Sunday, 4 January 2015

TLFG: 5-11 January 2015

Hello, welcome and a Happy New Year to you all.

I hope the festive period was good for you both on and off the field of play.

Mine was quiet with some minor illness affecting the household and a solid schedule of work - consequently I didn't get to see any live football so I hope you did to make up for it.

I'm actually writing this during the early hours of Friday morning (2 January) as I'm heading out of town for the weekend and don't want to be tied to a laptop the whole time. As a result, some facts and figures in what I've written below might not be 100% accurate or some big breaking news may get totally ignored - apologies.

The ticket section has some good deals in it this week with a number of Football League clubs running good promotions during January so make sure you have a look.

Getting into most Premier League clubs is becoming harder as we get to the business end of the season as all have plenty to play for. Unless you are a member or have a friend who is then it's pretty much impossible to get a ticket to watch Arsenal, Chelsea or Crystal Palace. QPR are also selling out every home match at the moment but a few hundred tickets usually make it to general sale but you've got to be quick. Tottenham and West Ham usually always have something but buy early to avoid being saddled with a bad seat or a really expensive one.

This week's action gets off to a great start on Monday when AFC Wimbledon host Liverpool live on TV in the FA Cup third round. No-one under 30 will probably remember the final of 1988 when the old Wimbledon somehow beat the seemingly invincible Reds 1-0 thanks to Lawrie Sanchez's first-half headed goal. It is still one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history and probably my favourite final. A lot has happened to both clubs since so it will be very interesting to see how this one pans out.

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
Claret pin - Friday 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. Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur - a decent looking London derby between teams at opposite ends of the table. The Eagles were on a terrible run and sacked boss Neil Warnock following defeat to Southampton on Boxing Day. Since then they've drawn two games as they wait for Alan Pardew to take over. His first league game in charge will be this one against Spurs who are enjoying a resurgence after a mildly dodgy spell. With four wins from their last five, including a 5-3 vanquishing of Chelsea, they're now just a win away from a place in the top four. The north Londoners have a pretty fine record at Selhurst Park too with three successes from their last five visits. (Premier League, Saturday 10 January, 530pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Newcastle United - earlier in the day the Blues will hope to get their title bid back on track after going on a two game winless streak. A few weeks ago many observers had already declared the Premier League to be a one-horse race such was Chelsea's early season dominance but their significant lead has been totally wiped out by reigning champions Manchester City who moved level on points following their win over Sunderland. The Magpies are managerless at the time of writing but are freescoring and beat Chelsea in the reverse fixture a few weeks ago so it could be a corker. (Premier League, Saturday 10 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool - arguably the match of the week, this FA Cup third round tie brings back memories of the 1988 final which the Dons sensationally won. In those days they were in the same division, now the re-formed south London outfit are in League Two but given the Reds' current form they could cause another upset. Unsurprisingly the match is sold out but you can watch it live on BBC One. (FA Cup third round, Monday 5 January, 755pm. Ticket info)

4. Brentford v Rotherham United - with back-to-back defeats against promotion rivals Ipswich and Wolves, it's been a bad Christmas period for the Bees. The Millers provide them with their next chance to pick up some league points and they should do so as their opponents are on a very poor run. However, the most notable thing about this game is that it's 'Pay What You Can' so it's damn cheap to get in. Book in advance so you don't miss out. (Championship, Saturday 10 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Leyton Orient v Fleetwood Town - the O's ended last season losing the League One play-off final on penalties after being 2-0 up - devastating stuff. This season has seen them fighting for survival at the other end of the table. With leadership changing in the boardroom, the club has also gone through about 20 managers in the last three months (or something like that, I've lost count) as stability was well and truly lost. However, the rot seems to have stopped as latest boss Fabio Liverani has masterminded comfortable wins over fellow strugglers Crawley and Yeovil to give them hope. Midtable Fleetwood are the next to travel to Brisbane Road and are on a pretty mediocre run so could be there for the taking. (League One, Saturday 10 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Wealdstone v Bath City - it's FA Trophy second round time this weekend which means we're down to the last 32. This is the only tie in the London area and it pits two Conference South sides against each other who had poor starts to their campaigns. Both have now recovered and sit nicely in midtable. The Stones have the more illustrious history and won the Trophy 30 years ago when they were one of the best non-league clubs in the country. Bath have never been beyond the third round. The two league fixtures between the sides this season have already been played with each side winning the away game. It should be close. (FA Trophy, Saturday 10 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Enfield Town v Hendon - we've got a north London derby to look forward to in the Isthmian League on Saturday. Enfield have had a very topsy turvy season with an iffy start, a sensational October and then a December to forget. Consequently they're slap bang in the middle of the table but on a worrying run of five defeats from six in the league. Turning things round against the Greens will be tough. Sitting fourth and with games in hand on top club Margate they are still genuine title contenders and with striker Leon Smith having netted over 20 goals already this season they are an impressive side. The hosts will take heart from their 3-0 win in the match at Earlsmead back in August but it will still take something special to win here. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 10 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Clapton v Haringey Borough - two of my favourite clubs in Step 5/Level 9 meet for this top five Essex Senior League clash on Saturday. The Tons are unrecognisable from the club I went to visit when this blog started out in 2011. Then they were perennial strugglers, lucky to see crowds of more than 20 coming through the turnstiles of their famous old, but very dilapidated, ground (the oldest in London). Now, thanks in large part to the emergence of the Clapton Ultras, they are probably the best supported side in the league and are one of the best sides in it. They are not, though, anywhere near the amazing standards that Haringey have set this season. The club, who actually play on White Hart Lane unlike the more famous side down the road and round the corner, are 11 points clear of nearest challengers FC Romania and look certainties for the title. When these two met at Coles Park on the opening day, Borough won 5-1 but don't let that put you off - the Ultras put on a great show whatever. (Essex Senior League, Saturday 10 January, 3pm. Club info)

9. Molesey v Spelthorne Sports - it's been largely all about Cove and Ashford Town (Middlesex) in the Combined Counties League this season but that could be about to change. As the top two have dropped the odd point here and there, Molesey have crept up to third and have enough games in hand to go top if they win them. At the time of writing they have a match against Raynes Park to negotiate before this one but they are definite contenders. Spelthorne are new to this division following promotion and have made a great start to life at this level. They sensationally won their first seven league games as they made a huge initial impact but they've come down to Earth a bit since then and are currently sixth. Two decent teams, oh and it's a local derby too. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, Saturday 10 January, 3pm. Club info)

10. Farleigh Rovers v Worcester Park - in the division below, looking to emulate Spelthorne's title success, we have these two. Farleigh are eight points clear at the top but lost 3-0 to second placed AFC Croydon Athletic over Christmas as they showed signs of fallibility. Worcester Park are just a point behind them in third. Crucially, though, both have four games in hand on Farleigh which means they could both catch and overtake them. With this in mind, this becomes a must-win game for both sides. When they last met in October, Farleigh won 3-1. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 10 January, 2pm. 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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