Sunday, 18 January 2015

TLFG: 19-25 January 2015

Welcome to TLFG, it's great to have you here.

Last week I wrote about how Harrow Borough needed to change things up a bit in order to avoid relegation. On Monday Dave Anderson, their manager, stood down. Dave has done a decent job on very tight finances over the last three and half years and has continued the club's proud tradition of somehow avoiding the drop.

Sadly that tradition is under real threat and they lost again to a late goal at Hampton & Richmond on Saturday while a replacement was still being sought. 

QPR, my first love, are in an equally precarious situation but manager Harry Redknapp is still hanging on following a 2-0 loss at home to Manchester United.

I went to this game and Rangers did give it a good go, arguably shading the first half which ended goalless.

Joey Barton prepares to swing in a free-kick as QPR search for an equaliser
Some tactical changes by Louis van Gaal made the difference after the interval but with only a one-goal lead going into injury time, it wasn't easy for the Red Devils.

Elsewhere, long time TLFG reader Paul B from the Netherlands, was back in town to watch Charlton's game up at Watford. The tickets were cheap but sadly the Addicks, his favourite English club, got thrashed. It wasn't a completely miserable trip as I'd arranged for some Watford fans to look after him before the game and give him a bit of background about the Hornets.

If you haven't heard of Paul before, I gave him a hand researching his book on London football at the end of 2013. If you speak Dutch and are thinking of coming here to see a game I recommend you give 'Matchdays' a read. I caught up with him in Shepherd's Bush after the game and apparently it's proving popular.

Last week I went back to working Monday-Friday for the first time in almost 15 years so maybe I'll get to see a bit more live football in the near future.

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 70 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
Orange pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday 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. Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City - it's a really big week for Spurs with back-to-back home games in two cup competitions which they should win. In midweek they host Sheffield United in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final and then have this game in the FA Cup fourth round. Spurs haven't won the league for over 50 years but with 12 domestic cup wins under their belts, they know a thing or two about knock-out football. With only two all-Premier League ties nationwide, this becomes one of the biggest games of the round. On paper this should be a certain home win - Tottenham are fifth in the table while Leicester are bottom. Spurs also beat the Foxes 2-1 on Boxing Day at the King Power Stadium so the omens don't look too good for the visitors. (FA Cup fourth round, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Bradford City - the only other tie in the capital could well provide one of the mismatches of the season. The Blues are in imperious form at the moment as a hapless Swansea City discovered on Saturday. The Swans are a decent Premier League side so you have to fear for the League One Bantams. The Yorkshire club will come to London with nothing to lose and to be fair they are one of the best sides in their division. Despite this, Jose Mourinho will almost certainly rest a good amount of his first team but even then they should have more than enough for their opponents. (FA Cup fourth round, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Fulham v Nottingham Forest - both these sides really should be doing better. Before the season, both were fancied to do well in the battle to get into the Premier League. The Cottagers had just come down along with their TV parachute payments while Forest had invested in new players and had former playing legend Stuart Pearce in charge. Fulham started badly and plummeted to the bottom while Forest got off to a flyer. Since then their seasons' have inverted and consequently they're now more or less alongside each other in midtable. Hopefully we'll get a repeat of September's match at the City Ground where the sides laid on an eight-goal thriller which Forest won 5-3. (Championship, Wednesday 21 January, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Watford v Blackpool - with both sides making swift exits from the FA Cup they return to league action this weekend. The Hornets hammered the previously tough to beat Charlton 5-0 on Saturday, a result which made the sacking of Bob Peeters look a bit rash. The result kept them in the top six well on course for a play-off place. This weekend they have a great chance to make further progress as bottom club Blackpool pay a visit. The Seasiders have been pretty poor this season as off-field problems have taken their toll. They have, however, taken four points from their last three league games so there are signs of a revival. If you're a neutral you should strongly consider going to this as all tickets are half price. Bargain!  (Championship, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. AFC Wimbledon v Accrington Stanley - after the highs of giving Liverpool a run for their money in the FA Cup a couple of weeks ago, it's all gone a bit flat for the Dons. They've played two league games since and lost both with the 3-1 reverse against struggling Carlisle at Kingsmeadow being particularly disappointing. In order to stop the rot they'll need to see off Accrington who are locked on level points with them in midtable. Since joining the Football League in 2011, the Kingston-based club have failed to win any of their seven games against the Lancashire outfit so it could be tricky. (League Two, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dartford v FC Halifax Town - slightly strangely in my opinion, the powers that be have decided to schedule the next round of the FA Trophy alongside that of the FA Cup. Out of the remaining 16 teams fighting for a chance to get Wembley, only one is from the TLFG catchment area. Given how bad the Darts have been in the league this season, it's no mean feat that they've got this far in the Trophy. On Saturday they play host to Yorkshire club Halifax who are having a much better time of things and who won at Princes Park only five days ago in a Conference game. (FA Trophy third round, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Hampton & Richmond Borough v Maidstone United - a tough week beckons for Hampton as they welcome two of the top three to the Beveree for back-to-back Isthmian League matches. It starts with the visit of leaders Maidstone. The Kent side are the biggest club in the division who average crowds of over 1,700 - impressive for a seventh tier side. After just missing out on a play-off place last season, they have become hot favourites for the title this time round. Presently they are three points clear of local rivals Margate but have two games in hand so that could become nine points. Although unbeaten in nine league fixtures, they have drawn four so are by no means unstoppable. Prior to Saturday's important win over Harrow, Hampton had been winless in seven so it could be a tough evening. If you can't make this game, then Saturday's match against Dulwich Hamlet also looks well worth a watch. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Tuesday 20 January, 745pm. Club info)

8. Thurrock v Harlow Town - in the division below you've got a chance to look at another title-chasing team as the table topping Hawks travel to Thurrock. At the time of writing, Harlow are six points clear of Needham Market but they have three crucial games in hand so it's close. To stay well ahead they'll need to win at Ship Lane but it shouldn't be easy as the hosts have promotion ambitions of their own. They may be down in eighth but they're only four points adrift of the play-off places. When they last met in September it ended in a 1-1 draw so it should be close again. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Whyteleafe v Merstham - in the parallel southern division, we've got a Surrey derby to look forward to. These two play either side of the M25 and are both chasing a play-off place. They've already played twice this season in the league and county cup and the honours went to Merstham on both occasions. However, both those games were played at Moatside so this will be the Leafe's first chance to have a crack at them on their own turf. It's a bigger game for the Leafe as defeat could potentially leave them eight points adrift that all important fifth place. (Isthmian League Division 1 South, Saturday 24 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. North Greenford United v Kettering Town - the Blues' game against Kettering is another contender for mismatch of the week. North Greenford have been struggling for a while now and currently find themselves ahead of bottom club AFC Hayes solely on goal difference. The Poppies should be playing at a much higher level but events off the pitch have seen them fall down the divisions in recent years. After some gloomy times, which has seen them lose their ground, things appear to be looking up as they have climbed to the top of the Southern League Division 1 Central. They're not having things all their own way by any means, however, with only five points separating the top four. Sadly NGU still look like cannon fodder on this occasion. (Southern League Division 1 Central, Saturday 24 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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