Sunday 1 September 2013

TLFG: 2-8 September 2013

Hello there and welcome to this special edition of TLFG.

After 11 months of preparation we're almost there - Saturday is Non-League Day 2013.

When I tentatively set up the event back in the summer of 2010 as a bit of fun on Facebook, I never dreamed I'd be here getting ready for a fourth edition.

The 'chatter' on the interweb is certainly starting to hot up with lots of clubs coming out of the woodwork at the last moment with some great deals to tempt new fans through the gates.

If you didn't know, Non-League Day (NLD) always takes place on an international weekend when there's a break in the Premier League and Championship fixtures. This means there's a good chance to elevate the semi-professional and grassroots game into the limelight.

It's just days away!

There are League One and Two games on as well but in London there is only one at Dagenham & Redbridge so the clash is minimal.

Unsurprisingly, I'm going to devote the rest of this week's offering entirely to NLD and some of the offers and events that are taking place. There are a few matches happening before Saturday in various cups and leagues and they're all on the match map as usual but I won't be highlighting them.

Don't forget, we (at NLD) still want to receive fan photos so if you're going to a game, heading off on holiday or just relaxing at home we'd love to get a picture of you in either one of our t-shirts or holding up one of these.

There's still plenty to do over the final few days but ultimately it's all about gaining publicity so make sure you tell your friends or if you've got your own website or blog and would like to support us by displaying one of our banners then I'd really appreciate it.

Anyway, that's enough about me. 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, Twitter or even by good old email.

There are almost 70 matches in the London area this week, with over 40 on NLD itself so there's every opportunity to take part.

As always, check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

From the ridiculous to the sublime - what you could witness at Harrow or any other non-league ground on Saturday

 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.

Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

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 2-8 September 2013 in a larger map

Next up is a list of clubs, in alphabetical order, where I know of special deals or events that are being offered on Non-League Day. This is not an exhaustive compilation as I know some clubs have plans but have yet to declare them so I will add more as the week goes along, make sure you check back for updates.

The Tangerines are a great little club located just down the road from Heathrow airport. For the second year running they're offering a really generous deal to get you to come and spend an afternoon with them. On Saturday they entertain fellow west Londoners North Greenford United in a Southern League match and they're running an excellent 'Pay What You Want' scheme. The going rate for adults is £8 so bear this in mind when making your contribution. DEAL INFO

Over in east London there's some value to be had at Oakside where you and a friend can go together and get a two-person ticket for £12, saving you £4, to watch them play Dereham Town in the Isthmian League Division 1 North. Also, all season-ticket holders at 'any London Football League club' get in for a fiver. I presume this includes Premier League teams too but check with the club in advance just to be on the safe side. The other great thing about Barkingside is that they have a Tube station by the same name right next to the ground so it's really easy to get to. DEAL INFO

At the other end of Heathrow's runway to Ashford, we have these guys. Formed only recently, B&F are contesting their first season of competitive football and they've made plenty of effort to make sure their local community know they exist over the summer. They have also fully embraced NLD and announced earlier today that it will be only £1 for adults and concessions with accompanied U16s going for free. Worcester Park are the visitors in this Combined Counties League Division One match. DEAL INFO

It will be an afternoon of both celebration and mourning at Alwyns Lane on Saturday. While the club will be getting into the spirit of NLD, they'll also be paying their respects to former U19 player John Beaumont who died recently. There will be a minute's applause before the Southern League game against Barton Rovers and youngsters (anyone under 19) are being especially encouraged to come along with admission reduced to just £1. Adults who hold season-tickets for any other club will also get in for only £4. There will also be a collection held for the charity set up in Mr Beaumont's name. DEAL INFO

One great reason to watch Cray on NLD is simply for the reason that they are the oldest club in London being formed as they were in 1860. Aside from that they are also using their Isthmian League match against Carshalton Athletic to raise funds for the 'Breast Cancer Campaign' with a percentage of gate receipts going to the charity. To help boost attendance, season-ticket holders from any club at any level will get in for half-price (£5) while a paying adult can bring up to four children in for free. The Wands currently groundshare at Bromley. DEAL INFO

This Southern Counties East League side have recently moved in with Cray Valley PM a few miles from their traditional home patch. Starting on NLD, the Dockers have decided to cut their admission charges from £8 to £6 for the rest of the season to try and gain new supporters in the area. Erith are one of the favourites for the title this season and have started well - Corinthian are their opponents. CLUB INFO

In the same league we have the Fish who have been huge supporters of NLD since it began. In a former life they were known as Fisher Athletic and were one of the best clubs outside the Football League but their fortunes faded and they were wound up in 2009. Fisher were born soon after and are run by a supporters' trust. On Saturday Woodstock Sports come to Champion Hill and the club are offering half-price admission (£3.50 adults) to all Premier League and Football League season-ticket holders and members plus members of any other supporters' trust teamDEAL INFO

The unofficial showpiece game of NLD in possibly the whole south of England is taking place at the Beveree. Isthmian Premier club Hampton are regularly cited by groundhoppers as having one of the nicest grounds around - located in a fairly swish part of south-west London close to the Thames and not far from Henry VIII's famous Hampton Court Palace. On Saturday they welcome Maidstone United who are the giants of the division having been a Football League team a couple of decades ago. Like Fisher, they too fell on hard times and have been climbing the leagues again in recent years. Despite their relatively lowly league status they regularly get four-figure attendances so are expected to bring a few to this one. Adding to the occasion will be the presence of anti-discrimination charity 'Kick It Out' who have been working closely with NLD for a couple of years now. To top it all there are deals on admission too. All U16s get in for free while season-ticket holders at other clubs get in for half price (£5). DEAL INFO

At long last my beloved Harrow are at home on Non-League Day and they've landed a fairly plum fixture against Dulwich Hamlet. Boro have been fighting relegation for about all but two or three years of the 25 I've been following them but they have always somehow avoided the drop. This season has started in similar vein but they got a precious win at Leiston on Saturday to raise their spirits. Dulwich have been in the doldrums for almost as long but over the last two or three years they've got stronger and stronger and finally won promotion back to the Isthmian Premier last season and are among the early pacesetters this term. Dealswise, Harrow are offering half-price admission (£5) to Premier and Football League season-ticket holders and members. It's also £1 for unaccompanied U16s and free for those who attend with a paying adult. Unless something dramatic happens, it's where I'm likely to spend my NLD. DEAL INFO

Another incredibly tempting game is taking place at Kingsmeadow where the K's, current Isthmian League leaders, welcome Grays Athletic who are sixth at the time of writing. If that fact alone isn't enough to tempt you then the fine ground and discounted admission could. There's a half price (£5) for season-ticket holders deal in place here too but it's open to fans of any team from any sport at any level! It's also free for U16s. DEAL INFO

There are discounts for pro club fans too at Chestnut Avenue for this Southern League game against AFC Hayes. Not only do season-ticket holders get in for half-price (£4) but so does anyone in possession of a ticket stub for a Premier League or Championship game. It's also completely free for U16s, students and armed forces personnel. Bargainous! Sitting very much in Watford's catchment area I hope a few Hornets fans will make the trip. CLUB INFO

It's more about the event than the deals with this Kent Invicta League club who have their U12s kicking off proceedings with a game at midday, followed by a bit of coaching and then the main match against Lewisham Borough at 3pm. The club have also invited some local pensioners groups and charities along too. Admission is only £4 so represents fine value as well. CLUB INFO

Another Isthmian Premier club to be getting in on the act are Thamesmead Town. The Mead enjoyed a fantastic run towards the end of last season to earn them promotion via the play-offs. Despite their success they are strikingly under supported and could do with a few extra fans through the gate on Saturday when they play Wingate & Finchley. Premier League and Championship season-ticket holders will be admitted for the price of a programme - just £2! Living very much in the shadow of Charlton Athletic, their fans could find this a particularly convenient option. DEAL INFO

Back on the west side of town, Southern League Division 1 Central side Uxbridge entertain newly promoted Egham Town. To get as many people in as possible, they're offering free entry to all Football League season-ticket holders. Again I presume this includes Premier League sides too but check with the club to make sure. DEAL INFO

The most senior non-league club in action on NLD in the capital are Welling who play Kidderminster Harriers in this Conference Premier match. They have all kinds of deals on the go and largely depend on what time you turn up. Before 2pm all adults get in for £10, while after that it rises to £15. The '2pm price' remains in place until kick-off for all Premier and Football League season-ticket holders, plus armed forces and emergency services personnel. There is also a family ticket for £25 and lower prices for concessions, students and U12s. DEAL INFO

In the deep south of TLFG's catchment area (yes, even further down than Croydon), there's a deal to be had at The Leafe's fine Church Road ground. Greenwich Borough are in town for a Southern Counties East League game and, like Uxbridge, it's free for all 'League Club' season-ticket holders. There's even a special offer for Crystal Palace fans for their following game too. DEAL INFO

PLEASE NOTE - there are many other teams playing at home on Non-League Day who are competing in the FA Vase. Rules in this competition make it very hard for clubs to offer discounts on admission so please don't think that your local club isn't making an effort as they may be constrained in what they can do. It is also worth noting that lots of clubs who play in the FA Vase charge £5 or less to get in anyway whoever you are so make sure you have a good look through the match map before you make your final decision. If you're not a season-ticket holder or member at another club and don't qualify for many of the discounts above, such a match could be your best option.

Well I think that's it, for now. I'm pretty confident one or two more clubs will come forward with something before Saturday so do check back as I said before. 

Finally, please do try and get to a non-league game this Saturday. Every individual who attends matches at this level makes a real difference and our game needs to be strong from top to bottom to survive and thrive. Thanks.

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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