Sunday, 21 December 2014

TLFG: 22 December 2014 - 4 January 2015

Hello there one and all and welcome to TLFG's Christmas and New Year special.

As is becoming an annual tradition, I've put together a compendium of all the festive season has to offer at football grounds around the capital.

The fixtures are quite stretched this year with some teams playing on Boxing Day, others not. Whole leagues aren't playing over New Year while others are. I think every team are playing at least twice - Premier League sides have four games.

The long and short of it all - it's a great time of year to be a football fan in London.

Talking of football fans from London, I'd like to give a special mention to Gordon Hill aka the 'Wealdstone Raider' whose charity single 'Got No Fans' got to number five in the UK Christmas pop chart. Check it out and download it to give a little to his chosen charities.

TLFG reader Peter with his son at Selhurst Park
I was also pleased to receive an email from American reader Peter who came over with his son for a week of football watching primarily in London. He took in games at Arsenal, Brentford, Crystal Palace, Watford and also took a trip to Birmingham to see Aston Villa.

His biggest tips to fellow fans thinking of undertaking a similar trip is to book a hotel away from central London to cut costs (he stayed in Croydon) and also to email the big clubs directly saying you're from overseas if you're struggling to get tickets.

Joey Barton swings in a first-half corner for QPR
Over the next two weeks I've only got Christmas Day and Boxing Day off so I've got a fairly tiny window to see a game and very limited transport options given the festive closedown so I'm not sure what I'll get to see yet.

I was lucky enough to go to another five-goal thriller at Loftus Road on Saturday as QPR came back from 2-0 down to beat fellow strugglers West Brom 3-2. Rangers are producing really entertaining home games at the moment so you could do worse than head to W12 sometime in the near future.

That's it from me. Have a great Christmas and New Year and thanks for your support once again. It's been a good year for TLFG and it would be nothing without your clicks. Cheers!

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 almost 150 matches in the London area over the next two weeks 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.

Over the Christmas period a lot of public transport shuts down either to simply give staff a break or to allow engineering work to be undertaken.

There is no public transport at all on Christmas Day and next to no national rail services on Boxing Day. Crucially, some fairly large parts of the District Line will not open on 26 December too. All this means that getting to clubs like Brentford, Charlton, Chelsea and Crystal Palace will be harder than normal to get to so be prepared. 

Time Out have produced a good guide with full details which you can find here.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them 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
Claret pin - Friday (Boxing Day) fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures

Yellow pin - Monday matches
Green pin - Tuesday matches
Orange pin - Thursday (New Year's Day) fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures

Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. As there are so many, the usual Top 10 has been extended and games will be listed in date order. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 


Tuesday 23 December
Welling United v Ebbsfleet United - local derby in the FA Trophy. Ebbsfleet's manager has just joined from Welling spicing things up a bit more. Ticket prices are also reduced. (FA Trophy, 745pm. Ticket info)

Friday 26 December
Arsenal v QPR - north versus west London derby with Gunners starting as overwhelming favourites. (Premier League, 530pm. Ticket info)
Chelsea v West Ham United - west versus east London derby between two clubs in the top four. (Premier League, 1245pm. Ticket info)
Brentford v Ipswich Town - top three clash between two in-form teams. (Championship, 1pm. Ticket info)
Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers - two play-off contenders go head-to-head. (Championship, 530pm. Ticket info)
Leyton Orient v Crawley Town - relegation six-pointer at Brisbane Road. (League One, 3pm. Ticket info)
Boreham Wood v Bishop's Stortford - Hertfordshire derby between the leaders and strugglers. (Conference South, 3pm. Ticket info)
Kingstonian v Hampton & Richmond Borough - local derby which marks the return of former K's manager with Hampton. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 3pm. Ticket info)

Saturday 27 December
Hendon v Wingate & Finchley - local derby between teams in the top seven. To top it all it's 'Pay What You Want'. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 3pm. Ticket info)
Enfield Town v Dulwich Hamlet - north versus south London derby. Also, two teams hoping for a play-off spot at least. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 3pm. Ticket info)
Redbridge v Barkingside - derby between two sides, who used to groundshare, in the Ilford area. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, 1pm. Ticket info)
Romford v Thurrock - groundshare derby between these two Essex rivals. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, 3pm. Ticket info)
Walton & Hersham v Walton Casuals - Surrey derby between crosstown rivals. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, 3pm Club info)
Whyteleafe v Tooting & Mitcham United - south London derby between play-off contenders. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, 3pm. Ticket info)
North Greenford United v Hanwell Town - west London derby featuring sides at opposite ends of the table. (Southern League Division 1 Central, 1pm. Club info)
Phoenix Sports v Erith & Belvedere - top two battle between local rivals. (Southern Counties East League, 3pm. Club info)
AFC Croydon Athletic v Farleigh Rovers - third versus first in this Surrey derby. (Combined Counties League Division 1, 2pm. Ticket info)

Sunday 28 December
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - two of the country's big names meet in this lunchtime game. (Premier League, 12pm. Ticket info)
Queens Park Rangers v Crystal Palace - London derby between two top-flight strugglers. (Premier League, 3pm. Ticket info)
West Ham United v Arsenal - London derby featuring clubs fighting for a place in the top four. (Premier League, 3pm. Ticket info)
Millwall v Bournemouth - the struggling Lions welcome the leaders. (Championship, 3pm. Ticket info)
AFC Wimbledon v Exeter City - if the Dons are to push for a play-off place they'll need to beat sides like this. (League Two, 3pm. Ticket info)
Barnet v Dover Athletic - league leaders against FA Cup giantkillers. (Conference National, 3pm. Ticket info)
Bromley v Wealdstone - two of the form teams of the division. (Conference South, 3pm. Ticket info)

Monday 29 December
Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion - only game of the day between relatively local rivals. (Championship, 8pm. Ticket info)

Tuesday 30 December
Aveley v Tilbury - derby between two south Essex rivals. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, 745pm. Ticket info)

Thursday 1 January
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea - big London rivals with plenty to play for. (Premier League, 530pm. Ticket info)
Harrow Borough v Hendon - groundshare derby. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 3pm. Club info)
Wingate & Finchley v Enfield Town - north London derby. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 3pm. Ticket info)
Chipstead v Whyteleafe - Surrey derby between play-off hopefuls. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, 3pm. Ticket info)
Tooting & Mitcham United v Carshalton Athletic - south London derby. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, 3pm. Club info)

Saturday 3 January
Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion - cup tie between sides at opposite ends of the Championship. (FA Cup third round, 3pm. Ticket info)
Charlton Athletic v Blackburn Rovers - two sides from the top half of the Championship set off down the road to Wembley. Most tickets are just £10. (FA Cup third round, 3pm. Ticket info)
Waltham Forest v Barking - two of the leading pack on the east side of town. (Essex Senior League, 3pm. Club info)
Sun Sports v Berkhamsted - top four match-up in the Watford area. (Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, 3pm. Club info)

Sunday 4 January
Arsenal v Hull City - a repeat of last year's final in this televised game. (FA Cup third round, 530pm. Ticket info)
Chelsea v Watford - a Goliath v David derby. (FA Cup third round, 4pm. Ticket info)
Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield United - Premier League strugglers against giantkillers from League One, real cupset chance. (FA Cup third round, 1pm. Ticket info)
Boreham Wood v Ebbsfleet United - leaders against play-off contenders. (Conference South, 3pm. 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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