Sunday, 22 July 2012

TLFG: 23-29 July 2012

With the weather finally starting to improve, the opportunities to catch a pre-season friendly are increasing. Personally I've still not managed it as work and Non-League Day (NLD) preparations continue.

It's been another positive week on the NLD front with a number of sponsors beginning to approach us. Mike and I are also in the process of setting up a 'community' account with Metro Bank (whose staff have been brilliant) to really formalise the process.

On Wednesday the Southern League fixtures were released so we now know all Step 1-4 matches that will be taking place on the weekend of 13 October. Ashford Town (Middlesex), Northwood and Uxbridge join the other previously announced TLFG clubs in hosting this year.

If you're interested in seeing a club from Step 5 or 6, their fixtures won't be fully confirmed until the middle of September following the completion of the early rounds of the FA Vase.

Here's a look at the updated national NLD match map:

View Non-League Day 2012 match locations in a larger map 

If you would like to help promote NLD then you can download one of our banners to put on your website or blog. Thanks in advance if you do.


As the new season approaches more Premier League clubs are starting to make tickets available. Here's what's currently on general sale to non-members (click on team name for details):

(all on sale now)
Saturday 18 August, 3pm - Norwich City, Premier League
Saturday 15 September, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, Premier League
Saturday 29 September, 3pm - Manchester City, Premier League
Saturday 20 October, 3pm - Aston Villa, Premier League
Saturday 3 November, 3pm - Everton, Premier League
Sunday 18 November, 4pm - Sunderland, Premier League

(on sale 26 July if any remaining)
Saturday 25 August, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, Premier League

(both on sale 24 July if any remaining)
Saturday 18 August, 3pm - Aston Villa, Premier League
Saturday 1 September, 1245pm - Fulham, Premier League

Aside from these there are still tickets for some Olympic football matches at Wembley Stadium and also England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at the same venue in September.

Have you been to any pre-season games yet? Checked out some unusual venues that clubs don't usually use? Well there are plenty more opportunities this week with over 70 matches to choose from and a decent weather forecast to boot.

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

View London match map 23-29 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 any of the details are wrong or missing.

With so many matches to select from this week, here are a few recommendations:


BARNET v CHARLTON ATHLETIC (Thursday 26 July, 8pm)
Brought forward a couple of days to avoid a clash with the Olympics, this is the only match in London this week featuring two of 'the 92'. Both sides have it listed as a first-team friendly so you should get to see a few decent players. As is becoming customary, the Bees managed to avoid relegation from League Two on the final day of last season while the Addicks swept all before them as they cruised to the League One title and a place in the Championship. If you haven't been to Underhill before then this is the season to go as the club confirmed this week that it will be moving to a new ground for the 2013/14 campaign. Tickets: £10 adults, £5 concessions.

DARTFORD v LEYTON ORIENT (Saturday 28 July, 3pm)
There was a temptation this week to just list all the games where non-league sides are hosting Premier or Football League opponents but I've decided against it as only a tiny percentage of the 'big' clubs will come anywhere close to fielding first-team players. One match where this could happen takes place at Princes Park on Saturday. Conference Premier new boys Dartford face the League One O's in what could be an entertaining game. Russell Slade's side travelled to Sutton on Wednesday and played their part in an eight-goal thriller (the O's winning 5-3). Tickets: £12 adults, £6 concessions, £2 children.

DULWICH HAMLET v CRYSTAL PALACE (Tuesday 24 July, 745pm)
Another match to show promise is this south-east London derby at Champion Hill. Although a whopping six divisions separate the two sides, the Eagles do have this listed as part of their first-team programme and took a fairly strong side to Lewes, another Ryman League club, on Friday. The hosts came unstuck in the play-offs last season as they missed a great a chance to go up. They will be keen to go a step further this year and will look to give their Championship opponents plenty to think about. Tickets: not sure of exact prices but the normal price at Dulwich is £9 adults, £4 concessions, free for accompanied under-12s.

STAINES TOWN v WARTA POZNAN (Monday 23 July, 730pm)
Possibly the most eye-catching or curious fixture of the week, if not the summer, takes place at Wheatsheaf Park on Monday night. Former Wimbledon player Marcus Gayle, recently installed as manager, pits his Staines players against a side who play in the Polish equivalent of our Championship. Warta have won the Polish title on two occasions but the last time was over 60 years ago. Last season they finished in midtable. Watertight research (i.e. Wikipedia) has also discovered that they are managed by former Poland international Jaroslaw Araszkiewicz and that their squad includes Piotr Reiss, now 40, the winner of four full caps for his country. Tickets: £8 adults, £4 concessions/children.

CARSHALTON ATHLETIC v WOKING (Saturday 28 July, 3pm)
Despite big ambitions Carshalton struggled to get going in the Ryman League last season and will hope to put that right this time round. Their opponents on Saturday cantered to the Conference South title last season and are a bit of a regional non-league superpower with a strong following. Both narrowly lost 2-1 on Saturday but to superior opposition (Havant & Waterlooville and QPR respectively) so they should feel fairly encouraged. I expect a competitive match and a decent crowd. Tickets: £5 adults, £3 concessions, £1 children.

HAMPTON & RICHMOND v SUTTON UNITED (Tuesday 24 July, 745pm)
Last season these two were both in the Conference South and this would've been seen as a derby. Sadly for Tuesday's hosts they got relegated and now find themselves in the Ryman Premier. Sutton on the other hand made it to the play-offs and were unlucky to miss out on their second consecutive promotion. Consequently they are one of the bookies' favourites for promotion this time. The Beveree is regularly listed as being one of the best non-league grounds around and with the weather set fair, there could be worse places to spend the evening. Tickets: usual price for league games is £11 adults, £6 concessions, £3 children (although two kids get in free with a paying adult).

Ryman Premier also take on Conference South at Earlsmead but it could have been very different. Both sides flirted dangerously with relegation last season with Boro leaving it late while Maidenhead actually finished in the relegation places only for a reprieve to save them from the drop. Both are again fancied to struggle but consequently this should be a pretty even game between two sides with a lot to prove. Tickets: no details - usual admission is around £9 adults.

HAYES & YEADING UNITED v BURNHAM (Tuesday 24 July, 730pm)
Hayes should be a club this blog covers every week but they are currently groundsharing with Woking, outside TLFG's catchment area. This is because they are developing a new ground on the site of Yeading's old stadium. On Tuesday they play this friendly on the 3G pitch alongside their new home. Although it's not yet ready, this match provides a chance to have peek at what's going on and how far they've got to go until completion. Tickets: FREE 

WEALDSTONE v BRAINTREE TOWN (Saturday 28 July, 3pm)
The Stones start the season as one of the favourites for promotion from the Ryman Premier after a successful campaign last year. Manager Gordon Bartlett seems to have created a strong team ethic which is heartily backed up by strong support on the terraces. On Saturday they hosted Gianfranco Zola's Watford and held them to a 1-1 draw in front of a bumper crowd of 1,335. The Iron, managed by Alan Devonshire, enjoyed a solid start to life in the Conference Premier last year finishing comfortably in midtable. Although it's still very early, the Essex side should provide a decent test of Wealdstone's ambitions. Tickets: £10 adults, £5 concessions, £2 children.

WEMBLEY v HENDON (Saturday 28 July, 3pm)
The Lions have recently spent an unusual amount of time in the national football headlines for a Combined Counties League club. This is primarily down to their sponsorship by a large beer company who have decided to pump in a few quid and provide/saddle them with a load of former international players who are well past their prime for their FA Cup games. None of them will therefore be on playing duty on Saturday when Wembley take on tenants Hendon. The Greens are the more senior club, playing two divisions above in the Ryman Premier, and were one of the better sides in the division last season. Come and see if they have a squad to challenge for promotion again. Tickets: no information as yet, unlikely to be more than a fiver.

If you have any questions or want 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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