Sunday, 9 September 2012

TLFG: 10-16 September 2012

I'm putting this post up a little later than normal this week as I've been at a Non-League Day planning meeting in central London.

Scarily there's only just over a month to go until NLD 3 arrives and there still seems so much to do.

The main priority, as always, is simply to spread the word and let football clubs and fans know it's happening on Saturday 13 October.

Even after two pretty successful events, many people still don't know that NLD exists and we want them to get involved.

As NLD is primarily a supporter-led movement we need as much help as possible from people like you in helping us get the information out there.

If you have your own blog or website, please think about adding one of our banners to it. You can also keep up to date with what's going on by 'liking' our Facebook page and/or following us on Twitter and inviting your friends to do the same. Thanks if you do.

Aside from that, I've also spent a bit of time watching some football this weekend.

I'm very aware that over the last 11 months this blog has either concentrated on QPR's exploits in the Premier League or teams from Steps 3-7 of the non-league ladder.

QPR are featured because I support them, while the rest cost £10 or less to get into. All other clubs in between charge anything from £11 upwards which is hard to justify on a regular basis.

However, this weekend I decided to push the boat out and set sail for Griffin Park the home of League One side Brentford.

I had started Saturday fully intending to take Welling United up on their half-price admission deal for season-ticket holders of other clubs for their game against Staines Town but I ended up changing my mind.

After my usual 5km parkrun around Wormwood Scrubs I talked myself, with the help of fellow runner James, into believing that a trip to see his beloved Bees take on Colchester United was the better option.

For those who don't know, Brentford is a western suburb on the Thames about seven or eight miles from the centre of London.

The view from Brentford's sun drenched Ealing Road terrace
They are very much a local club with most of their fans coming from surrounding areas like Ealing, Chiswick and Isleworth and they do well to continue to exist when you consider Premier League clubs Chelsea, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers are all a stone's throw away.

In days gone by the rivalry between the Bees and the latter two was quite notable as they were in the same divisions but Brentford haven't faced either since they held QPR to a 1-1 draw in 2004 and 'hostilities' have pretty much disappeared.

As a QPR fan I have no problem seeing Brentford do well and am happy to go and see them play - I couldn't say the same about Chelsea.

Anyway, back to yesterday. After a short bus ride from Shepherd's Bush to the Watermans Arts Centre, it's an easy stroll to the ground. Griffin Park is legendary for having a pub on each corner of the ground so if that's something that might interest you I recommend a visit.

Having not been to a League One game for a while, the one thing I was struck by was the admission cost. To stand behind the goal on the Ealing Road terrace cost £21 (approx €26 or $33) which would put me off going on a more regular basis. This was offset slightly by the fact that the best seats in the house could be had for only £2 more but then I guess that made the terrace look even more overpriced. 

Overall it was another stark reminder of how the wages of top players and all the other associated costs of the Premier League are affecting everyone else - there can't be another third tier in the world whose clubs charge this much to get in.

The game itself was pretty even and although Brentford shaded things in the second half it looked like being a 0-0 draw until Farid El Alagui popped up to head the hosts' 88th-minute winner.

For me it was good to see former QPR midfielder Marcus Bean still earning a living in Colchester's colours (after leaving Brentford in the summer). The Essex side also fielded Freddie Sears the former West Ham youth team player who famously scored on his Premier League debut in 2008. 

Sadly it's never really worked out for him since and it would've been no surprise if he'd dropped out of the game after unsuccessful spells at Crystal Palace and Scunthorpe but he acquitted himself well on Saturday and I hope he is able to carve out a career.

LATEST TICKET NEWS
Each week at TLFG we attempt to compile a list of what's on general sale to non-members at London's Premier League clubs and for other notable matches (click on the team name for details).

Nothing currently available

Tuesday 25 September, 745pm - Wolves, League Cup (on sale 12 Sept)

Saturday 15 September, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, Premier League
Saturday 29 September, 3pm - Manchester City, Premier League
Friday 5 October, 7pm - Chelsea, U21 Premier League
Saturday 20 October, 3pm - Aston Villa, Premier League
Saturday 3 November, 3pm - Everton, Premier League
Sunday 18 November, 4pm - Sunderland, Premier League

QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Wednesday 26 September, 745pm - Reading, League Cup

Thursday 13 September, 7pm - Barcelona, NextGen Series
Sunday 23 September, 4pm - Queens Park Rangers, Premier League
Sunday 7 October, 3pm - Aston Villa, Premier League

WEST HAM UNITED
Saturday 22 September, 3pm - Sunderland, Premier League
Tuesday 25 September, 745pm - Wigan Athletic, League Cup
Saturday 6 October, 530pm - Arsenal, Premier League 

Aside from these there are still tickets going for England's World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine and San Marino at Wembley Stadium on 11 September and 12 October while the Republic of Ireland's friendly against Oman at Craven Cottage on Tuesday has availability too.

In the Championship we've also got the derby between Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace coming up on Friday 14 September at 745pm and tickets are on general sale for that as well.

Over the next seven days there are more than 70 matches happening in the London area. This week our local Premier League and Championship clubs return to action after the international break. There are some big derbies, ties in the FA Cup, FA Trophy and FA Vase plus Barcelona's U19s are in town to play Spurs at White Hart Lane in the NextGen Series.

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

MATCH MAP
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures


View London match map 10-16 September 2012 in a larger map

As always, please check with the host club whether a match is still taking place before you travel. Please also let me know if any of the details are wrong or missing.

Here's a list of few games that I think could be worth watching in the week ahead:

TLFG TOP 10

QUEENS PARK RANGERS v CHELSEA (Saturday 15 September, 3pm)
Although Chelsea and Fulham's grounds are almost on top of each other, the rivalry between these two is far more bitter. QPR have lived in Chelsea's shadow for most of my lifetime and the gulf between the two was absolutely massive in 2003/04 when Rangers were in what is now League One. While the Shepherd's Bush club were achieving promotion on a fairly tight budget, Chelsea splurged over £120 million on 14 new players. This year's game will be even spicier than usual because of the John Terry/Anton Ferdinand situation which still seems unresolved even though the court case has been completed. As it stands Blues captain Terry is nursing a minor injury after playing for England so things could simmer down considerably if he's unable to play. Aside from that incident, last season's game was a cracker - QPR only just managed to win 1-0 despite playing against a Chelsea team who had two players sent off in the first half! More of the same please. TICKET INFO

CHARLTON ATHLETIC v CRYSTAL PALACE (Friday 14 September, 745pm)
The night before we have another derby this time in the south east of town. Although Millwall are Charlton's biggest local rivals, Palace come a close second. When the Addicks became homeless in the 1980s, they ended up groundsharing with the Eagles whose fans used to give them plenty of stick for it. Unsurprisingly there was also quite a bit of gloating in 2005 when Crystal Palace lost their place in the Premier League after drawing 2-2 with Charlton at the Valley. So although there isn't a blood feud, they ain't the best of friends. The last three years have seen Charlton languishing in League One so there hasn't been a game between the two for a while. The last time they met in early 2009, the Addicks triumphed 1-0. Neither have made a great start this season so I expect another close contest. TICKET INFO

LEYTON ORIENT v BRENTFORD (Thursday 13 September, 745pm)
The derbies are plentiful this week with this east versus west clash in League One next up. As with the game above, this has been moved to an odd night of the week for live TV purposes suggesting that some broadcasting executives think its worth watching too. You've heard plenty about Brentford already although I didn't mention that Saturday's win moved them into the top six. Orient have had a far rockier start to the season having lost their opening three league games. However, on Saturday they picked up a fine 1-0 win at Paolo Di Canio's Swindon Town to keep them off the bottom. Home advantage always seems to count for a lot between these two with the Bees not having won here since 1995. TICKET INFO

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE v ACCRINGTON STANLEY (Saturday 15 Sept, 3pm)
If for no other reason, this match gives you the chance to see the legendary Accrington Stanley play a match in London. Having fallen out of existence in 1966, Stanley were reformed two years later and gradually rose through the non-league system to regain Football League status in time for the start of the 2006/07 season. After flirting with relegation, promotion and the prospect of going bust again, the club have managed to stay afloat and retain their League Two status throughout. They head into this game in pretty decent form having won three of their opening five to be fifth in the table. In contrast to this, the Daggers have yet to win and sit just above the bottom two. An away win looks likely. TICKET INFO

AFC HORNCHURCH v DORCHESTER TOWN (Saturday 15 September, 3pm)
After winning promotion to the Conference South in May, the Urchins have found life at the higher level a little tough to get to grips with. Having mustered only six points from their opening seven fixtures, they currently find themselves only a point and two places above the relegation zone. Things are unlikely to get any easier for them when Dorchester arrive in this part of Essex on Saturday. The Magpies have won five, drawn one and lost only once to sit joint top with Salisbury City on 16 points so will present a tough challenge. TICKET INFO

HAMPTON & RICHMOND v LOWESTOFT TOWN (Saturday 15 September, 3pm)
This is undoubtedly the game of the weekend in the Ryman League as first host second. Both sides have come flying out of the blocks and have only lost one game between them. Possibly the most impressive part about Hampton's five game unbeaten start is the fact that they haven't conceded a single goal. Lowestoft, despite losing once, are more free scoring and have netted almost double the amount the hosts have. Having both suffered big disappointments last season (Hampton got relegated from the Conference South and Lowestoft lost in the Ryman Premier play-off final) both will want to make top spot their own this time round so quite a lot is riding on this even at this early stage. TICKET INFO

DULWICH HAMLET v GODALMING TOWN (Tuesday 11 September, 745pm)
Got nothing better to do on Tuesday night? Then why not treat yourself to some FA Cup replay action? After battling to a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon these teams will do it all over again at Champion Hill a little over 48 hours later. Last season these two were both in the Ryman League Division One South and both got to the play-off semi-finals before being knocked out. However, after a bit of summer restructuring, Godalming moved across to the Evostik League Southern Division One Central. Both have made strong starts to this campaign with Dulwich currently third and Godalming top of their respective divisions. That sounds like the recipe for a pretty good cup tie to me. CLUB INFO

WALTON & HERSHAM v MALDON & TIPTREE (Saturday 15 September, 3pm)
Two other clubs who have begun their seasons well and play in parallel divisions meet at Stompond Lane in this FA Trophy tie on Saturday. Walton are currently fourth in the Ryman South, just behind Dulwich, while Maldon are among the early pacesetters in the Ryman North. The stats so far slightly favour the hosts who have accrued one point more than their opponents but Maldon made smooth progress in the FA Cup on Saturday, something Walton failed to do. Perhaps the need for a tricky midweek replay against Combined Counties League side South Park could take that little bit more energy out of the Swans' players and give the visitors the edge. CLUB INFO

FELTHAM v HANWELL TOWN (Saturday 15 September, 3pm)
I think it's fair to class this FA Vase tie as a derby - not a particularly massive one but a derby nonetheless. These two play in the Combined Counties League Division One and Spartan South Midlands Premier Division respectively, which effectively means Hanwell play one division above Feltham. Since beating Sheerwater 6-2 on the first day of the season, the hosts have lost all their following league fixtures as things have gone a bit pear shaped for them. After a poor season last year, Hanwell have made a much better start having won four of their first eight to sit seventh in the table. If this doesn't turn out to be a classic then you can always gaze at the planes as they take off or land at Heathrow airport which is right next door. CLUB INFO

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v BARCELONA (Thursday 13 September, 7pm)
Spurs v Barca listed after Feltham v Hanwell at the bottom of TLFG's Top 10?!! Have I gone mad? Possibly. If you didn't read my earlier mention of this above, this is a match between the two clubs' U19 sides in the NextGen Series - a kind of Champions League for big clubs' youth sides. As it's Barcelona, Tottenham have chosen to host them at White Hart Lane rather than their training ground which often happens with games at this level. Therefore this represents a great chance to see some of the stars of the future and visit one of the best grounds in the country for only £5. TICKET INFO

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

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