Sunday, 12 April 2015

TLFG: 13-19 April 2015

Footballwise it's been a pretty poor one for me this weekend.

As you may well be aware, QPR took on the mighty Chelsea in the west London derby this afternoon (Sunday) and lost 1-0 to virtually the last kick of the game - the Blues' only shot on target.

I thought former England manager Graham Taylor, who was summarising on the radio, was going to cry so aggrieved did he seem with the result.

Before the game I said to friends that I felt this could be the pivotal point of the season - a win or even a draw would have given QPR's players great heart and belief as they went into the final five games. 

Sadly I feel the manner of this defeat, which left some players visibly devastated could have the opposite effect - perhaps more than a comprehensive defeat which most people would have expected.

Only time will tell.

On the non-league side of things, Harrow Borough's lengthy unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday at the hands of bottom club Bury Town - a team so bad, they had already been relegated. Although Boro remain outside the relegation places, it's only on goal difference so the final two league games will be a nervy affair.

Coming soon...
The high point of the weekend, however, was meeting up with German TLFG reader Christoph who was visiting from Freiburg. Along with his friend Daniel from Munich, he's here for a five-day feast of London football spanning last Friday to this coming Tuesday.

With visits to Fulham and AFC Wimbledon completed, I met him ahead of his visit to the aforementioned QPR v Chelsea game and gave him a tour of W12 taking in the sights of Shepherd's Bush Green, Westfield, the now closed BBC TV Centre, the 1908 Olympic heritage at the other BBC campus further up Wood Lane and a general walk around QPR's ground and surrounding streets giving a bit of background to club and the match in question and pointing out my former flat opposite the turnstiles on Ellerslie Road.

As a result of his love of football here in the capital, he's made a move into sports book publishing and has set up his own house/label called 'pretty good books' who among other things will be publishing a German translation of Dutch TLFG reader Paul's book 'Match Days' which I've frequently mentioned on here before.

Not only this but he's working on a German language football guide book to London with the inspired title 'Der London Fussball Guide' - hmmm, maybe I should get royalties?

Anyway, it was a pleasure to meet him and Christoph, if you're reading, good luck and I'm sure I'll see you again soon.

UPDATE 17/04/15: We love a 'Pay What You Want' deal at TLFG and we've only recently discovered that Hampton & Richmond Borough are running such a promotion for their Isthmian League match against Bury Town tomorrow (Saturday) so give it your support if you're free.

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 90 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
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. Chelsea v Manchester United - after successfully earning wins in tricky looking derby games on Sunday, these two giants of the English game meet at Stamford Bridge this weekend. Personally I think it's a disgrace that this match has been scheduled to take place at the same time as the FA Cup semi-final mentioned below, it shouldn't even be on the same day but what do the TV barons care? With that grumble out of the way, this match will give Chelsea an almost unassailable 10-point lead over Arsenal if they win with United left even further behind. Quite simply the Blues could effectively, though not mathematically, win the title here and United could lose any chance of catching them. (Premier League, Saturday 18 April, 530pm. Ticket info)

2. Arsenal v Reading - we've come to that time of the year when only four teams remain in the FA Cup. Now played over a weekend, both semi-final ties are held at Wembley and we get under way on Saturday with a match which looks easy to predict - in theory. The Gunners are second in the top flight, reigning FA Cup champions and are in spectacular form with 10 wins from their last 11 in all competitions. The Royals, however, are winless in five in the Championship and are generally having a season to forget. Somehow they've managed to get to the final four of this competition without meeting Premier League opposition and needed a replay to get past League One side Bradford in the last round. Surely there can only be one winner - right?  (FA Cup semi-final, Saturday 18 April, 520pm. Tickets are only available from the participating clubs)

3. Aston Villa v Liverpool - the following day we have what should be a much more closely contested match. For both sides, this represents their only remaining chance of silverware this season. Interestingly, Villa and the Reds have both won seven times so they both have plenty of pedigree in the competition. However, Liverpool must start as favourites - they are the better side and won at Villa Park when they last played in January. Tim Sherwood's team are also not quite safe from relegation so the new man in the hot-seat might  have half an eye on protecting his players for the last few league games - let's face it, for winning the FA Cup you get a cheque for £1.8m which is chicken feed compared to what you get for staying in the Premier League. (FA Cup semi-final, Sunday 19 April, 3pm. Tickets are only available from the participating clubs)

4. Millwall v Wigan Athletic - there are some perhaps more attractive games in the Championship this week but this one will be more decisive for the two clubs involved. Both are level pegging in the bottom three and need to win to have any chance of realistically avoiding the drop. If fellow strugglers Rotherham win at Fulham the following night, the losers of this game will be left nine points adrift. Mathematically defeat won't be terminal for either but with less than a handful of games to go, the writing will be on the wall. (Championship, Tuesday 14 April, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Bromley v Weston-Super-Mare - with the regular season coming to an end for most of our local non-league competitions over the next two weeks, many big issues could get resolved over the next few days. The first is the Conference South title which, as it stands, looks likely to be heading to Bromley on the south-east side of town. They've been neck and neck with north London rivals Boreham Wood all season and crucially beat them last weekend. Despite this they are only two points clear with two games to go. However, The Wood have played a game more meaning that if the Ravens win here then glory will be theirs and a place in the Conference National will await them next season. West Country side WSM are at the wrong end of the table but have avoided relegation so have nothing to play for. At this stage only nerves can deny Bromley but it is effectively the biggest match in their history as they have never played above this level. It's huge for all concerned. (Conference South, Saturday 18 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dulwich Hamlet v Maidstone United - a little over six miles to the north west, we have another monster of a game which could see the Isthmian League title decided. Dulwich and Maidstone, in terms of attendance, are the two biggest clubs in the division and a few weeks ago both were in contention for the championship. As a result, the powers that be at Champion Hill declared that this match should be made All-Ticket as demand would probably outstrip supply. Sadly for the Hamlet they went on a pretty dodgy run and fell out of the title race, so much so that this match will actually decide whether or not they make the play-offs! Given their current four-point cushion they'll probably be fine but they can't take any chances. Since losing at second-placed Hendon last weekend, Maidstone have put themselves back in the driving seat and know that all they need to do is better the Greens' result at Grays to claim a place in the Conference South. Matching it will effectively also give them the title as they have a vastly superior goal difference. Don't forget, this is still All-Ticket, which means you need to purchase in advance to attend - online options are available. I've got mine. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 18 April, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Erith & Belvedere v Phoenix Sports at Park View Road not only have we got another possible title decider but it's a local derby as well. Phoenix have topped the Southern Counties East League for ages but for a long time they were being pushed hard by near neighbours E&B. The latter have fallen away to third but are mathematically still in with a chance of toppling them with four games to go. Really it should all be over already but Phoenix made a right mess of Saturday's home game against second-placed Ashford who came from behind with 10 men to win with an 89th-minute goal. That result means that a win for Ashford in their game against Sevenoaks the previous night will keep the title race alive no matter what happens here but if they drop any points then a Phoenix win will prove decisive. (Southern Counties East League, Wednesday 15 April, 745pm. Ticket info)

8. Haringey Borough v Bowers & Pitsea - as a result of bad weather both these title-chasing sides have three re-arranged league games to play (one for HB and two for B&P) before this match takes place on Saturday. Consequently this could be an Essex Senior League title decider between the top two or a match between the champions and the third-placed team depending on how things go. Aside from a couple of brief weeks, Haringey have led all the way and it would take a spectacular collapse to see them come unstuck. It is, though, still possible. Watch the results as the week progresses to see how significant this match becomes. (Essex Senior League, Saturday 18 April, 3pm. Club info)

9. Molesey v Camberley Town - at the time of writing these are the only two clubs with a realistic chance of winning the Combined Counties League title. Although Camberley are currently six points clear, they have played three games more than the Moles. The hosts travel to Colliers Wood in midweek so could close the gap to three. As above, there are several permutations affecting the significance of this game but defeat for Molesey at The Wibbandune and in this one would effectively hand the visitors the title. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, Saturday 18 April, 3pm. Club info)

10. Farleigh Rovers v Worcester Park in the division below, long-term leaders Farleigh know a draw against third place Worcester Park will be enough to seal the divisional crown. An Easter victory over closest rivals AFC Croydon Athletic made almost sure of things but the Rams' win over CB Hounslow on Saturday kept their hopes alive for another week. If they do get the required result, the celebrations will no doubt be tinged with some disappointment as their ground doesn't meet the standards required for promotion so Croydon will probably enjoy the last laugh as theirs does and three teams can go up. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 18 April, 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.