I'd liked to have had something special in place to mark the occasion but I hadn't expected to be in the country.
Sadly another family member is struggling badly with illness and my trip to Ireland to visit them was called off. I'd therefore like to dedicate this piece to them - so thanks a lot Rory for all the good times, encouragement, advice and especially for the words of support following my Mum's death earlier this year.
Being a big sports fan, I'm sure he'd be impressed that I finally managed to take in a whopping two whole games this week!
On Tuesday I went to Wembley to see England's uninspiring 1-0 loss to Germany and on Saturday I went to watch QPR for the first time in a couple of months as they entertained fellow Londoners Charlton Athletic.
As always Wembley looked stunning under lights and it was interesting to see all the new shops and leisure facilities that have recently opened outside it.
|Football under the arch at Wembley|
The fact Germany had rested virtually all their big names and sold only around 1,000 tickets to their own supporters made it even more of a non-event.
A fine shot against the post by Andros Townsend was probably as good as it got for England who didn't create much. It was good though to see Joe Hart pull off a number of fine saves in his return to action.
Tickets for England's next match at Wembley against Denmark in March are on sale now but I doubt you'll need to rush to secure one. Although I'm being a bit unenthusiastic, I strongly recommend you go if you've never been to Wembley as it is an awesome stadium and getting tickets for cup finals and play-off finals is often very difficult without membership of the participating clubs so do it!
As for my trip to QPR, Rangers have a much better squad than Charlton and did dominate for long periods but made hard work of ensuring victory. Ultimately a stunning 30-yard shot from Charlie Austin shortly before half-time decided the game and you can see it here on QPR's official YouTube channel:
Sunday 8 December, 130pm - Aston Villa, Premier League
Saturday 21 December, 3pm - Manchester City, Premier League
Wednesday 1 January, 3pm - West Ham United, Premier League
Saturday 11 January, 3pm - Sunderland, Premier League
Thursday 26 December, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, Premier League
Sunday 29 December, 4pm - Stoke City, Premier League
Saturday 11 January, 3pm - Crystal Palace, Premier League
Wednesday 29 January, 745pm - Manchester City, Premier League (on sale 28 Nov)
Saturday 28 December, 1245pm - West Brom, Premier League (on sale 26 Nov)
There's also some FREE youth football up at Boreham Wood again where Arsenal entertain Marseille in the Uefa Youth League on Monday.
Looking ahead to next month, Tottenham Hotspur are pricing all adult tickets at £20 for the visit of Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League. Family tickets are also available.
It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures
View London match map 25 November - 1 December 2013 in a larger map
6. Brentford v Peterborough United - a few lousy results in September and October had started to instill doubt among the Bees faithful but five straight wins and a draw at second-placed Wolves has put them right back in contention. The Posh pay a visit to Griffin Park on Tuesday night for what should be another testing fixture. I say that given their early season form - until recently they were neck-and-neck with leaders Leyton Orient but suddenly it's all come crashing down and they've lost four in a row. If Brentford win they'll go above them. (League One, Tuesday 26 November, 745pm. Ticket info)
7. AFC Wimbledon v Dagenham & Redbridge - about six miles to the south on the same night we have a derby game in League Two. As mentioned above, it's 'We Are Wimbledon Night' so the Dons have cut all adult tickets to £10. Not only are they both London clubs but they're also really close together in the table with only a point separating them in tenth and ninth respectively. A win for either could lift them into the play-off places so there's plenty at stake. (League Two, Tuesday 26 November, 745pm. Ticket info)
8. Dartford v Barnet - it's derby time too over at Princes Park in the Conference. In London terms these two aren't near neighbours but for a national division they certainly are. Dartford got promoted to this division last year and did really well to finish eighth with many believing they'd punched above their weight. Sadly it seems to be a case of 'second-season syndrome' this time round with only five wins from 21 leaving them in the relegation zone. Although Barnet were a League Two side last season and have a fully professional squad, they haven't found their return to non league that easy going and have been desperately inconsistent. They should have too much for Dartford but are equally just the sort of side that the strugglers could kick start their season against. (Conference Premier, Tuesday 26 November, 745pm. Ticket info)
9. Wealdstone v Harrow Borough - one non-league derby which does generate a bit of rivalry is this one over in Ruislip. The Stones were originally based right in the centre of Harrow but they sold their ground, suffered a nomadic existence for a few years and then settled over in Ruislip. They were also the best non-league team in the country back in the '80s and although they are only a shadow of that great side they still play competitive football and have a strong fan base. Boro have always lived in their shadow and will start this game as underdogs again. However, Harrow are doing quite well by their standards and are unbeaten in six away from home so it could be a bit closer than usual. (Isthmian League Cup, Tuesday 26 November, 745pm. Ticket info)
10. Walton Casuals v Leatherhead - we finish this week with another big Tuesday night game as second play third in the Isthmian League Division 1 South. Walton were top but a very rough patch in recent weeks has seen Hastings move ahead on goal difference with two games in hand. They did, however, get back to winning ways on Saturday and will need to be at their best against the Tanners who are in great shape having not lost in five. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, Tuesday 26 November, 745pm. Club info)