Sunday, 23 February 2014

TLFG: 24 February - 2 March 2014

Welcome to TLFG, your one-stop blog to find out what football is on in London, where and how much it costs to watch.

Again I haven't been able to see any live football this week but we did have our first Non-League Day 2014 planning meeting. 

It went well and following the Euro 2016 draw today we're close to deciding the date but we're not 100% certain yet.

The good news this week is that the weather seems to be improving so there should be a lot more action this week but make sure you check with clubs that games are still on.

As always there are some pretty big games this week so enjoy!

If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries.

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter 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).

Wednesday 5 March, 8pm - Denmark, international friendly, Wembley

Wednesday 5 March, 8pm - international friendly, Millwall

Nothing currently available

Nothing currently available

Tickets are only available to season-ticket holders, members and their guests

Saturday 15 March, 3pm - Newcastle United, Premier League
Sunday 30 March, 130pm - Everton, Premier League

Thursday 27 February, 805pm - FC Dnipro, Europa League
Sunday 23 March, 130pm - Southampton, Premier League

Saturday 8 March, 3pm - Hull City, Premier League
Saturday 3 May, 3pm - Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League

We've got a bit of a Football League Super Saturday to look forward to on 15 March as Millwall host Charlton Athletic in the Championship and Leyton Orient take on Brentford in League One. Both are derbies, will be close to sell outs and almost certainly have a big bearing on things at either end of their respective divisions. The kick-offs are staggered too so it's possible that you could even go to both. If there are no engineering works on the Tube that weekend the journey from Leyton to South Bermondsey can be done in 37 minutes if you leave on the 1407 Central Line train and make your way to south-east London via Stratford and London Bridge. Tickets for the Millwall game go on general sale on Monday 17 February while the Leyton Orient ones are on sale now.

Millwall v Charlton Athletic - Saturday 15 March, 3pm, Championship (on sale 17 Feb)
Leyton Orient v Brentford - Saturday 15 March, 1215pm, League One

This week's main deal sees tickets for Tottenham's Europa League tie against FC Dnipro reduced to £20 for adults, a significant saving.

Watching the big clubs' youth and reserve teams often provides pretty good value. On Tuesday night we've got a Uefa Youth League match between Arsenal and Shakhtar Donetsk. The match takes place at Boreham Wood's ground in north London and admission is FREE for all - details on the match map below.

In early March, at the same time England entertain Denmark, Australia take on Ecuador at Millwall's ground in another international friendly.

Also way into the future, the annual football Varsity match between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge will be taking place at Craven Cottage on Sunday 6 April. It takes place on the same day as the more famous televised boat race which begins shortly after the match on the Thames which passes the ground. For £15 you'll get to see one of the oldest football fixtures in the world (this will be the 130th meeting) and then be able to watch the opening mile of the boat race from the vantage point of Craven Cottage's Riverside Terrace - your £15 also gets you some free food and drink!

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

I often receive emails from readers asking how to get tickets for matches which have sold out. The only official way to do this is to go through a ticket re-sale site like StubHub or viagogo which are fully endorsed by the clubs involved. 

These sites work by letting season-ticket holders re-sell their unwanted tickets on a match-by-match basis and it is the ticket holder who sets the price. For a sold out match they will often be able to command a large premium but conversely you'll often be able to pick up tickets for less popular matches at a significant discount. 

I know some football supporters find these sites totally abhorrent and I understand their reasons but I guess it's better to have an official way of performing transactions like this rather than risk buying a counterfeit or even non-existent ticket from a less trustworthy or even criminal source.

Apart from the ticket deals mentioned above, if you're on a tight budget and still want to see some football then check out some non-league football.

The vast majority of the clubs TLFG covers play at this level and provide good entertainment week-in-week-out at great prices. The overwhelming amount of sides charge £10 or less to get in, with many no more than a fiver. 

Several also offer half-price admission for season-ticket holders and members of Premier League and Football League clubs all year round.

Non-league football is also a great way to get kids into watching the sport live with many clubs letting them in for free. 

Check your local club's website to see what they have to offer.

There are over 90 matches in the London area over the next week so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, with bad weather frequent at the moment, please make sure you 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.

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).

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 24 February - 2 March 2014 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. There are often many more games that are worthy of a mention but I simply don't have the time or space to squeeze them all in so add your own in the comments section below.

1. Fulham v Chelsea - it's west London derby time and the fortunes of the respective sides couldn't be much more different. The hosts are bottom of the Premier League, winless in seven and on to their third manager of the season. The Blues are pretty much the opposite, sitting pretty at the top and winning with ease. The Cottagers have gone 16 games since they last beat their neighbours and that's unlikely to change in the near future. (Premier League, Saturday 1 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Queens Park Rangers v Leeds United - Harry Redknapp's side were quickly installed as pre-season favourites and looked like living up to it for the first few months. The first wobble came around Christmas but they bounced back and kept hold of second place. However, injury to star striker Charlie Austin in late January and a sudden defensive collapse has seen Rangers have a terrible February, drawing one and losing three as they've slipped to fourth. One time Champions League semi-finalists Leeds are arguably the biggest club in the division but financial problems and other off-field problems has seen them spend most of the season in midtable but could still push for a play-off place. (Championship, Saturday 1 March, 1215pm. Ticket info)

3. Leyton Orient v Colchester United - the battle for top spot saw the O's climb back into pole position this weekend after beating Swindon. In the big match, Brentford sadly lost 3-0 at home to fellow title contenders Wolves to surrender the lead. As a result only one point separates the top three. Orient have a great chance of keeping hold of top spot as they welcome struggling Colchester to Brisbane Road. However, the Essex club have only lost one of their last five against the east Londoners so shouldn't be written off. (League One, Saturday 1 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Dagenham & Redbridge v Mansfield Town - the Daggers are the top London club in League Two but will need to start winning if they are to catch the leading pack. Without a win in three and nine points adrift of the play-off places, they've got to start getting the better of sides. Mansfield are in lower midtable so should be beatable but they're in reasonable form and did beat the Daggers 3-0 back in August. (League Two, Saturday 1 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Dartford v Aldershot Town - with some of the worst results in the country, the Darts looked dead certs for relegation a little over a month ago. Since then they've turned it around quite spectacularly with four wins and draw to find themselves just one goal from safety. On Tuesday they host fellow strugglers Aldershot who are so bad at the moment that they failed to beat bottom club Hyde on Saturday.  (Conference Premier, Tuesday 25 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

6. Bromley v Bath City - we've got a top six clash in the Conference South to look forward to on Saturday. The Lilywhites are still 11 points clear at the top and on course for promotion. Bath are looking to join them at a higher level but three consecutive defeats has seen them slip out of the play-off places. (Conference South, Saturday 1 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Wealdstone v Harrow Borough - in Isthmian League terms this is one of the biggest derbies going. During the clubs' heydays back in the '80s, this was a really big game but both have slipped back a bit and Boro in particular have lost quite a few followers. My first Harrow derby was an FA Trophy game back in 1990 which ended in a 1-1 draw at the Stones' Lower Mead. The 1,000 plus crowd and atmosphere was pretty special as it was for the replay. These days Wealdstone are still the bigger and more successful side and are pushing for promotion yet again. They sit third at the moment but could be as much as eight points clear at the top if they won their games in hand. Harrow have a pretty poor record against their rivals but did beat them in the League Cup this season and also thrashed current league leaders Maidstone 4-1 last week so can't be completely discounted.  (Isthmian League Premier Division, Monday 24 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

8. Walton Casuals v Folkestone Invicta - the Stags were early season leaders but have dropped away of late, losing five of the last six. This run has seen them fall eight points off the play-off spots. If they are to get back in among it then they'll need to beat Folkestone who currently fill one of those places. They beat them back in August so there is hope. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, Tuesday 25 February, 745pm. Club info)

9. Epsom & Ewell v Molesey - the two top contenders for the Combined Counties League title from the London area meet in this game on Saturday. Epsom are fourth while the Moles are sixth. In truth, neither are really likely to win the league which has been dominated by South Park for months - they are currently five points clear of Camberley and have games in hand on all below them. If either are to make a move then a draw's no good to either. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, Saturday 1 March, 3pm. Club info)

10. Whyteleafe v Erith Town - last up this week we have a game between title contenders in the Southern Counties East League. Whyteleafe had a dodgy spell in the autumn but have since managed to string a run of seven consecutive wins together, lifting them to second just two points behind Ashford. Erith are also a top five club but have played more games and lost 3-0 when the sides last met in November.  (Southern Counties East League, Tuesday 25 February, 745pm. 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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