Sunday 30 October 2011

TLFG: 31 October - 6 November 2011

As I write this I'm recovering from doing a sponsored walk from QPR's Loftus Road ground to White Hart Lane, the home of Tottenham Hotspur. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I was raising funds for the QPR Tiger Cubs - a football team for children with Down's syndrome. To find out more about the team and perhaps donate, click here. It took six hours and involved a lot of hills but the views from places like Hampstead Heath, Highgate and Alexandra Palace were excellent. For one reason or another I couldn't actually stay for the game which Spurs went on to comfortably win 3-1 so as a Rangers fan I don't think I missed much.

Yesterday, however, I did see a match. After coming close to going to an FA Cup tie, I actually ended up heading down towards Heathrow Airport to watch the top of the table clash in the Combined Counties League Division One between Bedfont Sports and Guernsey.

There are several quirky things about a visit to the Recreation Ground. Firstly it is located right next to Evostik League Southern team Bedfont Town - the pitches are almost touching. Although they were away from home, Town also groundshare with Feltham who were in action against Warlingham. As a result there were two Combined Counties League Division One games going on side-by-side at the same time which can't happen too often elsewhere.

To top it all, both clubs lie only a little over 600 metres from the Heathrow runway so if you enjoy plane spotting  as well as football you'll be in seventh heaven with a flight coming in every couple of minutes!

The action on the pitch was pretty reasonable too with four goals and two red cards (one per side) as the team from the Channel Islands ran out 3-1 winners to extend their lead at the top to a whopping 14 points.

Putting the last few days behind, the week ahead is unusual too in that there are matches every day including Friday. In fact there's a blockbusting 85 games taking place in the Greater London area so you're going to be totally spoilt for choice.

So without further ado, here are this week's match maps.

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures

View London midweek match map 31 October - 4 November 2011 in a larger map

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London weekend match map 5-6 November 2011 in a larger map

If you're not sure what game to go to this week, here are a few suggestions:


FULHAM v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (Sunday 6 November, 4pm)
I've put this match top this week primarily because it's a west versus north London derby. The visitors are on a fine run of form and are on the verge of getting back into the Champions League places. The Cottagers by comparison have had a pretty rocky start but a tidy 2-0 win at Wigan on Saturday should boost their confidence ahead of this one.

QPR v MANCHESTER CITY (Saturday 5 November, 530pm)
Having played Chelsea and Spurs in their two previous fixtures, it won't get any easier for Rangers when they welcome the Premier League's top side to Shepherd's Bush on Saturday. City have been scoring at will in recent weeks and will probably expect to net a few more in W12. However, Chelsea probably had similar ideas last week and look what happened to them.

ARSENAL v MARSEILLE (Tuesday 1 November, 745pm)
One of the biggest clubs in England take on arguably the biggest club in France for control of Group F in the Champions League. The Gunners will fancy their chances after winning the reciprocal fixture a couple of weeks ago.

WEST HAM UNITED v BRISTOL CITY (Tuesday 1 November, 745pm)
I've gone for this match primarily because it could mark the Hammers' ascent to the top of the Championship. If Southampton slip up against Peterborough, a win for Sam Allardyce's side over the struggling Robins will put them in pole position.

AFC WIMBLEDON v BARNET (Saturday 5 November, 3pm)
How things have changed for the Dons of late. Three weeks ago they were a win away from topping League Two, now they're twelfth some 11 points off the pace. Their opponents, another former non-league club, are doing even worse and start the game in the relegation zone having shipped 10 goals in their last three games. It is, however, a London derby so it should be worth a go.

STAINES TOWN v SUTTON UNITED (Saturday 5 November, 3pm)
Both sides come in to this in need of points but for different reasons. After being crowned Ryman League champions last season, Sutton have quickly adjusted to life in the Blue Square Bet South and are second, six points behind Woking. The Swans have found things much tougher but could move out of the bottom three if they triumph in this one. The distance between the two clubs isn't great either so there should be a decent crowd too.

ENFIELD 1893 v WITHAM TOWN (Saturday 5 November, 3pm)
This was a very simple one to recommend as it sees first play second in the Essex Senior League Premier Division. The hosts are the reigning champions and come in to this on the back of four straight wins as do Witham. Notably the visitors have put nine past Basildon and seven past Clapton during this run so there could be fireworks in this one.

BETHNAL GREEN UNITED v LONDON APSA (Saturday 5 November, 3pm)
The Mile End Stadium  is one of the most centrally located grounds in London and it plays host to this East End derby on Saturday. United were challenging for top spot in the Essex Senior League a few weeks back but have lost their way a bit recently and will be hoping to get back to winning ways.

Two things make this game stand out - it's the only one in the London area being played on Friday this week and it also gives you the chance to run the rule over Combined Counties League Premier Division leaders Guildford City. They won the title last season and look like retaining it.

STAINES LAMMAS v FELTHAM (Saturday 5 November, 3pm)
Finally this week I'm going for this match in the Combined Counties League First Division. Neither side have their own ground but the ones they do use are roughly located at each end of the Heathrow Airport runway so it is a derby. A win for the hosts could see them go third.

Please share any stories or photos from your visits this week either on here or our Facebook page. Also get in touch if I've made any mistakes or if you'd like any further information or advice about going to a match in London. You can contact TLFG through Twitter or email.

Sunday 23 October 2011

TLFG: 24-30 October 2011

A short break to sunny Lyme Regis meant I only managed the one game this week but what a game! My Sunday afternoon was spent at Loftus Road for the big West London derby between QPR and Chelsea.

The trials and tribulations that have affected the Shepherd's Bush club in recent years meant that these two clubs hadn't met in a top flight game in W12 since 1996 so to say the Rangers fans were up for this one was an understatement.

The atmosphere generated by both sets of supporters was superb and as most of you know an enthralling game ensued with QPR edging to a 1-0 victory. In my honest opinion, Chelsea were unlucky and gave a masterclass in how to play with nine men - they did everything but score. However, QPR fought hard and got the luck and result they needed.

The next seven days are again packed with some very entertaining looking games. As well as league football, the FA Cup reaches the fourth qualifying round stage with a number of clubs in the London area just 90 minutes away from a potential first round meeting against a League One or Two club.

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures

View London midweek match map 24-28 October 2011 in a larger map

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London weekend match map 29-30 October 2011 in a larger map

With 67 matches taking place in the capital over the next week, here are my recommendations:


CHELSEA v ARSENAL (Saturday 29 October, 1245pm)
London's two biggest clubs meeting at Stamford Bridge needs no real introduction - it's a huge game. With Chelsea smarting from defeat at QPR, they'll be looking to bounce back in the league as soon as possible but the improving Gunners will put up stiff resistance.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v QPR (Sunday 30 October, 4pm)
Two London derbies in a weekend - we're really being spoiled. Spurs must definitely start as favourites but Rangers will be buoyed by their win over Chelsea and will approach the game with renewed confidence.

CRYSTAL PALACE v SOUTHAMPTON (Tuesday 25 October, 745pm)
The Championship's third and first placed teams (at time of writing) go head-to-head in this Carling Cup fourth round tie. How seriously they'll both take it is unclear at this stage but they've both got to this stage so they must be pretty keen.

BRENTFORD v STEVENAGE (Tuesday 25 October, 745pm)
I haven't given the Bees a mention since launching this blog and I feel this League One fixture is worth a go. Although not within the M25, Stevenage lies only a little way outside it so this comes close to being a derby game. It is also possible that if results go Brentford's way, they could climb into the play-off places.

BARNET v SOUTHEND UNITED (Tuesday 25 October, 745pm)
In a similar way to the game above, this has derby potential too and that's the main reason for choosing it. The Underhill club are becoming perennial strugglers and this season appears to be no different (they start this game in the bottom two). The Shrimpers, however, have made a great start and could go top if they win.

DARTFORD v BROMLEY (Saturday 29 October, 3pm)
These two Kent clubs meet in a mouthwatering FA Cup fourth qualifying tie on Saturday. With a possible meeting against a League One or Two club awaiting the winners, there is plenty at stake. The hosts took the honours (winning 3-1) when the teams met at the end of August in the Blue Square Bet South. Dartford are eight points and eight places above the Ravens in the table so should be favourites.

REDBRIDGE v EBBSFLEET UNITED (Saturday 29 October, 3pm)
Another intriguing FA Cup tie for your consideration at Oakside. The home team have had a pretty average season so far in the Ryman League Division One North but have enjoyed a fine FA Cup run and will really fancy giving their Blue Square Bet Premier opponents a run for their money. Possible cupset.

SUTTON UNITED v LEATHERHEAD (Saturday 29 October, 3pm)
On paper, the in form Us should seal their place in the FA Cup first round. They beat Bognor 4-0 in the last round and are currently just three points off top spot in the Blue Square Bet South. By contrast the Tanners have had a very poor start in the league, having won just one out of 11 but they did record a handsome win at Billericay in the last round of the cup so can't be written off.

THURROCK v DARTFORD (Tuesday 25 October, 745pm)
I try to avoid recommending the same team twice in a week but this game can't escape a mention. Although the teams are a long way apart in the Blue Square Bet South, they are just a short distance apart on either side of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge over the Thames. With both sides needing the points to fight relegation and to push for promotion respectively, there will be plenty to play for at Ship Lane.

BEDFONT SPORTS v GUERNSEY (Saturday 29 October, 3pm)
This game is worth a mention because it pits the top two in the Combined Counties League Division One against each other. It's also worth seeing because it features Guernsey - the first team from the Channel Islands to enter the English football pyramid. They have begun their first season with 12 league wins out of 14 and have already opened an eight-point lead. Bedfont, however, have three games in hand and will hope to close the gap by winning this one.

Outside of the TLFG top 10 I'd also like to give a special mention to Hanworth Villa of the Combined Counties League who against all the odds have also made it to the FA Cup fourth qualifying round. They have been drawn away to Evo-Stik Southern League leaders AFC Totton so will start as massive underdogs - good luck to them.

As always, please share any stories you have about your visits to grounds over the last week or ones you plan to make. Also let me know if I've got anything wrong or missed anything off.

TLFG can be contacted on Twitter, Facebook or via email.

Sunday 16 October 2011

TLFG: 17-23 October 2011

It's been a very pleasing opening week for TLFG with several of you getting in touch with words of support and appreciation - thanks, it really means a lot.

On the football side of things, I got to take in two games over the last seven days. First up on Tuesday I headed to Summers Lane to watch Wingate & Finchley play out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Harrow Borough in the Ryman League. A penalty save by Nick Pope, on loan from Charlton, ensured the visitors came away with a point.

I've been to see a couple of games up in N12 this season and I really like the ground - the pitch is well known for being one of the best around, it has an old art deco stand which adds character and it's fairly high up on a hill with fine views over Alexandra Palace to the south east. I should also mention the excellent efforts of the lady in the tea bar who went out of her way to cobble together a cheese, pickle and onion roll for me because I didn't fancy a burger - much appreciated.

On Saturday I swapped the Ryman League for the Premier League and took a short stroll to Loftus Road for QPR v Blackburn. I've been supporting the Rs now for 28 years (first game was the 8-1 Milk Cup win over Crewe in 1983) and yesterday I had the honour of taking a friend's seven-year-old to his first ever game. The match itself was a pretty underwhelming 1-1 draw but the highlight for me, and hopefully him, was getting to go on the pitch before the game to be a part of a group of people presenting a cheque to the QPR Tiger Cubs - a football team for kids with Down's syndrome. About 18 months ago, myself and former BBC colleague Chris Charles decided to set up a sponsored walk for Rangers fans from Loftus Road to Crystal Palace before our game there. It went well so we did it again last season for the Watford match and in two weeks a few of us will be strolling to White Hart Lane ahead of the meeting with Tottenham.

Anyway, back to the week ahead. Another very busy few days are coming up and to try and make things a little clearer I've decided to produce two maps this week - one for midweek games and one for the weekend. Apart from the normal league action London's teams are normally engaged in, there's also a significant amount of cup football on offer too be it the FA Cup, FA Trophy, FA Vase or various league cups.

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures

View London midweek match map 17-21 October 2011 in a larger map

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London weekend match map 22-23 October 2011 in a larger map

With 73 matches taking place in the capital over the next seven days, here are my recommendations:


QPR v CHELSEA (Sunday 23 October, 4pm)
The stand-out fixture of the weekend has got to be this West London derby. Rangers fans have been waiting to host the Blues in a top-flight game since 2 January 1996 when their great rivals recorded a 2-1 win. Large police operations used to be necessary for these games as the tension between fans used to be enormous (I can remember witnessing at least one mass pitch invasion in the '80s). These days, however, the rivalry is probably far more one-sided with the younger generation of Chelsea fans now regarding Arsenal and Spurs as bigger concerns. Now finally back in the Premier League, QPR are still searching for their first home win but should be expected to go all out for one here.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v RUBIN KAZAN (Thursday 20 October, 805pm)
I've gone for this as it provides football addicts with something to do on Thursday night. It also offers you the chance to watch a team that have become an emerging power in Russian football over the last few years. The side from the Republic of Tatarstan's most familiar player is probably Obafemi Martins although the Nigerian striker seems to be struggling to get into their starting XI.

Having made a superb start to their League One campaign (they lost for the first time this season on Saturday against Stevenage), the Addicks will start this game at the top of the table. The Cumbrians have also impressed and sit just outside the play-off places meaning this could make for a decent contest.

AFC WIMBLEDON v CRAWLEY TOWN (Saturday 22 October, 3pm)
The Dons missed their chance to move into the top three by losing to Crewe on Saturday but will get another opportunity when former non-league rivals Crawley visit Kingsmeadow. The Red Devils took the Conference title last year ahead of their hosts and currently sit astride the summit of League Two. Expect a decent crowd and atmosphere.

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE v ALDERSHOT TOWN (Saturday 22 October, 3pm)
Towards the other end of the table we see these two go head-to-head. After the high of winning the League Two 2009/10 play-offs, the Daggers struggled in League One and came straight back down. This season hasn't started well either with four wins from 13 leaving them just three points above the relegation places. The visitors have been similarly poor and lie just above them in 19th. Looks like a 'six-pointer' to me.

STAINES TOWN v WOKING (Saturday 22 October, 3pm)
A distance of just eight miles separates these clubs and classifies this Conference South match very much as a derby. The Cards are one of the best supported sides in the division and are also currently the best team in it which means a tough afternoon looks likely for the struggling hosts.

HARROW BOROUGH v HENDON (Tuesday 18 October, 745pm)
On the subject of derbies, we have another one taking place at Earlsmead on Tuesday. These old rivals are only a little over two miles apart following the latter's move to groundshare with Wembley. This meeting takes place in the Ryman League Cup - form would suggest a win for the visiting Greens who have started the league season with seven wins out of 10, including a 3-2 win over the Boro back in August.

HANWORTH VILLA v SLOUGH TOWN (Tuesday 18 October, 745pm)
After drawing 2-2 with their more illustrious opponents on Saturday, Combined Counties League Premier Division club Hanworth find themselves 90 minutes away from a place in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round and therefore 180 minutes away from the First Round proper. Get yourself down to Rectory Meadow if you fancy seeing a possible upset.

HANWELL TOWN v HILLINGDON BOROUGH (Tuesday 18 October, 745pm)
For the second week running Hanwell find themselves involved in another A40 derby match - last week Uxbridge were their opponents, this time it's Hillingdon. At stake is a place in the third round of the Spartan South Midlands League Challenge Trophy.

CHESSINGTON & HOOK v COLLIERS WOOD (Tuesday 18 October, 745pm)
Lastly this week a south-west London derby for you. Neither side are doing particularly well in the Combined Counties League Premier Division so far but only goal difference and five and a bit miles separate them so it could be worth a watch.

If you've been to a match in the previous week or would like to recommend one this time, please tell all in the comments space below. If I've missed anything out or you want to get in touch you can reach TLFG on Twitter, Facebook or via email.

Sunday 9 October 2011

Welcome to TLFG

Hi there, thanks for taking the time to visit.

Let me tell you a little bit about what's going on here. The aim of this blog is simply to promote football here in England's great capital city.

I hope to list all the games taking place within the M25 motorway on a weekly basis and also give a few recommendations of matches that I think could be worth your while.

Whether you're a resident, a groundhopper or a tourist from out of town or overseas, I hope you'll find this blog helpful.

Each week I will attempt to build a match map showing what's on and where in the top 10 levels of the game (i.e. from the Premier League down to Step 6 of non-league football) so you can find your nearest fixture.

Already I've discovered that this is going to be a pretty big task with London playing host to a whopping 106 teams, meaning there should be something happening on most days.

Please click on the map below to see what's coming up this week and let me know if I've missed anything out.

Before you do have a look, here's a key to the different colour pins:

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London match map 10-16 October 2011 in a larger map

As mentioned above, here are a few recommendations for matches that might tickle your fancy in the days ahead:


ARSENAL v SUNDERLAND (Sunday 16 October, 130pm)
I've gone for this match because the Gunners are playing a team just below them in the table (15th v 16th) and hopefully a good contest should ensue. The fact that they have made a disappointing start to the season also means that at the time of writing, tickets for this were on general sale which has been almost unheard of for Premier League games at the Emirates in recent years.

WATFORD v CRYSTAL PALACE (Saturday 15 October, 3pm)
Although neither side have been pulling up trees in the Championship, I've gone for this quite simply because it's something of a derby. Admittedly they're not bitter rivals but the 22 miles between them should ensure a bit of needle.

AFC WIMBLEDON v CREWE ALEXANDRA (Saturday 15 October, 3pm)
The hosts have been on a fine run of late and a win in this match against their struggling opponents could see them go top of League Two. You could say you were there when this phoenix club rose to a new high.

HAMPTON & RICHMOND BORO v BOREHAM WOOD (Saturday 15 October, 3pm)
The Beavers have made a dreadful start to the season and currently prop up the Conference South having won only one of their first 11 league games. The visitors haven't done too much better and this has something of an early six-pointer about it.

SUTTON UNITED v BOGNOR REGIS TOWN (Saturday 15 October, 3pm)
I've gone for this partly for nostalgic reasons. This is an FA Cup third qualifying round tie which pits famous giantkillers Sutton (they beat then top flight Coventry City 2-1 in 1989) against a side who have made a great start to the season in the Ryman League Division 1 South. Although two divisions separate them, there could be another cupset on the cards.

CRAY WANDERERS v DARTFORD (Saturday 15 October, 3pm)
These two clubs lie less than 10 miles apart so there's an air of a Kent derby to this FA Cup tie. The Wands will start as underdogs against their promotion chasing Conference South opponents but they've made a fine start to their Ryman League Premier Division campaign too and are just two points off top spot.

WALTHAM FOREST v ILFORD (Saturday 15 October, 3pm)
These sides have had very differing fortunes on the pitch this season with the Stags third in the Ryman League Division 1 North and the Foxes lying bottom. Normally such a match wouldn't be of particular note but I've gone for it as the two clubs groundshare (Ilford are the landlords)  so it should have a bit of an edge to it.

DULWICH HAMLET v HYTHE TOWN (Tuesday 11 October, 745pm)
The hosts are riding high at the top of the Ryman League Division 1 South and have yet to lose a league game.  They could go five points clear if results go their way on Tuesday.

UXBRIDGE v HANWELL TOWN  (Tuesday 11 October, 745pm)
Get yourselves along to the Honeycroft for this Middlesex Charity Cup match if you're in West London and like the sound of this A40 derby.

WEMBLEY v SOUTH KILBURN (Tuesday 11 October, 745pm)
These clubs don't groundshare but their respective pitches are within touching distance on either side of the Vale Farm Sports Centre complex. On this occasion they'll be contesting a place in the next round of the EL Records Premier Challenge Cup.

Since publishing this on Sunday, we've heard from Fisher FC chairman Ben Westmancott  who wanted to let everyone know about his club's Community Day on Saturday 15 October when they host Deal Town at 3pm. To get extra fans in, people living in the SE1 and SE16 postcodes can get in for £3 (£2 concessions) with appropriate ID. Click here for full details. 

So that's my first attempt at putting together TLFG, hope you like it.