Sunday, 12 July 2015

TLFG: 13-19 July 2015

The week began with a lot of hope and excitement as the pre-season fixtures really started to get going for another year.

However, during Tuesday evening's game between Whyteleafe and Tonbridge Angels tragedy struck as 24-year-old Junior Dian, on trial with the visitors, collapsed on the pitch and later died. 

The story made national news and raised the issue of undiagnosed cardiac problems in the young again. Charity CRY do a lot of good work on this topic so check their website if you want to know any more about this subject.

There's another bargain to be had at the Boleyn Ground
Despite this terrible incident, the world of football continued to turn and the action continued elsewhere with a few cracking encounters watched by several readers.

This week is almost like a normal one with 80 games to choose from, including the next instalment of West Ham's Europa League odyssey as Maltese club Birkirkara wend their way to Upton Park.

Personally I haven't seen anything live over the last few days but our Non-League Day preparations have stepped up a gear. 

On the non-league front, we should have the Isthmian and Southern League fixtures by Friday - an exciting time for many clubs in our region.

Enjoy your football and get in touch if you have any questions.

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 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
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Orange pin - Thursday 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. West Ham United v Birkirkara - it's only the middle of July but this will be the Hammers' third competitive match of the season as their Europa League adventure continues. Having seen off Andorra's Lusitans in the opening round, the Stripes provide their next opponents. Slaven Bilic's side should see off the Maltese cup holders with ease and with tickets at only £10 for adults and £5 for kids it's likely to sell out again. Remember, this is the final season the club will be playing at the Boleyn Ground so if you don't get to London often, this could be your final chance. (Europa League, Thursday 16 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. AFC Wimbledon v Millwall - aside from the game above, the rest of this week's games are all pre-season friendlies. This derby on Saturday between clubs from League Two and League One should be fairly competitive and hence worth a watch. The Dons will once again be looking to consolidate their position in the division and push towards a play-off spot. They began their pre-season with an entertaining 2-2 draw against Premier League newcomers Watford on Saturday. The Lions, however, are looking to regroup after suffering relegation from the Championship and boss Neil Harris has already seen his side installed as one of the favourites to go up. (Friendly, Saturday 18 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Boreham Wood v Brentford - the Wood usually manage to put together a decent pre-season schedule and this week they welcome League Two side Luton Town on Tuesday and then Championship club Brentford on Sunday. Both sides made it to the play-offs in their respective divisions last season - the Wood won theirs to make it to the newly re-named National League (Level 5 in the national system) while the Bees came unstuck at the semi-final stage to miss out on a place in the Premier League. Relations have been good between these clubs since they met in the FA Cup back in 2012 - a tie Brentford unsurprisingly won 2-0. (Friendly, Sunday 19 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Bromley v Millwall - the aforementioned Lions actually begin their pre-season on Tuesday with a visit to fellow south-east Londoners Bromley. Like Boreham Wood, the Ravens also made it out of the Conference South last season but as champions. Unlike the Wood, they are fancied to hold their own and survive their first season at this level. Millwall should provide a good test for them and attract a sizeable crowd so turn up in good time. (Friendly, Tuesday 14 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Dulwich Hamlet v Dagenham & Redbridge - the Champion Hill outfit put on two thoroughly entertaining friendlies last week against Peterborough and Altona 93. Although they narrowly lost both, a total of 13 goals were scored. Next up they welcome the Daggers from east London. A former non-league side themselves, D&R now compete in League Two and achieved a much improved midtable finish in 2014/15. With away wins over St Albans City and Maidstone United last week, they arrive in good form. (Friendly, Tuesday 14 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

6. Sutton United v Crystal Palace XI this local derby will mark an historic moment for Sutton as this game will be used to officially inaugurate their new 3G pitch. Although the first game on it will actually be against Bristol Rovers today (Sunday), this match against neighbours Palace is the big one. Although not a full Eagles side, I expect one or two notables to make an appearance as the first team's next game isn't until Saturday. (Friendly, Tuesday 14 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

7. Kingstonian v Chelsea XI - The Isthmian League K's seem to be making a habit of attracting a Blues squad to Kingsmeadow in pre-season having played them as recently as 2012. Once again this is listed as an U21 game for Chelsea so don't expect to see Diego Costa or John Terry pulling on their boots for this one. Even so, tickets have been selling well and I'm told only a few will be available on the night so, once again, get there early to avoid disappointment. (Friendly, Monday 13 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

8. Welling United v Ebbsfleet United - after the visit of Charlton on Saturday, Park View Road plays host to another derby match this week. On paper, National League side Welling should be the favourites as Ebbsfleet are from the division below. However, it should be pretty even as the Wings narrowly avoided relegation last season and are expected to struggle again while the visitors are among the title favourites in the National League South. There's a bit of added spice to this one as Ebbsfleet lured Welling's long-serving manager Jamie Day to Stonebridge Road during last season, only to dispense with his services a few months later. (Friendly, Saturday 18 July, 3pm. Club info)

9. Thurrock v Dartford when I started this blog in 2011 these two were rivals in what is now the National League South. Since then Thurrock have suffered two relegations and Dartford have experienced a promotion, a reprieve and a relegation. If you've kept up then that means the Darts are back where they started and the clubs are currently two divisions apart. Playing at either end of the Queen Elizabeth II bridge which spans the Thames this is a cross-river derby and should hopefully pull in a few spectators. (Friendly, Tuesday 14 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

10. Enfield Town v AFC Rushden & Diamonds - lastly this week we have a game between two fan-owned clubs. Enfield's season ended in chaos a couple of months ago when a play-off place was taken away from them after they were controversially judged to have fielded an ineligible player. The decision and the cost of unsuccessful appeals were damaging for the club and they'll be desperate to put it behind them this year. The visitors are a reincarnation of Northamptonshire club Rushden & Diamonds who progressed quickly from the depths of non-league to what is now League One following investment from Dr Martens owner Max Griggs. He sold up and financial problems ensued which saw the club enter administration in 2011. This new fan-run club began in 2012 and they have now made it through the United Counties League to take their place in the Southern League Division 1 Central, a level below Enfield. Given the previous size of the club, their fan base is still relatively large and should bring a few with them. (Friendly, Saturday 18 July, 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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