Sunday, 4 November 2012

TLFG: 5-11 November 2012

Hi there, it's been a busy old day so apologies for the later than normal publication time again.

I began working on this first thing this morning, went to QPR v Reading, did a bit more and then went to a Non-League Day debrief and brainstorm ahead of next year's event.

My trip to Loftus Road was again underwhelming. Although I believe Rangers did enough to win (they drew 1-1), it would have been far from convincing and the cracks are still plainly there for all to see.

How long Mark Hughes remains in charge is unclear but it can't go on much longer if QPR stay winless - the home game against Southampton in two weeks will almost certainly be his last if three points are not forthcoming.

Personally I'm in no hurry to see him leave. His track record as a manager is generally good and at some sides, notably Fulham, he has been slow to get going but usually turns it round.

QPR have picked up a 'hire and fire' reputation over the last few years when it comes to managers, with things getting particularly farcical under the Flavio Briatore regime and I'd like to see that trend end.

Neil Warnock survived for nearly two years and was perhaps a little unfortunate to be dismissed when he was. Prior to that the only manager to have had any kind of sticking power was Ian Holloway who lasted five years, suffering one relegation (which was almost unavoidable), a play-off loss and a promotion.

Like Warnock he was a character and a motivator and he brought success. Hughes is far more guarded and reserved and as one journalist friend recently told me, those kind of managers don't usually do too well in W12.

Esteban Granero sends a free-kick over the bar as QPR push for victory
The one name regularly touted to replace him is that of Harry Redknapp who definitely falls into the 'character' category. Given the choice right now, I'm sure most QPR fans would take him like a shot.

That's enough about my football team, how about the Non-League Day team?

Well a few of us met up earlier this evening to discuss what went well and where to go next.

I say some of us because I'm very pleased to say that one of our volunteers has landed a media job at Exeter City so was in the process of moving down to Devon to start work tomorrow - very well done to him.

Without going into too many details of the meeting, it was generally decided that for NLD to continue to expand we need to get some kind of funding.

Over the last three years the whole campaign has been bankrolled by myself and Mike Bayly which has personally cost us quite a bit of money.

We were aided last year by some sponsorship from satellite channel Premier Sports for which we were very grateful but there was nothing at all this year.

Given what we have managed to achieve with a virtual pittance, it makes you think what we could do with a few quid behind us.

Fundraising events could be the way to go over the next few months with new members of the team coming up with some very innovative ideas.

We're also going to try and get much more multimedia content out there but that costs pretty serious money.

There are also a number of grants we're looking to apply for which we think we could be good candidates for so there's plenty of work to do.

If you can think of any ideas or know anyone who might want to sponsor the event next year then please get in touch.

Lastly this week I want to give a special mention to Michael Cox the editor of 'Zonal Marking'. He was kind enough to give TLFG  a simple mention on Twitter the other day and sent more traffic its way than ever before. Thanks a lot Michael!

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
Wednesday 5 December, 745pm - FC Nordsjaelland, Champions League (on sale 9 Nov)

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

Saturday 17 November, 3pm - Southampton, 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 

Monday 19 November, 8pm - Stoke City, Premier League
Saturday 1 December, 1245pm - Chelsea, Premier League
Sunday 9 December, 4pm - Liverpool, Premier League (on sale 6 Nov)

Elsewhere, League One side Brentford have cut all their ticket prices for the visit of Carlisle United on Saturday 10 November. If you know a season-ticket holder at the Griffin Park club, they can even take you along for FREE. Get all the details here.

Over the next seven days there are over 80 matches happening in the London area. Aside from all the normal league action, we've also got a rematch of the 1872 FA Cup final at The Oval, FA Trophy ties and lots of county cup 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
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London match map 5-11 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.

This week's top 10 has been particularly hard to compile as there are a lot of good games, I could easily have included 25. Here's the final cut, feel free to mention your own in the comments section below.


CHELSEA v SHAKHTAR DONETSK (Wednesday 7 November, 745pm)
After a massive Manchester United 'double play' last week, the Blues have another big seven days to look forward to. First up are Ukrainian side Shakhtar in this Champions League group match before Liverpool come to town at the weekend in the Premier League. I've highlighted this one as it's supposedly part of a superior competition and I believe Shakhtar have a better chance of winning having beaten Chelsea in the reverse fixture a couple of weeks ago to top the group. Domestically they are in imperious form having won all 14 of their fixtures so far this season, scoring an average of three a game. Although the west London club also made a fine start to the campaign, they've started to wobble a little and lost their lead of the league on Saturday after only managing a 1-1 draw at Swansea. Shakhtar to get at least a point. TICKET INFO

ARSENAL v FULHAM (Saturday 10 November, 3pm)
Next up we've got this north versus west London derby. I think it's fair to say that the Gunners are underachieving so far this season while the Cottagers are overachieving. Currently the sides lie sixth and seventh in the Premier League tied on 15 points. How Fulham manage to do so well almost every season given their relatively meagre fan base is pretty impressive and makes QPR fans like me more than a little envious. Having seen Arsene Wenger's side play Rangers last weekend and scrape to a 1-0 win against 10 men, I think the west Londoners should feel confident of being able to draw if not take all three points. Although that would be an historic achievement as they've never won away against Arsenal ever. TICKET INFO

CRYSTAL PALACE v IPSWICH TOWN (Tuesday 6 November, 8pm)
After much deliberation I opted to highlight this game over Charlton v Cardiff as not only does it pit two new managers against each other but Palace are currently London's top club outside the Premier League and are playing really well. Having recently lost boss Dougie Freedman to Bolton, the Eagles installed Blackpool boss and all-round football character Ian Holloway as his replacement on Saturday meaning this will be his first game in charge. Ipswich on the other hand have made a terrible start and opted to bring former Wolves manager Mick McCarthy in over Paul Jewell on Thursday. His first match came against Birmingham on Saturday and saw them win 1-0. However, an unbeaten run of 11 games culminating in a 2-0 victory over Blackburn this weekend should mean Palace are too good for their opponents on this occasion. TICKET INFO

BROMLEY v STAINES TOWN (Saturday 10 November, 3pm)
Bromley made it to the FA Cup first round on Saturday and gave a good account of themselves as they bowed out at League Two promotion contenders Fleetwood Town. That was the first match in a series of three cup games over a week. The next is against Harrow Borough in the London Senior Cup on Tuesday for which admission has been reduced and the third is this big FA Trophy tie against Conference South rivals Staines. Marcus Gayle's side (he of former Wimbledon fame) have had a pretty decent start to the season and are just a point adrift of the play-off places so should provide challenging opposition for the hosts who have only won two of their last five. TICKET INFO

CRAY WANDERERS v WELLING UNITED (Sunday 11 November, 3pm)
Bromley's tenants Cray have also been drawn at home in the FA Trophy so their tie moves back a day to Sunday. And what a tie it is with fellow south-east Londoners Welling set to pay a visit. Although the hosts play at a lower level this could possibly draw a bigger crowd than the game above because of the derby nature of this game. Until their 3-0 defeat to Wealdstone on Saturday, Cray were on a five-game unbeaten run and climbing the Isthmian Premier table quite nicely. The Wings have been in fairly similar shape recently but play in the Conference South, a level above, and are once again well placed for a tilt at the play-offs. On paper Welling should win but Cray should give them plenty to think about. TICKET INFO

THURROCK v BRACKLEY TOWN (Saturday 10 November, 3pm)
Former Stevenage, Gillingham and Barnet boss Mark Stimson is currently in charge at Isthmian Premier Division club Thurrock. Sadly his reign hasn't begun well with only one league win mustered all season. However, until they lost by a solitary goal at Bognor on Saturday, it appeared a corner may have been turned with the team putting together a five-match unbeaten run. They'll need to be in good form when Brackley arrive for this FA Trophy tie as they are currently two points clear at the top of the Conference North having lost only once in the league since the campaign began. Again the visitors should triumph but a chilly afternoon in Essex on the north banks of the Thames could be a leveller. TICKET INFO

WEALDSTONE v CORBY TOWN (Saturday 10 November, 3pm)
Last up this week in the FA Trophy section we have Wealdstone. Last season they defied the odds to make it as far as the semi-finals where they eventually went out to Conference National side Newport County over two legs. The Isthmian Premier club will be looking to repeat the feat again this year and in many ways will start as favourites even though they play a level below their Conference North opponents. Once again the Stones are doing well, winning an incredible eight of their last nine games (the other was a draw with Thurrock), while Corby are winning a few, losing a few and generally hovering around midtable. The Northamptonshire club also came unstuck in the FA Cup against Isthmian Premier strugglers Hendon a couple of weeks ago so they look there for the taking. TICKET INFO

VCD ATHLETIC v ERITH & BELVEDERE (Saturday 10 November, 3pm)
A bit further down the pyramid at Step 5/Level 9 we have this game between two of the best sides in the Kent League. VCD made a good start but have lost their way a little bit since losing to Erith & Belvedere in the FA Vase three weeks ago. Only a draw with Deal and a two-legged defeat to Corinthian in the Premier Division Cup have resulted since. Nevertheless they are still fourth in the table and should provide a decent contest for the Deres who are second, two points behind local rivals Erith Town. This match is also a derby so there's plenty at stake. CLUB INFO

COCKFOSTERS v LONDON LIONS (Saturday 10 November, 3pm)
Fans of Step 6/Level 10 football could do a lot worse than head to Chalk Lane on Saturday to watch the current Spartan South Midlands Division One leaders play host to local rivals London Lions who are third with three games in hand. Cockfosters is probably most famous for being the northern terminus of the London Underground's Piccadilly Line and the ground lies just over the road making it one of the easiest to get to on public transport. Not only are both sides doing well in the league, they're both going well in the FA Vase too. Keep your eye on both as the season progresses. CLUB INFO

ROYAL ENGINEERS v WANDERERS (Wednesday 7 November, 7pm)
Finally this week I've gone for this wild card/novelty option. On Wednesday these two old clubs will go head-to-head in a repeat of the first ever FA Cup final which took place in 1872. The match will be played, as it was then, at The Oval in Kennington which is now one of the country's best cricket grounds. Wanderers won the original encounter 1-0. Although both sides currently compete at a level below that which TLFG normally covers, they are both genuine former FA Cup winners albeit a very long time ago. If you're a fan of football history this could be the game for you. 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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