a good few weeks since I last wrote - not least enjoying the Women's World Cup and the plethora of other men's tournaments taking place in the so-called 'close' season.

A trip to France to catch a game had been very much on my to-do list but the timings weren't great with my daughter's school schedule and a few other things cropped up in the meantime too.

The Lionesses have a friendly against Germany at Wembley on 9 November which I've got tickets for instead. Two tickets for my daughter and I came in at just £11 which shows what great value the women's game is at top level. If they go on to win the World Cup, they could become some of the hottest tickets in town.

Tickets are available now


Talking of Wembley events, the national stadium will be hosting a load of games in next summer's men's Euro 2020 tournament and the ticket ballot is open from now until 12 July. Tickets range in price from 50-945 euros!!!

Before I forget, since I last wrote Chelsea beat Arsenal to win the Europa League in Baku whilst Tottenham Hotspur finished runners-up to Liverpool in the Champions League final as English clubs dominated - hats off to them all.

The saddest news of the last few weeks was that of the untimely death of Leyton Orient manager Justin Edinburgh at the age of just 49. The former Tottenham player suffered a cardiac arrest on 3 June just weeks after guiding the O's to the National League title and taking them to Wembley for the FA Trophy Final.

The east London club begin their pre-season without him with a match at Harlow Town on Saturday on what is a pretty decent first Saturday with one Premier League club and several EFL ones all in action.

The ticket ballot is open until 12 July

On a personal note, a couple of weeks ago I finally managed to meet up with my Dad for the first time since he got diagnosed with cancer (his treatment has made him too radioactive or susceptible to infection from visitors) and introduce him to his new granddaughter. He was in great form and I couldn't really notice any difference which was incredibly encouraging - he's on immunotherapy now which seems to have some potentially nasty side effects but fingers crossed he will continue to make progress. 

Thanks again to all TLFG readers who have/would like to donate to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include some decent friendlies featuring one Premier League team and several from the EFL, there are also plenty of games featuring non-league sides too - there almost 50 matches in total which is great for so early in pre-season.

Getting details on all games taking place this week has been a challenge, especially the lower down you go. Several clubs have published nothing at all, incorrect information and have not responded to requests for clarification - so there could be one or two matches I've missed. 

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
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 2 July

Friendly
Aveley v Chelmsford City @745pm - our pre-season matches get underway for another year with this all-Essex affair at the well appointed Parkside ground. The hosts had a great season in the eighth tier Bostik North, finishing runners-up but sadly the play-offs were to prove their undoing. It was a similar tale for Chelmsford who seem to make the National League South (NLS) play-offs with great regularity before always falling short. With City playing two levels above Aveley, they should start as favourites

-------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday 4 July

Friendly
Bedfont Sports v Brentford B @7pm - also in the eighth tier, Sports have done really well to land this friendly against the second string of their local Championship club. The hosts managed a midtable finish in the Bostik South Central last season whilst Brentford B made it to the finals of the Middlesex and London Senior Cup Finals, winning the former against Harrow Borough at Griffin Park
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Friday 5 July

Friendly
AFC Wimbledon v Brentford @745pm - the first really juicy friendly of this summer's warm-up programme takes place on Friday when the Dons, of League One, welcome Championship side Brentford for this derby. Manager Wally Downes pulled off a minor miracle by keeping Wimbledon in the third tier last season and will hope for a much more comfortable campaign this time round. The Bees enjoyed another top-half finish as they impressively punched well above their weight again. Adult tickets start at £10

A bit further afield
Bowers & Pitsea v Colchester United @730pm - the hosts won the Bostik North last season and welcome League Two club Colchester to their Basildon home for this decent looking game. Adult tickets are £5
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Saturday 6 July

Friendlies
Boreham Wood v Arsenal XI @3pm - National League club Boreham Wood always seem to put together a great selection of pre-season games and this year is no different. It opens on Saturday with their now annual fixture against the Gunners with whom they have very strong ties. Arsenal often bring the strongest side available with some big names playing in these games in recent years. However, with it still be very early  and with several players involved in the Africa Cup of Nations and Copa America, it's not going to be a full-strength team. Adult tickets are £16
Bromley v Fulham XI @3pm - the Lilywhites enjoyed a solid 11th-place finish in the fifth tier last season and will hope to improve on that this season. Fulham, however, suffered the ignominy of relegation from the Premier League but are still currently joint favourites for the Championship title alongside Leeds. This isn't listed as a first team friendly on the Cottagers' website so don't expect much more than a development side. Adult tickets are £10
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Harrow Borough @12pm - the battle of the Boros takes place at Bedfont Sports' ground near Heathrow Airport (great for plane spotters). Hampton had a tough season last year but kept their heads above water and will contest another season in the NLS. Harrow surprised many by finishing seventh in the Southern League Premier South last season, scoring and conceding loads of goals in the process. You can do an easy double with this one as FC Deportivo Galicia entertain Wraysbury in another match on the same pitch at 3pm
Haringey Borough v St Albans City @3pm - Haringey made a fantastic debut in the seventh tier last season and led the Bostik League for many weeks. Ultimately they finished third and lost in the play-offs but their performance surpassed most people's expectations. On Saturday they welcome Hertfordshire club St Albans who missed out on the NLS play-offs and should provide a good test for Tom Loizou's side
Clapton CFC v Wanderers FC @2pm - there are plenty of other non-league friendlies on Saturday but this one catches the eye even though it features sides who play well down the pyramid. Clapton CFC begin the season in the 11th tier Middlesex County League Premier Division after winning promotion last season. Despite playing at such a low level, they attracted over 1,000 fans to their title-winning final match against FC Roast and will no doubt manage at least a couple of hundred for this one. Wanderers FC play at an even lower level but are a reincarnation of the historic club which were originally founded in the 19th century and won the first ever FA Cup in 1872

A bit further afield
Concord Rangers v Millwall @1pm - the Lions begin their pre-season campaign with a trip to Canvey Island to play Concord who narrowly missed out on a play-off place in the NLS last season. Adult tickets are £10 and will be available on the gate
Faversham Town v Gillingham @2pm - the Lilywhites entertain their local League One side in a slightly earlier kick-off. Faversham struggled last season and could well struggle again here. Adult tickets are £10 and available on the gate
Harlow Town v Leyton Orient @3pm - the Hawks came bottom of the Bostik Premier last season to lose their place in the seventh tier. It was a totally different story for the O's who won the National League and finished as runners-up in the FA Trophy. All that joy has been tempered in the last few weeks by the sad news of manager Justin Edinburgh's untimely death at the age of 49 and this will be their first match without him. Adult tickets are £10
Welwyn Garden City v Luton Town @3pm - the Hatters suffered relegation from the Championship in 2007 and fell all the way down into the realms of non-league where they spent several seasons. After reorganising, they've won three promotions and now finally find themselves back in the second tier after 12 painful years away. They begin their pre-season with what should be a gentle workout at local eighth-tier club WGC. Adult tickets are £10 and available on the gate

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Sunday 7 July

A bit further afield
Billericay Town v All Star XI @3pm - the only game I'm aware of in the south-east of any note is this friendly at Essex club Billericay. They missed out on the NLS play-offs last season and will hope for at least a place in the post season this time round. On Sunday they welcome an All Star XI whose side are set to feature the likes of former professionals Joe Cole, James Collins, Glenn Johnson, Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Paul Konchesky among others. Adult tickets are £10


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, 20 May 2019

TLFG: 20-27 May 2019

Greetings one and all and welcome to the final edition of TLFG for the 2018/19 season.

I had intended to finish it off with a trip to Wembley for Non-League Finals Day but my wife got admitted to hospital on Thursday, came out on Saturday afternoon and I've been looking after her and the kids since.

The day itself sounded pretty great as always with over 42,000 enjoying Chertsey Town's win over Cray Valley PM in the FA Vase and Leyton Orient narrowly losing 1-0 to AFC Fylde as they missed out on the non-league double.

All in all, it's been quite a year for London football with many of our local clubs achieving great things.

I thought, for a change, I'd try and list all those honours so here goes.

Leagues
Premier League: Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal - third, fourth and fifth
FA Women's Super League: Arsenal - champions
FA Women's Championship: Tottenham Hotspur - runners-up
League One: Charlton Athletic - play-off finalists (final on 26 May)
National League: Leyton Orient - champions
National League South: Welling United - play-off finalists
Evo-Stik League South Premier Division: Metropolitan Police - play-off winners
Bostik League South Central: Hayes & Yeading United - champions
Bostik League South East: Cray Wanderers - champions
Combined Counties League Premier Division: Chertsey Town - champions
Southern Counties East League: Cray Valley PM - champions
Southern Counties East League Division 1: Welling Town - champions, Erith & Belvedere - runners-up
Thurlow Nunn League Division 1 South: Hashtag United - champions
Spartan South Midlands League Division 1: Harefield United - champions, Broadfields United - runners-up


Cups
Champions League: Tottenham Hotspur - finalists (final on 1 June)
Europa League: Arsenal and Chelsea - finalists (final on 29 May)
FA Cup: Watford - runners-up
Women's FA Cup: West Ham United - runners-up
FA Community Shield: Chelsea - runners-up
FA TrophyLeyton Orient - runners-up
FA VaseChertsey Town - winners, Cray Valley PM - runners-up
Bostik League Cup: Enfield Town - winners, AFC Hornchurch - runners-up
Combined Counties League Cup: Sutton Common Rovers - winners, CB Hounslow United - runners-up
Essex Senior League Cup: West Essex - runners-up
Spartan South Midlands League Division 1 Cup: London Lions - runners-up
London Senior Cup: Welling United - winners, Brentford B - runners-up
London Senior Trophy: Erith & Belvedere - winners, Bridon Ropes - runners-up
Middlesex Senior Cup: Brentford B - winners, Harrow Borough  - runners-up
Middlesex Charity Cup: Uxbridge - winners, Ashford Town - runners-up
Middlesex Premier Cup: Harefield United - winners
Hertfordshire Senior Cup: Boreham Wood - winners
Hertfordshire Senior Centenary Trophy: London Lions - winners
Kent Senior Cup: Bromley - runners-up
Kent Senior Trophy: Beckenham Town - runners-up
Hospitals Charity Cup: Erith & Belvedere - winners, Sutton Athletic - runners-up
Surrey Senior Cup: Metropolitan Police - winners, Tooting & Mitcham United - runners-up
Southern Combination Cup Final: Walton Casuals - winners, Sutton Common Rovers - runners-up

I think I'm right in saying that in total, TLFG clubs won an impressive 23 titles between them this season and Tottenham could make that 24 if they beat Liverpool in the Champions League Final on 1 June.

On a personal note, my top five highlights of the season were:

1. Winning an unsung hero award from QPR and getting to walk out onto the pitch at half-time during the Bolton game with my eldest daughter to receive it
2. Putting on the ninth Non-League Day and raising over £150,000 for Prostate Cancer UK
3. Watching Harrow Borough take on Brentford B in the Middlesex Senior Cup Final at Griffin Park
4. Attending the grand opening of Tottenham's new stadium and their match against Crystal Palace
5. QPR finally breaking their hoodoo and winning away at Nottingham Forest

What were yours? I'd be interested to know.


Get your tickets now - 20% off with discount code 'tlfg''

As mentioned previously, this week sees the return of the excellent London Festival of Football Writing.

It takes place between 21-25 May and features some great speakers and events - what's more you can get 20% off your ticket or festival pass price by quoting the discount code 'tlfg' when booking online.

Looking ahead to the Champions League Final next month - Tottenham have announced they will be screening the game live at their new stadium. Tickets will be £10 adults and £5 juniors but you'll probably need to be a friend of a season-ticket holder or member to be able to get one - full details.

Also next month, this year's Soccer Aid match is being played at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 16 June. With funds raised going to UNICEF, a stellar cast of celebrities and ex-pros will do battle. For the first time the teams will be mixed and include a number of top female players like Katie Chapman and Rachel Yankey. The likes of Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, Roberto Carlos, Didier Drogba and Eric Cantona are all set to take part so it should be a fun evening.

Looking well ahead into the summer - several clubs have announced pre-season games with the following on general sale now:

28 July: Arsenal v Lyon - tickets
3 August: Crystal Palace v Hertha Berlin - tickets
West Ham United v Athletic Bilbao - tickets (on sale 17 June)
4 August: Tottenham Hotspur v Inter Milan - tickets

Lastly this week, many thanks to John B and all those who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words.

To recap, I recently received the news that my Dad has lung cancer. This condition also claimed the lives of my Mum and grandfather so with me powerless to do anything medically to help him, I've decided to ask for all donations to this blog to go to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation which you can contribute to through the fundraising page I've set up. 

As always - enjoy your football and see you in a few weeks time. I aim to be back on 30 June when pre-season starts to get underway.


THE WEEK AHEAD
The next few days are set to be very quiet indeed with only four matches taking place - half of which will be very hard to get tickets for. If you know of any other fixtures I may have missed, please let me know.

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.

MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin
Monday fixtures - yellow 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.

Saturday 25 May

League Two Play-Off Final
Newport County v Tranmere Rovers @3pm - the EFL play-off weekend gets underway at Wembley on Saturday with this clash between sides from Wales and England. Newport made headlines this season for their fine run in the FA Cup which saw them beat Leicester City and Middlesbrough before finally succumbing 4-1 to eventual winners Manchester City (no shame in that). In the league they finished seventh, just pipping Colchester United to the last play-off spot. Tranmere finished just above them in sixth so they've both done well to get this far. Rovers only returned to the EFL last season after winning the National League play-offs so quite a few of the squad should be used to the pressure associated with an occasion like this. The two league games between them this season were very tight with one ending 0-0 and the other producing a 1-0 away win for Newport so this could go all the way to penalties. Of the three play-off games taking place this weekend, this is the only one you'll have a good chance of getting tickets for. If you want one, they're available from each of the clubs' websites - see the match map for links

Friendly
Cascadia v Chagos Islands @3pm - apart from the play-offs, the only other match I'm aware of this week takes place at Bostik League club Whyteleafe's ground. This friendly between two CONIFA members sees the sides play each other for the first time. Cascadia represent an area of North America around Seattle and did well to finish sixth at last year's World Football Cup here in London. Chagos Islands didn't qualify for that tournament but ended up filling in for Ellan Vannin who dropped out in protest after the group stages. Their last match came against the recently formed Surrey international side at the end of April which they won 3-2. Tickets for this match are available in advance or on the gate for £8
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Sunday 26 May

League One Play-Off Final
Charlton Athletic v Sunderland @3pm - two former Premier League clubs meet at Wembley on Sunday for the chance to get back into the second tier. After winning the away leg of their play-off semi-final against Doncaster, the Addicks made heavy weather of the second leg and just scraped through on penalties. In the other semi-final, Sunderland won an attritional contest aganst Portsmouth with a solitary goal in the first leg being enough. Charlton came into the play-offs as one of the form teams of the division, no mean feat considering all the disharmony and unrest off the field. Sunderland, a far bigger club, were winless in their final four games and were far from convincing against Pompey. Despite this, the bookies can't choose between them so again it should be close. Given the size of both clubs, getting tickets without membership or a previous booking history is likely to be tough but keep checking the clubs' websites for the latest availability

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Monday 27 May

Championship Play-Off Final

Aston Villa v Derby County @3pm - the 'richest game in world football' is back and this year it will be contested by two big rivals from the Midlands. Again these clubs are far more famous for being top flight sides who have an impressive nine league titles between them. Like Newport and Tranmere above, these two grabbed the last two play-off places so can feel a little fortunate to be only 90 minutes from the £200m+ windfall that goes with promotion to the Premier League. For many, this is all about John Terry and Frank Lampard as the old Chelsea team-mates find themselves in opposite dugouts as assistant head coach and manager respectively. If results from earlier in the season are anything to go by then put your money on Villa who scored seven goals without reply over the two league games between the sides. Tickets will be really hard to get without membership but keep checking the clubs' websites for availability


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