Sunday, 23 March 2014

TLFG: 24-30 March 2014

Another week has flown by at TLFG Towers and once again I have seen no live football.

I think the most exciting thing I did was buy a new coat! I hope your week was a little more exciting than that.

My own teams had a pretty positive week - QPR began badly with a sound 3-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday but then recovered to win 3-1 at Middlesbrough on Saturday with Bobby Zamora's goal among the luckiest/funniest I've ever seen us score. Harrow Borough, on the other hand, only played once beating a decent Canvey Island side 2-0. They're now 10 points clear of the Isthmian Premier's relegation zone but still have work to do with a couple of teams having games in hand on them.

Last weekend we saw how Conference South club Sutton United ran a free entry promotion for their game against Basingstoke Town and got a crowd of over 2,100 (more than triple their normal attendance). On Saturday in the same division, Bath City ran a pay what you want scheme and more than doubled their crowd with a very healthy 1,374 through the turnstiles.

The next London club to give the Pay What You Want scheme a go are Wingate & Finchley for their Isthmian League Premier Division match against promotion hopefuls AFC Hornchurch on Saturday. They're also running a community day with lots of other events so if you're at a loose end in north London that afternoon (I partly mean you Spurs fans, who don't have a game), then head over to Summers Lane.

Finally, over the next few months I really would like to give this blog a bit of a spruce up and at the very least get a logo designed. If you'd like to help me with this then please get in touch - I will pay although my design fund isn't huge.

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.

Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.

There are over 100 matches in the London area over the next week so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, in case of bad weather, 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 24-30 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. Arsenal v Manchester City - a top-four clash. Last time out the Gunners conceded six against Chelsea, the same amount City put past them in their previous meeting. A defeat for Arsenal must surely end their title hopes once and for all. One thing's guaranteed - goals! (Premier League, Saturday 29 March, 530pm. Ticket info)

2. Crystal Palace v Chelsea - a London derby and a match that's of great importance to teams at opposite ends of the table. Tony Pulis will hope his players can make things uncomfortable for the Blues but a draw is probably the best they can hope for. (Premier League, Saturday 29 March, 3pm Ticket info)

3. Queens Park Rangers v Wigan Athletic - both sides were relegated from the Premier League last season but should both seal play-off spots to try and get straight back up. Although a place below Rangers in fifth and playing away, the Latics are in much better form and will start as favourites in my book. (Championship, Tuesday 25 March, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Johnstone's Paint Trophy final - League One club Peterbrough United take on Chesterfield from the division below in this Wembley showpiece. Tickets are still available from the clubs so it's a great chance to see a game at the national stadium.  (Johnstone's Paint Trophy final, Sunday 30 March, 2pm. Ticket info)

5. Dagenham & Redbridge v Oxford United - unbeaten in six, the Daggers lie five points adrift of the play-off places. If they beat Oxford, who currently fill one of those spots, it will give them hope that a top-seven finish could be theirs. (League Two, Saturday 29 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Sutton United v Bath City - we've got a game between two of the top six here. Both sides ran free entry/pay what you want schemes for games in recent weeks and both were rewarded with four-figure crowds. Hopefully this decent looking match will draw a sizeable attendance too. (Saturday 29 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Wealdstone v Dulwich Hamlet - despite being in the division below the Sutton match, this could arguably be the non-league match of the weekend in London and could well get a higher attendance. At the time of writing, these two are first and second in the Isthmian League. The visitors have to win to keep their title hopes alive. Massive game. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 29 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Northwood v Rugby Town - the Woods are the capital's highest ranked side in the Southern League and the only ones with a realistic chance of promotion. Currently ninth, but only three points short of the play-off places, they welcome leaders Rugby on Saturday. A win would be a real sign of intent. (Southern League Division 1 Central, Saturday 29 March, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Tower Hamlets v Sporting Bengal United - get your week of football watching off to a great start with the Mile End Stadium derby. As you've probably gathered, both teams share the same ground but they also both have their roots in the local Bengali community. These games are often pretty lively and well attended for the level. Tower Hamlets, formerly Bethnal Green United, are title contenders and should win.  (Essex Senior League, Monday 24 March, 745pm. Club info)

10. Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - didn't this happen last week I hear you ask? Yes it did, at least for the first teams. This Friday it's the turn of the youngsters and reserves and the match is being given the full White Hart Lane treatment. Almost as important to some fans as the real thing, there should be a decent attendance and lively atmosphere. A great way to start a weekend's football watching on the cheap at one of its best grounds. Please note - tickets must be bought by 5pm on Thursday 27 March. (U21 Premier League, Friday 28 March, 7pm. 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.

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