Sunday, 7 July 2013

TLFG: 8-14 July 2013

Hello there. Welcome to TLFG, glad to have you on board.

My weekend hasn't been my own so I'm actually writing this on Friday and using the 'scheduled publish' feature of the Blogger system for the first time. If I seem to have missed some major happening in the world that took place on Saturday or Sunday then you'll probably know why.

On a personal level, the week in football got off to an unusual but surprising and very enjoyable start.

I began two weeks annual leave on Sunday and early on Monday morning I received a message from an old schoolfriend I hadn't seen since the mid-'90s.

He'd been in touch a few weeks before about meeting up but his diary was packed so couldn't confirm anything. Anyway, on Monday morning he got in touch to let me know that he was finally free that lunchtime if I could make it up to north London.

The offer of lunch with an old chum was made even more tempting by the fact that he was working at Tottenham Hotspur and I'd be meeting him at White Hart Lane.

The North Stand viewed from the tunnel entrance at White Hart Lane
Regular readers will know that I've paid a couple of visits to this ground since TLFG launched in October 2011 so it's a place I'm becoming quite familiar with.

If you've never been to London before, to give you some idea of how big the city is, it took me the best part of 90 minutes to get there on public transport from Shepherd's Bush - a distance of roughly 10 miles (16km) as the crow flies.

As part of my visit he threw in a mini tour which took in the Spurs Hall of Fame, players' tunnel, pitchside, the directors' box and a tasty lunch in the club restaurant overlooking the pitch.

Apparently he worked at QPR previously and some of the stories he revealed from his time there (a good few years ago) raised my eyebrows and that's really saying something!

Apart from that, the rest of the week has been all about Non-League Day.

On Wednesday the Football Conference released its fixtures giving us an indication of the first few teams who will be hosting matches.

Today (Friday) we also received the FA Vase fixtures too which gives us nearly 150 more games that will be played on the day.


I had intended to put all of these games into a match map which you could have a look at and did get it started but it's only got the Conference fixtures and about 60 of the Vase games on it so far. Here's a link to it anyway but remember that it is very much a work in progress.

We also squeezed in another planning meeting on Wednesday night where some interesting ideas and potentially exciting developments were discussed.

So back to the week ahead - it's much busier than the one just gone with many more clubs getting into the swing of things.

Remember to let me know what you've been up to and if you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. Also keep the general correspondence coming, I enjoy answering your questions and offering advice if I can.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via Facebook or Twitter.


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).

Wednesday 14 August, 8pm - Scotland, international friendly, Wembley

EMIRATES CUP at ARSENAL
Saturday 3 August:
Galatasaray v FC Porto, 2pm
Arsenal v Napoli, 420pm
Sunday 4 August:
Napoli v FC Porto, 2pm
Arsenal v Galatasaray, 420pm

CHELSEA
Nothing currently available

CRYSTAL PALACE
Nothing currently available

FULHAM
Monday 5 August, 8pm - Real Betis, friendly
Saturday 10 August, 3pm - Parma, friendly

Saturday 10 August, 530pm - RCD Espanyol, friendly

Saturday 10 August, 3pm - Paços de Ferreira, friendly

There are over 40 matches in the London area this week. However, this number could change as friendlies, particularly involving non-league teams, are often arranged, cancelled or have their venue changed at quite short notice. Therefore, always check with clubs before you travel. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found in the following 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 map page to make sure you get all the information.

MATCH MAP
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 8-14 July 2013 in a larger map

Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. Add your own in the comments section below.

TLFG TOP 10

1. Boreham Wood v West Ham United - the Wood only dropped out of the running for a Conference South play-off place in the final few matches of last season which was no mean feat given they got some of the lowest crowds. On Wednesday they welcome Premier League club West Ham United as they begin another blockbuster pre-season campaign which sees a number of big clubs send sides to Meadow Park. It's rumoured that the Hammers will be sending a strong squad so at £12 a ticket it could be a bargain. (Friendly, 10 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. Welling United v Leyton Orient - although not as glamorous as West Ham, Conference Premier newboys Welling have managed to lure Orient's first XI to Park View Road for this game on Friday. The O's had a great end to their season and a place in the League One play-offs eluded them by just three points. The Wings are a club very much on the up having clinched the Conference South title back in April. Welling are also visited by a Millwall XI on Tuesday 9 July. (Friendly, 12 July, 730pm. Club info)

3. Dartford v Dagenham & Redbridge - another non-league club with a decent guest booker are Dartford. After entertaining League Two side AFC Wimbledon in their first game, they next welcome Dagenham & Redbridge from the same division. Again a very strong side is expected to be fielded by the visitors and lets face it, there's not much difference in quality between a top half Conference club and a bottom half League Two one. (Friendly, 13 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Dulwich Hamlet v Dagenham & Redbridge - prior to their trip to Dartford, the Daggers head to Champion Hill for an interesting game against Isthmian League Division 1 South champions Dulwich. In theory this should be an easier fixture for the pro side as there are three divisions separating them but like Welling, Hamlet are riding the crest of the wave and should prove to be a bit of handful especially if they field the highly rated Erhun Öztümer. (Friendly, 9 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. AFC Wimbledon v FC United of Manchester - two clubs run entirely by their supporters meet at Kingsmeadow on Saturday. AFC Wimbledon was set up in 2002 by Dons fans when their beloved Wimbledon were moved to Milton Keynes and ultimately transformed into MK Dons. FC United was formed by disgruntled Manchester United fans in 2005 in protest at the Glazer takeover. So far the hosts have climbed the English football pyramid from tier 10 to tier four (League Two) while their Mancunian opponents are still in tier seven. Despite this there should still be a decent crowd. Ticket details, however, have been hard to come by so contact the club for more info.  (Friendly, 13 July, 3pm. Club info)

6. Sutton United v Arsenal XI - at first glance the U's seem to have the ultimate pre-season calendar with several big clubs coming to visit. However, closer inspection will reveal that said big clubs can only possibly be sending reserve and youth team players hence the reason this game isn't higher up the top 10. Like Boreham Wood, Sutton just missed out on the Conference South play-offs and are usually one of the best sides at this level. With the Gunners playing a game in Indonesia two days later it is unlikely that any of the big names will feature. The following day a Fulham XI will be heading to Gander Green Lane so book a hotel and stay over! (Friendly, 12 July, 730pm. Ticket info)

7. Enfield Town v Aston Villa XI - up in the far north of town, Isthmian Premier side Enfield welcome a side from Premier League club Aston Villa. Again with the main Villa squad in Germany at the time it's going to be reserves and youth players on show but for only a fiver you can't go too far wrong. (Friendly, 13 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Hampton & Richmond Borough v Queens Park Rangers XI - it seems to have become a staple of pre-season that the Loftus Road club send a side of youngsters, rejects and trialists down to the Beveree. Again Harry Redknapp's first choice players will probably be unavailable as the game is sandwiched between first XI fixtures at Exeter City on Thursday and Peterborough United on Saturday but Hampton is on the way between the two so some half-decent players could be on show. The hosts will want to do well as their season went badly off the rails last year after getting off to a flying start. (Friendly, 12 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

9. Staines Town v Woking - Conference South versus Conference Premier in what could probably be described as a derby. The Cards enjoyed a decent return to the top tier of non-league football last season while Staines missed relegation by a whisker. (Saturday 13 July, 3pm. Club info)

10. Thamesmead Town v Ebbsfleet United - this time last year these clubs were three divisions apart now the gap has been reduced to only one. Little Thamesmead, with an average crowd of 57, defied all the odds to go on a sensational winning run which saw them win promotion to the Isthmian Premier. Ebbsfleet on the other hand tanked, losing exactly half their league games on their way out of the Conference Premier. Although the visitors aren't technically a London club, they play just outside the M25 and this will have a bit of derby feel to it too if anyone turns up! (Saturday 13 July, 3pm. Club 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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