Sunday, 13 July 2014

TLFG: 14-20 July 2014

Greetings readers, welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

I hope you're well and in the mood for some football as things are really starting to hot up this week.

Once tonight's World Cup final is out of the way, all the big stars start filtering back to their clubs (via a beach somewhere) and start spicing up some pre-season friendlies.

One or two players whose teams went out in the group stage may even be back in training by now and could feature for Arsenal and Chelsea in their friendlies at lower league London opposition at the weekend (more on that below).

Last week I mentioned how I was about to enter the scrum for QPR season tickets - well it turned out that all four of the people I go with decided against it so none of us got one and they all sold out.

It's membership for us instead and I hope the club make it worthwhile and tier it in someway so new fans drawn in by Premier League status don't suddenly find themselves on an equal footing with people who have been members for years. Other clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham manage this but QPR are notorious for failing to reward loyalty and I fear we may be shortchanged again.

The Non-League Day preparations have also continued. The big event this week was announcing our official charity partner for this year's campaign - Prostate Cancer UK.

We were initially drawn to them by their 'Men United' campaign, fronted by comedian Bill Bailey, and the partnership they have with the Football League and its clubs. Here's hoping it will be a tie-up that works well for all parties.


Tomorrow sees the release of the Isthmian League fixtures and there's one team I'm really hoping end up at home on the day. I won't say who but they are one of the best clubs at that level and have missed out on all four previous occasions - they deserve a go and I'm told they'll make a real effort to get extra people in.

That's it from me. Don't forget, you can get all the latest ticket information for our local clubs and other big games taking place in the capital on the 'Match Ticket Info' page .

GET INVOLVED
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.


LATEST TICKET NEWS
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.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 70 matches in the London area over the next seven days 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).

MATCH MAP
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 14-20 July 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. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below.

TLFG TOP 10

1. AFC Wimbledon v Chelsea -  the friendly of the week is a derby between two south-west London clubs - one from League Two, the other from the Premier League. Most fans reading this blog will remember when both of these sides were in the top flight with the last match between the two seeing the Blues beat the Dons 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in February 2000. A lot has changed since then and technically AFC Wimbledon are a different club but many of the fans remain so Saturday should be quite an occasion. To be clear, Chelsea are treating this as a first XI fixture so expect a strong side. Only a few tickets remain so buy in advance. (Saturday 19 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Boreham Wood v Arsenal - next up is this other appealing contest between two clubs from the north of town. The Wood have a special relationship with the Gunners which sees the Premier League side play the lions share of their reserve and women's teams games at Meadow Park. On the last two Non-League Days, Arsenal have also loaned Boreham Wood their luxury team bus to transport their squad to away games. This Saturday's match is being used to officially open their new West Stand with Arsene Wenger set to name a very strong squad in honour of the occasion. Again, tickets are selling well so buy in advance. If you can't make this, Boreham Wood are also hosting Championship club Brentford on Thursday. (Saturday 19 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Dartford v Millwall - the Darts should have been playing Conference South football this season but saw their relegation reversed when other clubs fell into financial difficulties. Yesterday they began pre-season with a 1-0 win at neighbours Thurrock. On Tuesday things should get a lot tougher when Ian Holloway's Millwall come to town. This will be the Championship club's first game of the summer and they'll look to do well in what also has a derby feel to it. Despite a decent crowd being expected, it's pay on the gate with no tickets being sold in advance (Tuesday 15 May, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Welling United v Gillingham - just down the road in Welling, the Wings welcome their second Football League team of the summer to Park View Road. Having seen off Charlton Athletic 2-0 on Saturday, they next welcome League One outfit Gillingham who play a little outside London in north Kent. The Gills will be paying visits to most senior non-league clubs in the county over the next few weeks and started with a solid 3-1 win at Folkestone on Saturday. They travel to Bromley ahead of this one so will have two games under their belt by the time this one comes round. Not much ticket info is readily available for this but the Charlton game was £13 in advance, £15 on the day. (Saturday 19 July, 3pm. Club info)

5. Barnet v Luton Town - both these sides have seen better days and are almost certainly playing in divisions beneath where they really should be. Last season they competed as rivals for the Conference title - the Bees never really got going and missed the play-offs while the Hatters ran away with it after four years of previous disappointments. Back in League Two, the former top-flight side should bring a sizeable following to the Hive for this match on Sunday afternoon. The Bees opened their pre-season with a 1-0 loss at home to Peterborough and also welcome League Two Stevenage on Tuesday. (Sunday 20 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Wealdstone v Dagenham & Redbridge - it will be an interesting season for the Stones who have been gradually gaining momentum like a locomotive over the last two or three years. After reaching an FA Trophy semi-final and missing out in two play-off campaigns, they finally bagged the Isthmian League title in April to climb up to the Conference South. Back in the '80s Wealdstone were the best non-league club in the country but never made it into the Football League. All kinds of problems resulted from the sale of their ground in the early '90s and they fell several rungs down the non-league ladder. Now they're almost back to the heady heights they once competed at and play their first home game of the summer against the Daggers from League Two. Thus far Gordon Bartlett's side have managed back-to-back wins at Leverstock Green and Burnham while Dagenham have lost two of their three friendlies albeit against theoretically stronger opposition. (Tuesday 15 July, 745pm. Club info)

7. Sutton United v Reading U21 - after holding a Chelsea U21 side to a 0-0 draw on Saturday, Sutton next face an U21 team from Championship club Reading. A bumper crowd of over 1,700 watched that one and they'll hope to get another decent attendance for this one. Sutton are currently fourth favourites for the Conference South title after missing out in the play-offs last season. Head down to Gander Green Lane to see if they're worth a punt. (Saturday 19 July, 3pm. Club info)

8. Hampton & Richmond Borough v Brentford XI - the Beavers had to settle for third place in the Geoff Harvey Memorial Vase at Corinthian Casuals this weekend. After suffering a semi-final loss to Merstham on Saturday, they came back to drub the hosts 5-1 in today's third place play-off. Next up is the almost perennial visit of a Brentford side to the Beveree. This is not being classed as a first team game by the visitors so don't expect too many regulars. (Tuesday 15 July, 745pm. Club info)

9. Thurrock v Charlton Athletic XI - with the first team on tour in Spain, don't expect household names in the Charlton squad for this one either. Thurrock opened their pre-season with a narrow loss to Dartford who play three divisions above them. An Addicks reserve side will probably be of a similar standard so another close game could ensue. (Wednesday 16 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

10. Harrow Borough v Wealdstone - I don't like to feature the same team twice in a Top 10 but I'm going to break my rule to squeeze in the only all non-league match recommendation of the week. Yes, it's Harrow derby time again. The Stones' promotion made it look as if this would be the first season for many years that their wouldn't be a Harrow derby but the clubs have come together to put on this 'friendly' instead. Little love is lost between the fans of these clubs with Wealdstone's blue horde far outnumbering Boro's hardy regulars. As I've previously mentioned, the vitriol seems a lot stronger from the Stones fans and I've never really understood why as they've historically had much the better of things. I'm hoping to get to this one. (Saturday 19 July, 3pm. 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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