Monday, 3 February 2014

TLFG: 3-9 February 2014

Welcome to the latest edition of TLFG, it's great to have you here.

This week I was lucky enough to have some time off work so I spent time visiting relatives in Somerset and preparing for and celebrating my daughter's first birthday. 

I also managed to do a bit of running - a 20km route from Shepherd's Bush down to the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon on Thursday and my usual 5km parkrun at Wormwood Scrubs on Saturday which was more like a swamp run such was the waterlogging. I even tripped and slid right through one of the mini lakes as I kicked for home!

Consequently I haven't seen any football myself. I know, I know - priorities!

Even if I had been around, it seems loads of games got washed out again and the weather's looking pretty iffy this week too so be careful to check details before you travel.

There are a couple of good ticket deals this week so read the relevant section below to get all the details and please let me know if there any offers or events at your club that I may have missed.

That's about it from me - enjoy your football.

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.

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

Nothing currently available

Nothing currently available

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

Tuesday 4 February, 745pm - Sheffield United, FA Cup fourth round replay

Thursday 27 February, 805pm - FC Dnipro, Europa League

Tuesday 11 February, 745pm - Norwich City, Premier League
Saturday 22 February, 3pm - Southampton, Premier League
Saturday 8 March, 3pm - Hull City, Premier League (on sale 4 Feb)
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's main deal is to be had on Tuesday at Craven Cottage where there's a flat rate of £15 for adults to watch Fulham's FA Cup fourth round replay against Sheffield United.

On Saturday, League Two club Dagenham & Redbridge are holding their 'Daggers Against Racism Day' against Hartlepool United, cutting seat tickets to just £9.99 and standing to £2.50.

Watching the big clubs' youth and reserve teams often provides pretty good value too. On Friday night we've got a west London derby in the U21 Premier League as Fulham host near neighbours Chelsea at the club's Motspur Park training ground. Admission is only £3 for adults and £1 for kids and pensioners.

At the end of February, tickets for Tottenham's Europa League tie against FC Dnipro have been reduced to £20 for adults, a significant saving.

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 almost 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
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London match map 3-9 February 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. Tottenham Hotspur v Everton - for the second week running, the biggest match in London takes place at White Hart Lane as two of the Premier League's top six go head-to-head. These two are very much targeting a place in next season's Champions League but only one of them really stands any chance of getting there given that three of the four spots have pretty much gone already. That leaves a four-way fight between themselves, Liverpool and Manchester United for the final place. In recent years, games between Spurs and the Toffees have usually been pretty close and with only one point separating them in the current league table that should be the case again. (Premier League, Sunday 9 February, 130pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Newcastle United - a little over a month ago this match would have really promised a lot. The Blues were doing their thing and being a generally strong Premier League side while Newcastle were going through a real purple patch which was giving them ideas about a tilt at Champions League qualification. They even beat Chelsea 2-0 at St James' Park. Since then the Magpies have gone right off the boil and have seen star midfielder Yohan Cabaye depart for Paris St Germain. The Londoners, however, have gone from strength to strength and will move level on points with Manchester City in second if they beat them on Monday. Overall, Chelsea should win this but Newcastle have one of the best records at Stamford Bridge in recent years, having only lost on one of their last five visits so can't be completely discounted. (Premier League, Saturday 8 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion - with the season moving into its final third it's definitely 'six-pointer' time. One such game in the fight to avoid relegation sees the Eagles welcome West Brom to Selhurst Park. At the time of writing, both sides a perched just above the bottom three so have a tiny bit of breathing space but that's all it is. Sensationally with 14 games to go, the whole bottom half of the Premier League are within one game's reach of the relegation zone. Only six points separates 11th from 20th. No-one in this group is safe. These two teams are both showing positive signs though.Palace have won two of their last three while the Baggies have picked up draws against Everton and Liverpool in the last couple of weeks. Personally I have a better feeling about Palace for this one and they did knock West Brom out of the FA Cup less than a month ago.  (Premier League, Saturday 8 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Charlton Athletic v Birmingham City - the foot of the Championship is nowhere near as tight as the Premier League but again this is more or less in the relegation 'six-pointer' category. The Addicks are one of those hard working clubs that, other than their closest local rivals, no-one really has any great beef with. They punched above their weight in the Premier League from 2000-2007 and earned a lot of respect for doing so. The last few years have been much tougher as relegation and financial problems have taken their toll. This season has been tough for boss Chris Powell and on Saturday they slipped into the bottom three after their winless run was extended to five games. Birmingham played alongside Charlton in the Premier League and have also enjoyed a yo-yo existence over the last couple of decades. The Blues did well to take a point of high flying Derby on Saturday but are also winless in five. A draw looks likely. (Championship, Saturday 8 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Leyton Orient v Peterborough United - these two flew out of the traps at the beginning of the season and looked to be running away with it. No-one would've been too surprised if the Posh had kept going as they are one of the bigger clubs at this level and had just come down from the Championship. However, it is the much less fancied O's who have kicked on and are still right in the hunt for honours. Although they lost at promotion rivals Rotherham on Saturday to drop to third, they can regain top spot if they win their game in hand. Although automatic promotion may well be a distant dream for Peterborough, the play-offs aren't so getting something from this game is vital for them too. (League One, Saturday 8 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. AFC Wimbledon v Rochdale - the Dons are reported to have one of the smallest budgets in League Two and were expected to struggle this season. Thankfully that has not been the case as they've comfortably kept their heads above water. At the moment they're tenth which might make you think that they were in with a real shot of making the play-offs. Sadly it's probably only an outside chance at this stage as the all-important top seven places seem to have already been carved off and turned into a mini-league by the seven clubs who currently occupy them. For Wimbledon to make up the nine-point gap and break into the group they'll have to beat Rochdale who are one of the present incumbents. They managed to do it at Spotland back in November so could well do it again here. (League Two, Saturday 8 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Welling United v Gateshead - most focus on Conference Premier teams in the London area so far this season has been on either Barnet or Dartford and their respective battles at either end of the table. This week Welling move into the spotlight. They haven't featured that much because they've been tonking along nicely in midtable without making too many waves, something to be celebrated having only come up from the Conference South in the summer. Until recently it looked like midtable would be where they would stay but Saturday's win at Chester has left them six points off the play-off places. In order to start making up the ground, a win over fourth-placed Gateshead is almost essential. (Conference Premier, Saturday 8 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Bromley v Sutton United - despite being in the division below, this south London derby will almost certainly get a bigger crowd than the match at Welling. As has been well documented in this blog, Bromley are having a great season and are currently top of the Conference South. Sadly, their huge top of the table clash with Eastleigh last Tuesday got postponed as did their game against other TLFG side Staines on Saturday. This Saturday, the Lilywhites face Sutton who are currently fourth and well set to claim a play-off spot. The U's edged to a 1-0 win in the reverse fixture back in October so should provide tricky opposition. (Conference South, Saturday 8 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Wealdstone v Lowestoft Town - there have been some titanic matches in the Isthmian League in recent weeks and we have another one to look forward to at Grosvenor Vale this week. Currently third, five points off top spot but with four games in hand, the Premier Division should be Wealdstone's for the taking. Up until Boxing Day it looked a certainty but two defeats and a number of postponements have seen the Stones lose a bit of momentum. Last week they bounced back with a solid 3-0 win over a decent Bury Town side but they'll need to be close to their best this week as they face back-to-back games against the league's other big Suffolk club. Like Wealdstone, the Trawler Boys have experienced play-off misery in recent years having lost in the last three finals (acrimoniously knocking out Wealdstone on the way there two seasons ago). This year their expected title charge hasn't really got going and although still seventh they are seven points off the play-off places. Make no mistake, given said acrimony, this is a big game and should draw a decent crowd. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 8 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. VCD Athletic v Thurrock -  similar to Leyton Orient, VCD have surprised a lot of people this season. Newly promoted from the Kent League, little was expected from them but they've led the Isthmian League Division 1 North pretty much from the off. We're now into February and although their fairly significant lead has been reduced to goal difference from Soham, they have games in hand over them and third-placed Harlow. Thurrock are back in seventh at the moment and are no imminent threat to VCD for the title but they too have games in hand on those around them that could see them climb to second or third if they won them. Both sides are winless in 2014 and could do with a victory. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Tuesday 4 February, 745pm. Ticket 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.


  1. Nothing about Tooting & Mitcham United FC - not even a pin in the map !

  2. Hi David - thanks for getting in touch. My research suggested they weren't playing at home this week, with the TMU and Isthmian League sites saying they have away games at Corinthian Casuals and Horsham. I know the game against CC's is a fairly big one but I didn't think it quite warranted a mention in the top 10 given how bad Casuals have been this season. It is on the map though.