Sunday 29 June 2014

TLFG: 30 June - 6 July 2014

Hello there and welcome back to TLFG after our close-season break.

A lot has happened in the seven weeks we've been away, not least QPR's triumphant play-off campaign which culminated in that dramatic last-minute Bobby Zamora winner at Wembley just over a month ago.

That was possibly the best moment I have personally experienced in my 30 years of following the R's. Promotions, great victories and wonderful goals all feature but this topped the lot because it came completely against the run of play, at the death against a Derby side who were totally dominating the game. 

When things look so totally hopeless and your team manage to pull a winner out of the bag in such a high stakes game, it's almost miraculous - not many fans will experience that. Suffice to say I went completely mental and could feel my heart pounding and the blood coursing through my veins in a way I never had before. Let's just hope we make a better job of staying up than we did last time!

Elsewhere there have also been highs after big lows for several other local clubs as Dartford, Hayes & Yeading United and Wingate & Finchley all enjoyed reprieves from relegation after other clubs ran into financial trouble. 

Sadly Leyton Orient didn't join Brentford in the Championship after letting a 2-0 lead slip against Rotherham in the League One play-off final at Wembley, eventually losing on penalties.

So what we hope will be another exciting season is now beginning. A couple of really early pre-season games have already taken place and there are a few more this week for which there's a map below.

This is one of the most fun times of year as teams who would never normally face each other actually do. Weird and wonderful match-ups are produced, strange and alien venues are sometimes used and never to be seen again triallists appear and then vanish as quickly as they emerged.

Enjoy the next few weeks and if you fancy turning semi-professional yourself now is the time. Most non-league clubs hold open trials at this time of year so if you think you're good enough to make a few quid out of the game then have a look at their websites and see who's recruiting.

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 only around 15 matches in the London area over the next seven days as we are gently reintroduced to the possibility of watching live football in the capital. In my opinion there is only really one stand-out game that I would recommend and that sees Conference South side Bromley host League Two's Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday. It is listed as a full first team game on the Daggers' website so give it a go.

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).

Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London match map 30 June - 6 July 2014 in a larger map 

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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