Sunday, 20 July 2014

TLFG: 21-27 July 2014

Hi there and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

It's been a hot and steamy old week in London with hot days and thundery nights, very tropical.

There were also lots of games on, some of which drew capacity crowds.

The much anticipated friendly between AFC Wimbledon and Chelsea didn't disappoint as the League Two side raced into a 2-0 lead before three late goals (two from John Terry) proved to be their undoing.

A strong Arsenal side also drew a large attendance at Boreham Wood who were opening their new West Stand.

Did you go to a game? This week's schedule is absolutely packed with games but all our Premier League sides are off on foreign tours so it will be lower league clubs that take centre stage and the top clubs' reserve and youth sides.

The Non-League Day preparations have also continued this week with the main event being the release of the Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern League fixtures.

Personally, this level of non-league football is the one I most identify with and enjoy. The clubs are a good size and admission remains at £10 or under which to me is crucial.

I've also done my first press interview of the new campaign for the Non League Paper and we've had a number of discussions with some other potential partners.

The hard work of getting all the matches on to the match map is the next challenge - it's simple enough but very time consuming with several hundred having to be added.

This afternoon we've got our biggest planning meeting yet as we move into the final six weeks of the campaign.

On the day itself I'm pretty certain I'll be off to Dulwich Hamlet v Hampton & Richmond Borough - a great host club, decent opponents and it's easy to get to.

Over the previous four years I've been to Hayes & Yeading United, Tooting & Mitcham United, Wealdstone and Harrow Borough so it will be good to visit another club and see how they do it.

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

However, 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
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 21-27 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. Brentford v OGC Nice -  the friendly of the week sees Championship newcomers Brentford host Ligue 1 outfit Nice. After finishing runners-up to Wolves in League One last season, the Bees find themselves back in the second tier for the first time since 1993. Their pre-season began with a solid 3-1 win at Boreham Wood and they will travel to Barnet before hosting their first home game against Les Aiglons. The club from the Cote d'Azur narrowly avoided relegation from the French top flight last season so should provide interesting opposition. (Saturday 26 July, 4pm. Ticket info)

2. Dagenham & Redbridge v Colchester United - the Daggers have two home games this week but I've gone for this one over the match against MK Dons as it's an Essex derby. As usual, the League Two club have a packed pre-season schedule and will have played six times by the time of this match. They've made a disappointing start so far with four defeats from five against primarily non-league opposition. This week's games are against League One sides so hopefully they'll up their game. (Saturday 26 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Barnet v Brentford - as recently as 2009 these two were rivals in League Two. The last five years have seen Barnet slide back into the Conference while Brentford have risen to the heady heights of the Championship meaning three divisions now separate them. Since Barnet's move to The Hive, only eight miles now lies between them so I think it's fair to call this a derby. Recent games have been tight with Brentford usually sneaking home by a one-goal margin. (Tuesday 22 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Dartford v Gillingham - the Gills' tour of south-east London continues with a trip to Princes Park on Tuesday. Having been held to a 1-1 draw by Welling on Saturday, they face a similar challenge from fellow Conference outfit Dartford here. The Darts have lost twice against Football League opponents in recent days but only by narrow margins. This game against Peter Taylor's League One side will be their last home game before the new season so will hope to get a decent result. (Tuesday 22 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Boreham Wood v Cambridge United - after hosting a strong Arsenal side on Saturday, this match is going to seem like a bit of comedown. The Wood opened their new stand against the Gunners and put on a good show in front of a big crowd as they lost 2-0. It will be great if a few people who turned up to watch that game are tempted to return to Meadow Park for the visit of League Two Cambridge who are the lowest ranked side they've played in pre-season so far. United, however, have been banging in goals for fun recently and held La Liga club Espanyol to a 2-2 draw on Saturday. (Tuesday 22 July, 730pm. Club info)

6. Thurrock v Portsmouth - one of the more unusual match-ups of the summer sees Isthmian League Division 1 North club Thurrock host League Two Pompey. Four divisions currently separate the clubs but it should be many more when you consider Portsmouth were a Premier League side as recently as 2010. Terrible financial mismanagement robbed them of that status and they plunged down the pyramid, even flirting with relegation to the Conference last season. Thurrock have also had a traumatic time of late, suffering back-to-back relegations in 2011/12 and 2012/13. They steadied the ship last season and almost went back up and will hope for better this time. (Tuesday 22 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

7. Sutton United v West Ham United XI - the U's have enjoyed successful run-outs against youthful sides from Chelsea and Reading so far so it will be interesting to see how they fare against a development side from West Ham. With the first team on tour in New Zealand, don't expect to see any household names on show but you could see a star of the future as they look to emerge from the Hammers' famous academy system. (Wednesday 23 July, 745pm. Club info)

8. Wealdstone v Watford U21 - the Stones romped to a 4-0 win over local rivals Harrow Borough on Saturday suggesting they could give this Hornets side a tough evening. Wealdstone have struck up a good relationship with Watford, a club they used to groundshare with, in recent seasons so a reasonable turnout should be expected. One or two first-team players could even make the visitors' squad as they don't have any other games on around then. (Wednesday 23 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

9. Harrow Borough v Arsenal XI - after their dreadful start against Wealdstone, Boro will have to really up their game as they face back-to-back matches against a good St Albans City side and this development squad from Arsenal. Glamour friendlies like these often don't prove much on the field but provide a vital source of income to the host clubs. It was a game like this that inspired me to set up Non-League Day originally. If you're an Arsenal fan who can't make it over to New York for the first team game, please give this one a try instead. (Saturday 26 July, 3pm. Club info)

10. Millers Challenge Invitational - pre-season mini tournaments are becoming ever more popular and over in Essex we've got this fine looking event this weekend. Aveley play host as four neighbouring clubs from the Isthmian League go head-to-head over two days. Rather than being a knockout competition with semi-finals, this takes on an Emirates Cup format with points awarded for wins, draws and goals scored. East Thurrock United, Grays Athletic and Romford provide the opposition with games kicking off at 1pm and 330pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available game-by-game, by the day or all weekend. (Saturday & Sunday 26-27 July from 1pm. Match 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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