Sunday, 17 May 2015

TLFG: 18-31 May 2015

'And now, the end is near...' as a wise man once sung - yes this is it, the final entry of the 2014/15 season has arrived.

Things have been getting quieter and quieter over the last few weeks and as a result there won't be a top 10 again this week - there are only about 10 games taking place anyway.

That's not to say what there is won't be thrilling, far from it.

With the final round of Premier League games, the Football League play-offs and the FA Cup Final all happening over the next couple of weeks there's a lot of big matches to look forward to.

The Premier League has already been won by Chelsea but there's still the battle for second and some relegation issues to be settled.

Margate (blue and white) defend an early Hendon free-kick
On the subject of Chelsea - the Blues are holding a victory parade on Monday 25 May from 12pm in the area around Stamford Bridge. More details of the open-top bus route can be found via the match map below.

The play-offs are usually always full of drama and although no London sides are involved, I thoroughly recommend a trip to Wembley for one of these.

Tickets are available directly from each competing club and most seem to be putting some on general sale so if you're quick you should be able to get something, even for the Championship game which usually sells out. Links to all the relevant club sites can be found on our 'Match Ticket Info' page.

Sadly the FA Cup Final is sold out and only illegal touts or massively overpriced hospitality packages will be your only chance of getting in.

What is likely to be my final game of the season took place at Earlsmead this afternoon (Sunday) where I saw the long awaited Isthmian League Premier Division play-off final.

Hendon took on Margate in a David v Goliath contest.

The Greens have been without a ground of their own for several years and consequently have seen their support and finances dwindle.

Despite this, manager Gary McCann has built a fine squad which this year finished second in the Isthmian League, won the League Cup and London Senior Cup.

Margate on the other hand have spent a small fortune building their squad and fielded a number of players with Football League experience. They probably also provided the best part of 1,000 of the 1,228 crowd so it was really like an away game for the hosts.

The London club battled gamely for the first 20 minutes until striker Aaron Morgan picked up an incredibly harsh red card after lunging to block Tambeson Eyong's clearance.

This put Hendon on the backfoot and saw them pretty much plotting for penalties with 65 minutes of normal time to go.

Margate upped their game and got the opener shortly before the interval when Ryan Moss tapped in from close range.

It seemed closer after the break and although Ben McNamara was far the busier keeper, it was hardly an onslaught.

Ultimately the Kent club never really looked threatened and secured the 1-0 win which sees them join county rivals Maidstone United in the Conference South next season.

In other news, it was pleasing this week to hear that Martin from the USA, who I helped secure some tickets in the Swansea end for their trip to Arsenal on Monday had a great time. What a night to become a Swans fan! Apparently there was 'mayhem' when they scored but he still had an 'awesome' time.

The interactions I've had with you, the readers, are definitely the highlight of writing this blog so please keep the questions coming - I can't always help but I always try.

So I think that's about it from me for the 'summer'. I hope you've enjoyed this season's output and found it useful. I think TLFG will be down for about six weeks. Some clubs have already published friendly fixtures for the first week of July so we'll be up and running again in time for those.

Have a great close season and hope to welcome you back again soon.

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 only about 10 matches in the London area over the next couple of weeks so things really are starting to wind down for the summer.

At the lowest levels the venue and kick-off times can be hard to get hold of or be unreliable so please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time 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 18 May fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday 19 May fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday 20 May fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday 23 May fixtures
White pin - Sunday 24 May fixtures
Orange pin - Monday 25 May fixtures
Claret pin - Tuesday 26 May fixtures
Red pin - Saturday 30 May fixtures

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.