Sunday 15 July 2012

TLFG: 16-22 July 2012

It's been a fairly hectic week at TLFG towers - the new job has begun, Non-League Day (NLD) preparations have continued and efforts have been made for this blog to try and keep up with all the friendlies that have, haven't or are taking place. Phew!

The main concrete bit of news regarding NLD this week has been the release of the Ryman League fixtures, which turned out to be a process shrouded in mystery and confusion.

After some doubt, the league announced that the details would be announced on Friday. However, nothing appeared on their official website and there's still nothing there now.

Apparently each member club was emailed their fixtures and published them themselves on their own sites over the course of Friday and Saturday (a handful still hadn't last night).

In order to figure out who was playing on 13 October I had to go club-by-club and piece together the details.

As a result we now know the identity of many more host clubs from the London area and they are: Aveley, Carshalton Athletic, Chipstead, Corinthian Casuals, Enfield Town, Hampton & Richmond Borough, Hendon, Metropolitan Police, Romford, Thamesmead Town, Tooting & Mitcham United, Walton & Hersham, Wealdstone, Waltham Forest and Wingate & Finchley.

I mentioned in the Non-League Paper last week that we're trying to encourage clubs to stagger kick-offs to enable people to see two or three games in a day so hopefully some of those listed above will start talking to each other and their opponents to see what can be achieved.

In the week ahead we expect the delayed release of the Southern League fixtures so hopefully we'll have a few more hosts to report this time next week. Here's a map of the games we know about around the country so far:

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On Tuesday (17 July) the first batch of Premier League tickets for the new season are put on sale by Fulham. Their first six home matches of the season against Norwich City, West Bromwich Albion, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Everton and Sunderland will all go on general sale to non-members at 0900.

There are also still a few tickets for a handful of Olympic football matches being played at Wembley Stadium.

The same venue also hosts England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in September and there's still availability for that too.

With the new campaign getting closer, the amount of pre-season games has almost doubled this week. As it stands I'm aware of 60 games over the next seven days with some clubs playing at home three times between now and Saturday!

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London match map 16-22 July 2012 in a larger map

As always, please check with the host club whether a match is still taking place and also confirm the venue as this can change at short notice at this time of year. Please also let me know if I've got anything wrong or am missing anything.

If you can't decide where to watch your football this week here are a few recommendations:


BOREHAM WOOD v WATFORD (Tuesday 17 July, 730pm)
As mentioned last week The Wood have a mouthwatering pre-season schedule that sees them play host to six of 'the 92' in preparation for another season in the Conference South. After creditable 1-1 draws against West Ham United and Stevenage over the last few days, they next welcome Championship club Watford who play only five or so miles to the west. The Hornets have this listed as a first team game on their website so should put out a reasonable side and bring a good amount of fans. It is also the first match for new manager Gianfranco Zola following the dismissal of Sean Dyche by the club's new owners. An Arsenal XI are also at Meadow Park on Saturday 21 July. TICKET INFO

GRAYS ATHLETIC v WEST HAM UNITED (Friday 20 July, 745pm)
After a couple of years groundsharing with East Thurrock United, Grays have moved to the Rush Green Stadium near Romford for the 2012/13 season bringing them within the M25 and into the TLFG family. After a lot of hard work by supporters, this match is being seen as the ground's official opening with Hammers co-chairman David Sullivan set to be the guest of honour. TICKET INFO

Following Reading's visit to Kingsmeadow to play AFC Wimbledon on Saturday (they won 7-0), the good denizens of Norbiton will get a visit from another Premier League side just over 48 hours later when Tottenham Hotspur roll into town. The Ks, who groundshare with the Dons, finished slap bang in the middle of the Ryman League Premier Division table last season and will hope to do better this time round. How much they will learn from this outing remains to be seen but the Spurs players on show are likely to be youngsters and reserves at best. TICKET INFO

THURROCK v WEST HAM UNITED (Saturday 21 July, 3pm)
West Ham continue to do their bit for non-league clubs to the east of London by visiting Ship Lane on Saturday. Unlike the Grays game above, this isn't listed as a first-team match so youngsters and reserves are more likely to make the starting line-up. The hosts suffered relegation from the Conference South last season and are about to start their first full campaign under former Gillingham and Barnet boss Mark Stimson, so he'll be hoping for a good showing here. TICKET INFO

WEALDSTONE v WATFORD (Saturday 21 July, 3pm)
Over the last year or so, the Stones have cultivated a good working relationship with the Hornets which has seen a number of the latter's players head to Grosvenor Vale on loan. Whether such a bond continues under the new set up at Vicarage Road remains to be seen but this game should be worth going to. Like Boreham Wood, the two clubs are only a matter of miles apart so there should be a decent turnout. It is also listed as a first-team game on Watford's website. You should give Gordon Bartlett's side a watch as they made it to the Ryman Premier play-offs and FA Trophy semi-finals last year and are among the promotion favourites for the season ahead. TICKET INFO

SUTTON UNITED v LEYTON ORIENT (Wednesday 18 July, 745pm)
Another side who had a fruitful season last year were Sutton who went from winning the Ryman Premier title to making the Conference South play-offs. They are consequently fancied to be among the promotion contenders again this season. On Wednesday they welcome east London club Leyton Orient who just about managed to avoid relegation from League One last season. Russell Slade is likely to take a fairly strong squad to Gander Green Lane for this game so I expect a decent contest. TICKET INFO

DARTFORD v GILLINGHAM (Saturday 21 July, 3pm)
It's an all Kentish affair at Princes Park on Saturday where newly promoted Dartford of the Conference Premier host local League Two rivals Gillingham. With only a division separating the two sides this is likely to be taken pretty seriously by both as they look for a good pre-season workout. As already mentioned, the Darts won promotion last year via the Conference South play-offs while the Gills narrowly missed out on a place in the League Two play-offs themselves. The bookies expect Gillingham to be competitive again this year but don't hold out much hope for Tony Burman's men who are listed among the favourites for the drop. If you've yet to visit, Princes Park is one of the finest non-league stadiums in the London area so give it a go. TICKET INFO

After a resounding 4-1 win over local rivals Staines Lammas on Saturday, the Swans' new manager Marcus Gayle (the former Wimbledon player) will next see his players face a much stiffer test in the form of League Two side Wycombe Wanderers. With both sides struggling last season (the Chairboys got relegated), not much is expected of either this time round. Despite this, I expect another decent game and attendance as this does have a touch of the local derbies about it. TICKET INFO

FISHER v MILLWALL (Wednesday 18 July, 745pm)
Another side to have fostered good relations with their local Football League club over the last couple of years are Kent League side Fisher who play at Dulwich Hamlet's Champion Hill. The Lions played them in a pre-season game a couple of years ago and have also sent a good contingent of supporters on past Non-League Days. This match is the jewel in the crown of their pre-season campaign and will hope it attracts interest in the local community. Although the Millwall XI will be largely devoid of first team regulars (who will be on a tour of Ireland) it should still be worth a watch. TICKET INFO

THE GEOFF HARVEY VASE (Saturday & Sunday 21/22 July, 11am & 3pm)
For those wanting to gorge on non-league football with a south London flavour, King George's Field in Tolworth is the place for you this weekend. Corinthian Casuals play host to this four club mini-tournament which also features Dulwich Hamlet, Kingstonian and Tooting & Mitcham United. The Casuals play Tooting for a place in Sunday's final in the opening game at 11am on Saturday before the Ks meet Dulwich for the other berth at 3pm. The following day there is a third place play-off at 11am and final at 3pm. UPDATE (19/07/12) - according to the Corinthian Casuals website, both fixtures on Sunday 22 July have now been cancelled. TICKET INFO

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

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