Sunday 8 September 2013

TLFG: 9-15 September 2013

Hello there good people, hope you're having a good one and welcome to TLFG.

Well it's all over for another year - yes, Non-League Day 2013 came and went and made quite an impact if I do say so myself.

Hours and hours of preparation and pounds and pounds of expense led to great media coverage and ultimately thousands of extra fans turned out to watch games around the country.

This was of course the goal so I think we can say it was a success.

As a user of social media, one of my highlights of the day was getting #nonleagueday to trend on Twitter - in fact it became the fifth most popular trend in the UK for the whole day!

Personally I spent the day at Harrow Borough, a side I've followed for 25 years. I moved close to the ground as a teenager and soon started going along with QPR then out of my price range.

I travelled home and away for about five years before moving away to university. These days I tend to only go once or twice a season but always look out for their results as I try to keep a link.

Ahead of yesterday's game against Dulwich Hamlet, I'd contacted the club to see what kind of attendance they would class as a success given that they were running some special offers for Non-League Day.

I was told 250 was the target and 300+ would be great.

Yesterday I managed to rustle up a group of eight, only one of whom had been to a non-league match before.

Thankfully a very healthy crowd of 313 turned up and there was a great sigh of relief on my part.

The Dulwich fans are a great bunch - lots of colour, lots of noise and good numbers, they contributed a lot to the atmosphere.

Their side scored an early goal and looked like cruising to an easy win but they couldn't get a second and Harrow equalised before the break. The second half was pretty action packed and could've gone either way but a big deflection put Borough ahead before they wrapped up the win with a third in injury time.

My companions were generally impressed with their experience and the standard of football and gave me the impression they would happily go again - we'll see.

The best moment of the whole day for me was watching my friend's son and his friend (about 10 years old) on the edge of their seats, jumping up and down totally captivated by the action as if they had been fans for years. It is a cliche but winning over youngsters like this is absolutely key for non-league clubs as they love football and are the least likely to be able to afford to watch games at professional clubs.

Anyway, that's enough about my week. 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.

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).

Friday 11 October, 8pm - Montenegro, World Cup qualifier, Wembley
Tuesday 15 October, TBC - Poland, World Cup qualifier, Wembley

Thursday 12 September, 7pm - West Bromwich Albion, U21 Premier League

Wednesday 18 September, 745pm - FC Basel, Champions League
Sunday 6 October, 11am - Manchester City, U21 Premier League (must buy in advance)

Tuesday 10 September, 745pm - Oman, friendly

Saturday 14 September, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, Premier League
Tuesday 24 September, 8pm - Everton, League Cup (on sale 10 Sep)
Saturday 5 October, 3pm - Stoke City, Premier League
Saturday 23 November, 3pm - Swansea City, Premier League

Saturday 14 September, 3pm - Norwich City, Premier League
Thursday 19 September, 805pm - Tromso, Europa League (on sale 9 Sep)
Sunday 27 October, 4pm - Hull City, Premier League (on sale 12 Sep)

Saturday 21 September, 3pm - Everton, Premier League
Tuesday 24 September, 745pm, Cardiff City, League Cup (on sale 10 Sep)
Saturday 19 October, 530pm - Manchester City, Premier League
Saturday 23 November, 530pm - Chelsea, Premier League
Thursday 26 December, 3pm - Arsenal, Premier League
Saturday 22 March, 3pm - Manchester United, Premier League
Saturday 5 April, 3pm - Liverpool, Premier League
Saturday 3 May, 3pm - Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League

This week the best prices are to be found at clubs who are playing in the U21 Premier League.

Probably the most high profile is Arsenal's match against West Bromwich Albion which is being held at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night. Tickets for this are only £4 adults and £2 everyone else. It's not often you can see a game at a great venue like this for such a price.

Over at the Boleyn Ground on Friday, it's West Ham United v Manchester City. They haven't published the ticket details yet but it's usually around £3 if my memory serves me correctly.

Finally, Chelsea are also in action against Norwich City. Although it will be cheap again, they are using Brentford's ground for this game so don't go to Stamford Bridge.

Elsewhere Crystal Palace are using the international break to host a rather quirky friendly against Oman on Tuesday. Tickets are £10 in advance but go up to £12 on the day.

Looking ahead a couple of weeks, there's more good value to be found in the next round of the League Cup.

Once again West Ham have the best deal in place as they welcome fellow Premier League side Cardiff City. It's £15 in advance and £20 on the day.

Over at Craven Cottage we have another all Premier League tie between Fulham and Everton and there's a flat rate of £20.

Lastly, Watford entertain Norwich City with tickets ranging from £15-£20.

Up at White Hart Lane next week, Tottenham Hotspur welcome Norwegian side Tromso in the Europa League. Tickets for this are £25 and £30 and go on general sale tomorrow (Monday) morning.

Coming back to this week, in non-league football, Southern Counties East League side Fisher have extended their Non-League Day deals to Monday night's game against Cray Valley PM. This means if you're a season-ticket holder or member of a Premier League or Football League club or a member of any supporters' trust you'll get in for £3.50.

If you know of any other deals I may have missed or your club is running a promotion let me know.

There are over 80 matches in the London area this week so there's no excuse not to see a game, unless you've got a really good one.

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.

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
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London match map 9-15 September 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.


Top of the bill this week is this game at White Hart Lane. It's still very early in the season but these two have made reasonable starts. Spurs are up in sixth but must still be smarting after losing the derby match against Arsenal last time out. The Canaries aren't far behind in ninth with one win, one draw and one defeat. When you dig back into the form guide it's also interesting to note that the two have played each other five tiimes over the last two seasons and Norwich are unbeaten in the last four, having won twice. Bogey team for Tottenham? (Premier League, Saturday 14 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

A bit further west we have this derby. The Hornets came flying out of the blocks and two impressive early wins put them top of the Championship. Since then, Gianfranco Zola's side seem to have run out of steam with two draws and a defeat seeing them slip to seventh. The Addicks on the other hand seem to be going in the other direction. After a very sluggish start, they got their first win last time out, inflicting a first defeat of the season on a very decent Leicester side. Historically, matches between these two are usually close. The last time they met in January, Charlton won 4-3 so I'm hoping for more of the same. (Championship, Saturday 14 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

The hottest side in all of England right now are the mighty O's of Leyton. If Watford came flying out of the blocks then these guys have been blasted from a canon and are still yet to reach maximum velocity! With five wins out of five, it's no surprise they are sitting proudly at the summit of League One. They'll probably fancy their chances in this one too as newly promoted Vale have made a rather indifferent start. A narrow win in their last match against a fairly hapless Carlisle side shouldn't have the Londoners quaking in their boots. (League One, Saturday 14 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

Nothing's really taking my fancy in League Two this week but this match in the Conference Premier has a lot going for it. Edgar Davids' third-placed Bees take on the fourth-placed Imps knowing a win could potentially put them top. Both sides ran into the buffers on Non-League Day with defeats to FC Halifax Town and Salisbury City respectively. The previous meeting between the two at Underhill in February 2011 ended in a 4-2 win for Barnet. (Conference Premier, Saturday 14 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

After a disappointing season last time, Bromley have made a fine start to this campaign. Four wins from their first six have put them among the leaders and they would be top if they hadn't lost to Eastleigh on Saturday. Marcus Gayle's Swans came even closer to the drop than their hosts last time but have also shown improvement this term with three wins putting them tenth. In recent years these matches invariably end in a draw but the Ravens of Hayes Lane may just have the edge this time. (Conference South, Saturday 14 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

The match of the week in the Isthmian League pits the Urchins of Essex against the Stones of Middlesex. At the time of writing it's third versus second. Last season Hornchurch competed in the Conference South but found it tough going and got relegated. It was a season which ended in disappointment for Wealdstone too as they lost in the Isthmian Premier play-offs for the second season running. They started this season with a disappointing string of three draws but have won the next five to move within a point of current top dogs Kingstonian. After losing their season opener against Lewes, Hornchurch have gone on a seven-match unbeaten run to get right in among the leaders. Looks pretty tasty. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Tuesday 10 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

Brought forward to Monday so as not to clash with England's televised World Cup qualifier in Ukraine, this derby should be competitive. There's no particular animosity between these sides but there's an extra dimension this year as Hendon have become tenants at Harrow, moving from Wembley FC over the summer. Both sides have made lacklustre starts and have identical records so far in terms of wins, draws and defeats. However, fantastic wins over well fancied opponents on Non-League Day will see them both come into this in good spirits. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Monday 9 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

This weekend also sees plenty of action in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup. First up we've got this Essex derby. The strange thing about this game is that neither club have their own ground and the ones they do use are just over a mile apart. You also feel they should swap grounds as they're closer to their traditional homes (i.e. Romford's Thurrock home is closer to Grays than Romford and the opposite is true of Grays' home at Aveley). Grays won the Isthmian League Division 1 North last season and have a made a strong start to life in the Premier Division. Romford still play in the ILD1 and always seem to drift along in midtable with the same true this season. Cup ties at this stage can and often do go against the form guide so this is anyone's. (FA Cup, Saturday 14 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

Cockfosters, probably most famous for being the northern terminus of the London Underground's Piccadilly Line, gained promotion to the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division last season. They've found the going a little tougher this season and it's not likely to get much easier when they welcome AFC Rushden & Diamonds for this FA Cup tie. If their name is familiar but not immediately obvious to you it's because they are the reincarnation of a club that rose as high as what is now League One before financial problems saw their demise in 2011. The reformed side now compete in the United Counties League at a parallel level to Cockfosters but should start as favourites and bring a good following. (FA Cup, Saturday 14 September, 3pm. Club info)

Lastly this week I've gone for this FA Cup tie purely because it's Wembley. It's quite fun to go and see them in action just down the road from the more famous stadium which you can see clearly from the pitch at Vale Farm. They are, however, having a shocking season thus far and will definitely start as second favourites in this one. (FA Cup, Saturday 14 September, 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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