Sunday, 14 October 2012

TLFG: 15-21 October 2012

Well what a week it's been.

When not doing ludicrously early shifts in my new job, I've been ploughing all my spare time into making sure Non-League Day (NLD) went well.

After all the preparation, Saturday arrived and with it another early start and an appearance on BBC 5 live's Breakfast programme.

With that done and a little breakfast of my own inside me, I kicked off the NLD social media build-up at 7am from my kitchen table where I sat 'Tweeting' and 'Facebooking' for most of the next six hours. At one point, mid-morning, we managed to get #nonleagueday to trend alongside 'Rick Astley' (the true King of Pop in my opinion) and #NoBraDay or something to that effect.

While doing this, talkSPORT gave us superb support over the airwaves as Mark Saggers and Micky Quinn gave us frequent mentions throughout their show.

On satellite TV, Sky Sports News were live at Bromley as they prepared for their big derby against Welling United and over on sister channel Sky Sports 2, Soccer AM made a trip to Woking in a nod to NLD. Finally there was also a mention of NLD on Football Focus which was supported by features on Newport County and Forest Green Rovers.

Things went rather well!

With that all out of the way, it was time to get ready to go to a match. But the question was - which one?

A while ago I had decided to go to Southern League side Ashford Town (Middlesex) who had decided to offer free admission to all Premier and Football League season-ticket holders like myself.

However, emergency repairs to the railway going in that direction made that journey look problematic.

I then toyed with the idea of heading up to north London to join my NLD colleagues at Wingate & Finchley but planned engineering works had shut the Northern Line and London Overground so that was out.

In the end I decided to join a friend at Wealdstone for their Isthmian League match against Thurrock.

As a follower of Harrow Borough, their arch rivals, this wasn't an easy decision but the Stones always support NLD and go to great efforts to bring new fans in.

With the Stones in the leading pack and Thurrock propping up the table, a home win looked certain but that's not what happened.

The Essex club broke the deadlock midway through the first half and were only pegged back shortly before the interval.

They seemed to be containing Wealdstone well until one of their defenders scored a fine own goal and it looked like being decisive until some poor defending allowed them to sneak a late equaliser and earn a 2-2 draw.

So a decent game but the best was yet to come from an NLD point of view when the announcer declared a crowd of 703.

Now you might not think that sounds a lot but it was about 300 more than Wealdstone's average and over 200 more than their previous season's best! Not bad for the visit of the bottom club who brought about 10-20 supporters of their own.

From that point, good news stories kept appearing on my phone's Twitter app as it appeared that NLD 3 had succeeded in a way that none of the team could have envisaged.

On getting home I did further interviews with the Non-League Paper and talkSPORT summarising the achievements of the day.

A bit of very basic number crunching showed me that 70% of games across Steps 1-4 (about 130) had crowds in excess of the season's average. Several sides posted season's bests, with AFC Fylde setting a new stadium record for the visit of FC United of Manchester.

The biggest crowd of the day in London came at Bromley for their aforementioned derby with Welling where 1,334 turned out, which was around 800 more than their average - a truly massive increase.

To all those that helped out with NLD (the team, those of you who put banners on your sites, those who tweeted or contributed in any way) I thank you. An event like this can only succeed when people pull together an give their time and effort for free.

NLD 4 now looks a certainty - whether we go for 7 September or 12 October 2013 depends on what FA competition is happening on the day so we'll decide when the dates come out.

Today has been spent recovering and entertaining relatives hence the later than normal publication of this. It will also be abridged AGAIN because of this - apologies.

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

Wednesday 7 November, 745pm - Shakhtar Donetsk, Champions League

Saturday 3 November, 3pm - Everton, Premier League
Sunday 18 November, 4pm - Sunderland, Premier League

Sunday 4 November, 130pm - Reading, Premier League

Saturday 3 November, 3pm - Wigan Athletic, Premier League
Thursday 8 November, 805pm - NK Maribor, Europa League

Saturday 20 October, 3pm - Southampton, Premier League
Saturday 3 November, 530pm - Manchester City, Premier League
Monday 19 November, 8pm - Stoke City, Premier League (on sale 16 Oct)

There are also a couple of great deals in the Championship this week with Charlton Athletic charging only £5 for their match against Barnsley on Saturday and Watford only £10 for adults and £1 for kids for the visit of Peterborough United the same day.

This week there are over 70 matches taking place in London including some big derbies and a few ties in the crucial 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.

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.

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

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.

Sadly I don't have time to do a full TLFG Top 10 with explanations but I will list a few games that I think could be worth your time over the next few days:

1. Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea - Premier League
2.  Crystal Palace v Millwall - Championship
3. Bromley v Worcester City - FA Cup
4. Welling United v Bishop's Stortford - FA Cup
5.  Sutton United v Staines Town - Conference South
6. Kingstonian v Carshalton Athletic - Isthmian Premier
7.  AFC Hayes v Slough Town - Southern Div 1 Central
8. Hanwell Town v Oxhey Jets - FA Vase
9. London Bari v Clapton - Essex Senior League
10.  Erith Town v Rochester United - Kent League

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.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you and really well done James. All the work you and the team put in was completely worth it for every single club, especially us at Wingate, and the game as a whole and you should be very proud of what you have created.

    Hopefully it will continue to keep snowballing and some national newspapers will care about it next year!