Monday, 2 February 2015

TLFG: 2-8 February 2015

In last week's TLFG I highlighted the cheap tickets on offer at Dagenham & Redbridge for their League Two match against Cheltenham Town. 

The match and prices were part of the 'Daggers Against Racism Day' and drew a crowd of 2,696 which was their biggest of the season so far.

By writing and researching this blog and putting Non-League Day together, I've come across a lot of special offers which clubs have come up with to get extra people in. 

In my experience, the vast majority of them work especially if they are marketed well. Over the last year or two we've seen several 'Pay What You Want' deals at a handful of clubs at levels all the way up to the Championship which have often delivered spectacular results.

I know such schemes seem risky on paper but they rarely fail and I'd love to see more clubs in the London area try them at least once a season.

FREE ENTRY AT HARINGEY BOROUGH
STRAIGHT AFTER SPURS v ARSENAL

This weekend, Essex Senior League leaders Haringey Borough are throwing their doors open to allow FREE ADMISSION to everyone for their match against Takeley. This is a great effort by the north London club who are having one of the best seasons in their history. Presumably they've done it because Tottenham and Arsenal are playing each other in a lunchtime kick-off quite literally at the end of their road (Haringey play on White Hart Lane). So please, please, please drop in on them afterwards if you're going to the derby game first. I've talked about 'Target 1%' on here before - quite simply if just one percent of the crowd going to the 'big game' head to Haringey's match after then it''ll be their biggest crowd of the year if not many years. Go on, give it a go!

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 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).

MATCH MAP
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. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - once again this week's top game has been easy to select. Spurs v Arsenal in my book is the biggest London derby. The clubs have been playing competitively against each other since 1909 and I think this will be their 175th meeting. The Gunners have historically been the better side and are unbeaten in four against their north London rivals. This year the sides are desperately close with only two points between them. They are both in good form too. It ended 1-1 last time and it should be tight again. (Premier League, Saturday 7 February, 1245pm. Ticket info)

2. West Ham United v Manchester United - a day later we have another match between two sides chasing European places. The Hammers were in the top four not that long ago but it's gone a bit pear shaped of late with only one win from six. They're now down in eighth, six points adrift of the top four. Manchester United, on the other hand, are a side going in the opposite direction. After a poor start they've now only come unstuck once in their last 15 matches and with a very good record against the east London club, it's not looking too good for Sam Allardyce and his men. (Premier League, Sunday 8 February, 415pm. Ticket info)

3. Fulham v Sunderland - it's FA Cup time again on Tuesday when we have a real chance of an upset in this fourth round replay. The initial match at the Stadium of Light ended in a goalless draw just over a week ago so you'd think the hardest work was out of the way for the Cottagers. The west London club aren't having the best of seasons in England's second tier but they're competitive at home and have nothing to lose. The Mackems are among the top flight's more vulnerable looking teams but warmed up for this with a tidy 2-0 home win over Burnley. They have also won at Craven Cottage on their last two visits so can't be written off. Also, tickets for this are only £15 if purchased before match day. Bargain! (FA Cup, Tuesday 3 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. AFC Wimbledon v Newport County - I think I'm right in saying that the Dons are having their best season since they came up from the Conference. At present they're 13th in League Two with a game in hand on most of those above them, which if won would leave them only four points short of the play-off places. With 19 games still to go, promotion is still very much a possibility. If they are to challenge then they'll need to beat Newport who are currently one of the leading pack but looking shaky. With three defeats on the trot and not a single goal scored their confidence will be low and they should be there for the taking. (League Two, Saturday 7 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Barnet v Woking - up at The Hive we've got a top-six tussle in the Conference. The Bees have impressed under Martin Allen and have opened up a seven-point lead at the top. They went through a slightly worrying patch at the turn of the year but got things back on track last weekend with a 4-0 drubbing of Southport. On Saturday their game at Halifax got called off so two weeks will have passed by the time this game comes round. If my memory serves me correctly, the Cards were their main challengers earlier in the season but a poor December and January has dropped them well out of title contention. They are still well positioned to fight for a play-off place though and having held Barnet to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture, should be capable of giving them a good game. Oh yes, it's also a bit of a derby too with Woking located just outside the M25. (Conference National, Saturday 7 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Bromley v Farnborough - somehow relative minnows Boreham Wood have been at the top of the Conference South for sometime now but I have a feeling they're going to get toppled pretty soon. A sound 4-0 thrashing at home to fellow contenders Basingstoke on Saturday must have been devastating and leaves them only two points ahead of Bromley. The Ravens have been on their heels for a while and would've overtaken them already if they hadn't had such a bad start to 2015. However, they've bounced back superbly with consecutive wins over Basingstoke and Havant & Waterlooville who are also right up there. With two games in hand on the leaders, they're in a very strong position. The first of these is this one against Farnborough who are on a run of three straight defeats and in the bottom two. Surely the Kent club will be top by the end of Tuesday night, won't they? (Conference South, Tuesday 3 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

7. Wingate & Finchley v Maidstone United - it's not often that W&F make the Top 10 two weeks in a row but they're having one of the best seasons in their history. Last week I told you to go and check out their game at local rivals Harrow Borough but bad weather saw the game postponed. This week they face the toughest of challenges as the Isthmian League's biggest and currently best club roll into town. W&F are one of the smallest clubs in the division but shrewd management has seen them remain in the top seven all season. With David Knight, the league's top scorer, leading the line they are a match for anyone. They'll need to be in top form on Saturday for this too as Maidstone look to extend their lead at the top to seven points. The hosts are in marginally better form at the moment but lost comfortably when the two last played in October. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 7 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Thurrock v Aveley - it's derby day over in Essex this weekend as these two very local rivals go head-to-head. The Thurrock council area in general is a hot bed of non-league football but with only a mile separating these two you won't find too many that are closer (excluding groundshares). Having suffered relegations in recent seasons, both sides are used to bigger and better things but they are neck and neck in the race to steal into the play-off places as we move into the last third of the season. Predicting an outcome to this will be tough as the sides have already played three times this season with Aveley winning two cup games but then getting stuffed 4-0 at home in the league. It's anyone's. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 7 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Barking v Haringey Borough - matches don't get much bigger than this in the ninth tier this week with the top two in the Essex Senior League battling for supremacy. Most of the talk has been about Haringey and their amazing form this season as they have pretty much led the way from the outset. However, they haven't been able to shake off the Blues just yet. Although they have a six-point lead and a game in hand, there is still the best part of half a season of games still left to play so the east Londoners could easily make up the ground - especially if they win here. Bring it on! (Essex Senior League, Tuesday 3 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

10. Harefield United v Tring Athletic - over in the parallel Spartan South Midlands League we've got a game between two of the top five to look forward to. From a local point of view it's been all about Sun Sports so far in this division but they've now been usurped by Harefield to become the main challenger from TLFG's catchment area. Currently third and five points off championship pace, they've got to keep winning to have any chance of bridging the gap especially when you consider they've played five games more than top dogs Kings Langley. Given that Tring also have games in hand on Harefield, the two sides are pretty evenly matched. (Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, Saturday 7 February, 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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