Sunday, 11 January 2015

TLFG: 12-18 January 2015

Hello and welcome to TLFG - your guide to all the week's football in London.

I hope you're well and that your football gave you more joy than mine did this weekend.

As you may have noticed from my profile I support QPR and also have a soft spot for non-league side Harrow Borough. Both suffered defeats this weekend and both look like good bets for relegation from their respective divisions.

If Rangers go down it won't be a huge surprise and in many respects it wouldn't leave too many people scratching their heads if Boro went down too but it would be a shame.

I've been following Harrow since 1988 and in that entire time they have been generally pretty rubbish but they never ever, ever get relegated - somehow they always pull it off. I remember a 5-0 away win at a good Windsor & Eton side on the final day one season in the early '90s with Paul Ripley scoring a hat-trick - dream stuff. They look like they'll need something special this time too as they've now gone seven league games without a win.

All is not lost though. There are a number of teams in the mire and a win could lift them out of the bottom four but they need it to come sooner rather than later so that morale doesn't slip too far. Come on the Boro!

The week ahead doesn't have many blockbuster fixtures hence a rather strange TLFG Top 10 which jumps from the Championship to the Isthmian League. Although I've got a ticket for QPR v Man Utd on Saturday, the two FA Vase ties this weekend look more exciting and with one being played on Sunday I'd strongly suggest you give at least one of them a visit.

That's it from me. Enjoy!

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 80 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).

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday 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. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 


1. Queens Park Rangers v Manchester United - the visit of the Red Devils is always a huge event in the Shepherd's Bush calendar but it's rarely one that goes well for the hosts. It's almost 25 years since Rangers last got the better of the team from Old Trafford at Loftus Road. It will take a Herculean effort if they're to end that run here - Rangers are in the bottom three and looked devoid of ideas against relegation rivals Burnley on Saturday. However, this Man Utd side is one of the weakest for years and they come into this on the back of a 1-0 home defeat to Southampton so there is a tiny glimmer of hope for the Londoners. (Premier League, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - as above, this is a big game at both ends of the table. Spurs keep threatening to break into the top four but then blow it with defeat to much lower ranked opposition like Crystal Palace on Saturday. Looking at the table, they should beat the Mackems who are one point above the relegation zone and winless in four. Sunderland's record at White Hart Lane is also pretty dreadful with only win since 1985 - it all points pretty convincingly to a home win but this is Tottenham and anything could happen. (Premier League, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. West Ham United v Hull City - like Tottenham, the Hammers have a decent looking midweek FA Cup replay against Premier League opposition. However, in both cases, ticket prices have been slashed and a number of first teamers may well get rested too which explains why I haven't gone for them. Like the first two, this match also sees teams from opposite ends fighting for points to either get into Europe or simply stay up. The hosts were in the top four but haven't won since before Christmas meaning they've dropped to seventh. Hull are in the bottom three but won two of their festive fixtures as they showed signs of getting things together. Once again you'd be hard pushed to bet against the hosts who have only lost twice at Upton Park against the Tigers since 1920. (Premier League, Sunday 18 January, 130pm. Ticket info)

4. Watford v Charlton Athletic - it's derby time at Vicarage Road on Saturday and with all of the top three games pretty much sold out, I'd advise you to head to this one as all ticket prices have been reduced by 50%! Yes, that's half-price tickets for everyone for what should be a pretty decent game. Although it's by no means the fiercest of derbies, it still is one of sorts and there should be a big crowd. On the pitch the Hornets have been decent and it was a shock when they lost at lowly Huddersfield on Saturday. Despite this setback, they are still well on course for at least a play-off spot so will start as favourites. The Addicks, however, will be tough to beat. Although they're in the bottom half of the table, they are the division's draw specialists and have lost only six of their 25 games. (Championship, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Millwall v Ipswich Town - it's not looking good for the Lions at the moment. With only one win from their last 12 games I'm genuinely quite surprised that manager Ian Holloway wasn't sacked following their loss at bottom club Blackpool on Saturday. As a QPR fan I have a soft spot for Ollie so I'm glad he wasn't but he's going to have to do something pretty special to save his club and his job. This weekend they welcome title contenders Ipswich so it won't get any easier. They have done quite well against them at the New Den in recent seasons but lost the reverse fixture 2-0 back in September. (Championship, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Fulham v Reading - these sides were playing Premier League football two years ago so both sets of fans will be wondering quite how their teams now find themselves towards the wrong end of the country's second tier. Both have been pretty dodgy this season as they have struggled to impose themselves. The Cottagers' supporters may be starting to worry again though as they've suddenly lost three on the bounce and will be looking over their shoulders again as teams, like Brighton, start to pick up. The Royals saw off Fulham with ease earlier in the season but they should find it a bit tougher this time. (Championship, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Hendon v Metropolitan Police - the week gets off to a great start with this top-five clash in the Isthmian League. How these two relatively poorly supported teams, in terms of numbers, manage to put out decent sides is close to a miracle so credit to the two managers. Although mathematically both are still in with a slim shot at the title, they do have very realistic chances of claiming play-off spots which in itself would be a great achievement. A win is a must for either if they want to even dare to think of catching the leaders so there's plenty at stake. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Monday 12 January, 745pm. Ticket info)

8. Erith & Belvedere v Yaxley - it's FA Vase fourth round time this weekend so we're down to the last 32. This means things are getting pretty serious with Wembley Stadium's arch starting to inch over the horizon as these sides start to close in. Only four TLFG sides remain in the competition which has been dominated by sides from the Northern League over the last few years. Three of our local contenders come from the Southern Counties East League: - while leaders Phoenix Sports have an away game, E&B entertain Peterborough club Yaxley at Park View Road. The Cuckoos are third in the parallel United Counties League so should provide a stern test. This match is being played on Sunday afternoon so if you're not going to West Ham, give this some serious consideration. (FA Vase fourth round, Sunday 18 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Greenwich Borough v AFC St Austell - the other SCEFL side playing at home in the Vase are Greenwich. Like E&B they groundshare with a Conference National side, in their case Dartford and their impressive Princes Park. St Austell are from Cornwall and with a close to 500 mile round trip will have one of the longest journeys of any club left in the competition. On paper the visitors look like the better side having had a much bettergood season in the South West Peninsula League but all that travelling could be their undoing. (FA Vase fourth round, Saturday 17 January, 3pm. Club info)

10. Sun Sports v Kings Langley - last up this week it's a third versus first derby match in the Spartan South Midlands League. Sun Sports got promoted last season and topped the league early on. Although they've slipped back a bit since then, a win here against their near neighbours will draw them level on points. If you can't make it to this one, it's also second versus fourth as Harefield United take on AFC Dunstable on the SSMFL's very own Super Saturday. (Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, Saturday 17 January, 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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