Sunday, 28 October 2012

TLFG: 29 October - 4 November 2012

Hello there and welcome to another edition of TLFG, I hope you've had a good week.

My football watching over the last seven days has seen me take in another two QPR games, for my sins.

First up was the 1-1 draw with Everton at Loftus Road last Sunday which we were unlucky not to win, especially after the sending off of Steven Pienaar, and then the 1-0 defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday.

I'd never been to the Emirates before - tickets are rarely on general sale and are often quite expensive so for neutrals it can be difficult.

However, yesterday I managed to land or should I say earn a free ticket.

As long-term readers of this blog will know, I've been involved with arranging an annual sponsored walk from Loftus Road to one of QPR's away games for several years now.

After three previous strolls to Crystal Palace, Watford and Tottenham Hotspur, this year we decided to head to Arsenal.

We do it to raise funds for QPR's team for children with Down's syndrome - the Tiger Cubs. The money has seen the club expand fairly rapidly with more sessions at more venues. It has also allowed the introduction of other sports and activities which the children have enjoyed.

Members of our hardy group arrive at the Emirates Stadium
Now you might not think a walk from Shepherd's Bush to Highbury is that strenuous and compared to our previous events it was definitely the shortest. We did, however, decide to take the 'pretty route' and added several more miles than necessary to make it worthwhile and squeeze in a few good photo opportunities.

After leaving the bright lights of Westfield behind, we headed through leafy Holland Park and then down towards the museum district in South Kensington.

Our first major checkpoint was the Royal Albert Hall where we were met by our support car and club mascot Spark, a tiger.

After posing for a few photos and watching Spark wave at a few bemused tourists and shake hands with some delighted small children, we began our trek north through Hyde Park and Regent's Park.

Another photo and pit stop ensued outside London Zoo with similar consequences before the route took the walkers along the Regent's Canal to Caledonian Road where there was a brief break for refreshment.

From there it was about a two-mile walk to the stadium which saw us arrive with only about 20 minutes or so to spare before kick-off.

The stadium itself is one of the best I've been to in the world and I'd heartily recommend a visit.

QPR's Esteban Granero sees his injury-time free-kick tipped to safety
Sadly QPR lost again despite a spirited performance but the overall aims of the day by the roughly 30 walkers were met. If you have any spare cash and feel kind enough to donate to this cause I'd really appreciate it.

If you're reading this and feel inspired to do something similar at your club, I really strongly encourage you to do so. The camaraderie throughout and various other rewards have been great. If you support a Premier League or Football League club, get in touch with their community department and see what you can arrange.

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 28 November, 745pm - Fulham, Premier League (on sale 31 Oct)

Sunday 18 November, 4pm - Sunderland, Premier League
Monday 10 December, 8pm - Newcastle United, Premier League (on sale 30 Oct)
Wednesday 26 December, 3pm - Southampton, Premier League (on sale 30 Oct)
Saturday 29 December, 3pm - Swansea City, Premier League (on sale 30 Oct)

Sunday 4 November, 130pm - Reading, Premier League
Saturday 17 November, 3pm - Southampton, Premier League 

Saturday 3 November, 3pm - Wigan Athletic, Premier League
Thursday 8 November, 805pm - NK Maribor, Europa League
Sunday 25 November, 4pm - West Ham United, Premier League
Wednesday 28 November, 745pm - Liverpool, Premier League (on sale 1 Nov)

Saturday 3 November, 530pm - Manchester City, Premier League
Monday 19 November, 8pm - Stoke City, Premier League
Saturday 1 December, 1245pm - Chelsea, Premier League (on sale 30 Oct)

Over the next seven days there are nearly 80 matches happening in the London area. Aside from all the normal league action, which includes a number of derbies, we've also got FA Cup and FA Trophy matches to look forward to.

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
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London match map 29 October - 4 November 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:


CHELSEA v MANCHESTER UNITED (Wednesday 31 October, 745pm)
At the time of writing these two are just hours away from meeting in Sunday afternoon's televised Premier League game at Stamford Bridge. Just three days later they are set to do it all over again in the League Cup. There is talk of several key players being rested for this one so it won't be seen as quite as important as the previous meeting. Despite this, the match has sold out so the atmosphere should still be good. Over the last five seasons, United have won this competition twice while Chelsea have only made the final once (losing to Spurs). The Blues' last win came in 2007 when they beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Millennium Stadium. In case of returns or for ticket exchange details check the latest TICKET INFO

QUEENS PARK RANGERS v READING (Sunday 4 November, 130pm)
To a neutral looking at the Premier League table this might not look like the most appetising of fixtures. However, I would recommend it as it is of huge significance to both clubs. With both currently in the bottom three, we've got an early season 'six-pointer' so there's plenty to play for. It's also a derby, particularly from the point of view of the visitors for whom QPR are their nearest league opponents. Add to that the fact they both play in blue and white hoops and argue over who has more right to wear them and we should have a pretty decent game on our hands. The last meeting between the two clubs a few weeks ago in the League Cup produced a 3-2 win for the Royals - it included a number of cracking goals and a penalty save. Persuaded by my case? Then get yourself down to Loftus Road on Sunday. TICKET INFO

CRYSTAL PALACE v BLACKBURN ROVERS (Saturday 3 November, 3pm)
There are a number of tidy looking games in the Championship this week but this one really stands out for me at it pits fourth against fifth. Both teams have seen their managers depart recently. For Rovers, Steve Kean's dismissal had been on the cards almost since his appointment. Dougie Freedman's departure from Palace earlier this week though came as blow for the Eagles who saw him headhunted by Bolton Wanderers. The caretaker manager situation didn't seem to both either club on Saturday though as they both picked up wins - Palace sensationally ended the then league leaders Leicester City's 100% home record while Blackburn saw off Watford with a solitary goal at Ewood Park. For me, Palace must start this one as favourites. TICKET INFO

BARNET v OXFORD UNITED (Saturday 3 November, 3pm)
After the excitement of last Sunday's FA Cup draw, the First Round proper arrives this weekend with only three ties in London all of which will feature here. The first sees an all League Two encounter at Underhill. The Bees have made a lot of headlines recently after appointing former Dutch international Edgar Davids as co-head coach. Apart from a dismal display against Plymouth the day after, they've now gone on a three-game unbeaten run which includes their 1-0 win at Chesterfield on Saturday. Although they remain bottom, they're only a win away from climbing out of the relegation zone. Former top flight club Oxford have been thoroughly inconsistent this season, winning a few and losing a few and consequently have drifted around midtable. If you're only in London for a short while, this is Barnet's last season at Underhill so this could be your last chance to visit it. TICKET INFO

BOREHAM WOOD v BRENTFORD (Saturday 3 November, 2pm)
If I wasn't working on Saturday this would definitely be the match I would try and see. Just up the road from Barnet, this part of north London is the place to be for FA Cup football that day. When the draw was made, Boreham Wood had yet to play their fourth qualifying round tie against Hayes & Yeading United so whoever won, League One Brentford were going to end up with a derby match. To me, Hayes v Brentford would've been preferable as they are closer but the Wood are currently the more likely, on paper, to be able to win. The hosts are currently second in the Conference South and are unbeaten in seven. The Bees, on the other hand, have only gone two without loss but did manage to beat former Premier League side Coventry City on Tuesday night. Brentford are of course the favourites but they'll be cautious after being knocked out by non-league Wrexham last year. TICKET INFO

This tie is a strange one as its a little difficult to get excited about. Metropolitan Police FC was originally founded as a side for serving officers, at some point this changed and now any player can turn out for the Isthmian League outfit. There are efforts being made to turn it into more of a 'community club' but residents from the Thames Ditton and Hampton Court area have yet to catch the bug with crowds among the lowest in  the Premier Division. The draw of League One high flyers Crawley should prove attractive though with tickets likely to be reasonably easy to come by. Four divisions separate these two, so the Sussex side should canter to victory. TICKET INFO

AFC HORNCHURCH v CHELMSFORD CITY (Tuesday 30 October, 745pm)
Aside from West Ham United v Manchester City, arguably the biggest match of the week on the east side of town is this one on Tuesday night. Two of Essex's finest go head-to-head at Bridge Avenue in this Conference South fixture. The Urchins are new at this level after winning promotion via the play-offs from the Isthmian League a few months ago and have found the initial going tough, sitting just a point above the relegation zone after 14 matches. Chelmsford, by contrast, have become regular challengers for promotion and are right in amongst it again this time round. City start the game in better form but derby conditions could ensure that counts for nothing. TICKET INFO

THURROCK v EAST THURROCK UNITED (Tuesday 30 October, 745pm)
Elsewhere in Essex the same night we've got another derby between these two Isthmian League clubs in an FA Trophy replay. After drawing 1-1 on Saturday, these two must do it all again on Tuesday. The hosts are currently struggling at the bottom of the Premier Division but are capable of good football, as I witnessed on Non-League Day at Wealdstone, so a victory for them shouldn't be ruled out. TICKET INFO

WEALDSTONE v HAMPTON & RICHMOND BORO (Monday 29 October, 745pm)
Arguably the game of the week in the Isthmian League takes place at Grosvenor Vale on Monday. The Stones made the play-offs last season and look all set to repeat the feat this time round. Although they're only sixth at the moment, they have a game or two in hand on their main rivals. That's not the case though when it comes to Hampton who have played the same amount of games and are one point clear at the top, five ahead of Wealdstone. It looks like a cracking game on paper and should produce a decent size crowd despite being played in midweek. Don't forget, if you're a Premier League or Football League season-ticket holder you'll get in for half-price (£5). TICKET INFO

COLLIERS WOOD UTD v RAYNES PARK VALE (Wednesday 31 October, 730pm)
For fans of Step 5/Level 9 football I've decided to plump for the 'A3 derby' between these two south-west London rivals from the Combined Counties League. The sides are well matched with neither having had a great start to the season. Having watched Vale try and play football and attack on a heavy pitch last weekend, I know they're capable of entertaining. Give it a go if you're in the area. TICKET INFO

Also this week I'd like to give a quick mention to Harrow Borough who are offering FREE ENTRY to their friendly against Potters Bar Town on Monday 29 October at 745pm. 

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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