Sunday, 8 February 2015

TLFG: 9-15 February 2015

It's been quite a week at TLFG Towers but I can't really tell you that much... yet.

As a teaser I was asked by the FA, in my Non-League Day capacity, to pay them a visit at their Wembley headquarters to discuss a few things. So on Thursday evening I headed up there with a couple of members of the team to have a good chat.

It went really well and hopefully I'll have a lot more to tell you about what could be a very ambitious project this time next week.

It was a big week for the two teams I follow. After yet another away defeat, Harry Redknapp called time on his tenure as manager of QPR. All the signs suggest former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood will replace him, given most of his backroom team are already in place. I'm surprised he still hasn't been installed if I'm honest.

Wembley Stadium looking resplendent on Thursday evening
In the meantime, caretaker boss Chris Ramsey took charge for the visit of high-flying Southampton. It looked like they might pick up a useful point until Sadio Mane won it for the Saints with virtually the last kick of the game. Cruel stuff.

Up at Earlsmead, Steve Baker presided over his first match as Harrow Borough manager and saw his charges bag a priceless 2-0 win over Peacehaven & Telscombe to ensure the day wasn't a total loss.

In other news it was a shame that after all the plugging and promotion for Haringey Borough's free entry offer, their game against Takeley got postponed. These things are sadly all too common at this time of year so make sure you check and doublecheck before heading out to games.

Last up this week, the good people down at Dulwich Hamlet have asked me to give their friendly against Stonewall FC, the gay world champions, a mention. 

Dulwich have been leading the way with their 'Anti-Homophobia in Football' message this season with this game raising funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. 

Fans of all clubs are being strongly encouraged to attend and proudly wear their own colours. With entrance only £3 for adults and £1 concessions it could be a fine way to spend your Wednesday evening. More info here.

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
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 Liverpool - this weekend we reach the fifth round of the FA Cup meaning we're down to the last 16. The best tie in the London area for me is this one between two Premier League teams. These two famously met in the semi-final way back in 1990 and produced one of the best FA Cup matches I've ever watched. The Reds started as big favourites having already beaten the Eagles 9-0 in a league match that season and took a 1-0 lead in the cup match. Palace fought back and eventually won 4-3 in extra-time with current manager Alan Pardew scoring the winner. Since then Liverpool have enjoyed some more big wins but have come unstuck a good few times too with the most recent meeting in November seeing Palace win 3-1. It could be another cracker and I'm backing the Londoners. (FA Cup fifth round, Saturday 14 February, 530pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Everton - the Blues opened a commanding seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Saturday following their win at Aston Villa. Apart from their FA Cup aberration against Bradford, everything's going swimmingly for Jose Mourinho's side right now. Next up are Everton who have halted their losing run in the league but are still finding it hard to do much more than draw. Stamford Bridge is not a happy hunting ground for the Toffees who haven't won here since 1994. When the sides met at Goodison Park in August, Chelsea won 6-3 so another nine-goal thriller would be nice. (Premier League, Wednesday 11 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

3. Brentford v Watford - just when you think Brentford's bubble is going to burst they get right back on track. When they lost to fellow promotion contenders Middlesbrough last week I thought they might start to slide - a side of their limited resources can only keep a great run going for so long. However, on Saturday they won 1-0 against Leeds United at Elland Road to fire themselves back into the top four. The week ahead is packed with another two big games with the first being this derby against the Hornets. The Hertfordshire club are just two points behind and scoring heavily (13 in four games). They also beat Brentford in the reverse fixture so we could have quite a game on our hands. (Championship, Tuesday 10 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Leyton Orient v Notts County - the O's poor season hit its nadir last week when they got thumped 4-1 at home by fellow strugglers Scunthorpe. It sent them to the bottom of the table some five points adrift of safety meaning it's all a bit grim at the moment. Notts County were competing for a play-off spot not that long ago but seven defeats from their last 10 games has sent them sliding down the table. Things are tight in the League One table so three or four wins could reignite both sides' seasons pretty quickly. (League One, Tuesday 10 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Dagenham & Redbridge v Portsmouth - rewind five years and you come to two very big seasons in each club's history. The Daggers edged into the League Two play-offs and won them to move up to League One. Pompey, on the other hand, made it to the FA Cup final but lost and also lost their Premier League status as their bad finances began to get the better of them. Since then both sides have struggled and they now find themselves in the lower half of League Two with just goal difference separating them. Dagenham are in marginally better form at present but they've lost all three of their previous meetings against the Hampshire club so could be vulnerable. (League Two, Tuesday 10 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

6. Bromley v Hayes & Yeading United - the Ravens finally moved to the top of the table on Saturday after crushing Staines Town 6-0 at Wheatsheaf Lane. It was their third win on the bounce and put them a point ahead of Boreham Wood who comfortably lost another big game to leave them looking worryingly shaky. Hayes & Yeading needed a reprieve to avoid relegation last season but they look like wasting it as they dangle dangerously above the bottom two at the time of writing. With only one win in 10 league games they could get tonked here. (Conference South, Saturday 14 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Hendon v East Thurrock United - my match of the week in the Isthmian League's top flight sees fourth play sixth. Given that these two both average crowds of around 190 it's a great achievement that they're doing so well. Neither have played at a higher level with Hendon having competed in this division every year since 1963 - no mean feat. East Thurrock didn't even exist then so have some catching up to do when it comes to history and honours. Promotion to the Conference South would go some way to redressing the balance. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Monday 9 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

8. Aveley v Brentwood Town - after winning the derby at Thurrock on Saturday, Aveley have another tough all-Essex clash to prepare for on Saturday. With three wins from five, the Millers find themselves in eighth and still in play-off contention. Brentwood are in similar form but are up in third and are the type of side that must be beaten if promotion is to be seriously considered. Having lost their last meeting 3-1 it's going to be tough for the hosts. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, Saturday 14 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Molesey v Ashford Town (Middlesex) - over on the opposite side of town we have a derby between two title contenders in the Combined Counties League. Although down in fourth, Molesey have games in hand on all above them which if won could put them right in the mix. Prior to their loss to Farnham on Saturday, they had won eight games in row to shoot up the table. Ashford, on the other hand, started the season well but had a dodgy spell in January which saw them miss the chance of taking a sizeable lead. They appear to have put that form behind them since then with two big wins, setting things up nicely for this match on Saturday. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, Saturday 14 February, 3pm. Club info)

10. Farleigh Rovers v AFC Croydon Athletic - top game of the week in the tenth tier pits first and second in the Combined Counties League Division 1. Farleigh have been top for a while but even with an eight-point lead they can't feel safe. This is because all their main rivals have several games in hand - even Banstead who are 20 points behind in sixth can still overtake them. Despite this they are top for a reason. With 13 wins from their last 15 games they deserve to be up there. The Rams have won 11 in the same time including a 3-0 triumph over Farleigh just after Christmas so they're no mugs. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 14 February, 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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