Sunday 5 July 2015

TLFG: 6-12 July 2015

Hello and welcome to TLFG. How have you been?

West Ham kicked off the new season with a 3-0 win over FC Lusitans in the Europa League on Thursday in front of a capacity crowd of 35,000 at the Boleyn Ground. Did you get a ticket?

There were also a few friendlies too but the next seven days sees things really begin to hot up with over 50 matches taking place.

We've got a couple of Premier League teams taking their first tentative steps of the summer, local derbies and even a tournament between four near neighbours down at Corinthian Casuals.

A fine way to spend a weekend and great value too
Aside from this we also had the release of the renamed National League (formerly Conference) fixtures and also the draws of the early rounds of the various FA competitions.

The National League fixtures were interesting for me as it gives us our first list of games which will be played on this year's Non-League Day with former Football League club Tranmere Rovers among those who will be hosting. Locally, Boreham Wood and Bromley are both at home too.

Lokalrunde, our sister event in Germany and Switzerland, is also developing well and they received their first batch of fixtures a few days ago too. To the many readers of this blog who are based in Germany I strongly urge you to visit their website and see what they're about.

Enjoy your week ahead, there are some decent games on offer. I've compiled a Top 10 below to help you decide. Please also double-check venues with clubs as some matches are being played at neutral or unusual locations.

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 50 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).

Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red 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. AFC Wimbledon v Watford - the Dons and Hornets get their pre-seasons under way on Saturday with this attractive fixture at Kingsmeadow. The 2014/15 campaign was good to both sides. Wimbledon, with one of the smaller budgets in the division, comfortably achieved a solid midtable finish in League Two and even played Liverpool in a televised and thoroughly entertaining FA Cup tie. Watford, on the other hand, won promotion to the Premier League after an eight-year absence and missed out on the Championship title simply by conceding a very late goal against Sheffield Wednesday. Despite this success, the visitors have yet another new manager, Quique Flores, in place and this will be his first game in charge. (Friendly, Saturday 11 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

2. Barnet v Crystal Palace - if getting to north London is easier for you, then you can get a look at another Premier League squad in action at The Hive. Hosts Barnet began their pre-season with an emphatic 6-1 win over non-league Hungerford on Saturday. The Bees, newly promoted to League Two, will hopefully find the top-flight Eagles a bit more of a challenge. Please note, that tickets must be bought in advance with no sales on the turnstile. (Friendly, Saturday 11 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Welling United v Charlton Athletic - the pick of the games in south-east London this week has to be this derby between clubs from the National League and Championship. The Wings often host Charlton in pre-season, often producing entertaining games in front of decent sized crowds. Although you will be able to buy tickets on the day, they are cheaper if bought in advance. (Friendly, Saturday 11 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Sutton United v Bristol Rovers - usually among the promotion contenders, last season's 15th-placed finish was a bit disappointing from Sutton. They'll be looking to get back to winning ways this campaign and as a statement of that intent have spent the off-season laying a brand new 3G pitch at Gander Green Lane. This match against Rovers, recently returned to League Two after winning the Conference play-offs, will be their first on the new surface. The other attraction of this fixture is that it's taking place on Sunday, allowing you to grab a second game over the weekend. (Friendly, Sunday 12 July, 1pm. Ticket info)

5. Wealdstone v Stevenage - after a dreadful start last year, the Stones finished well and stayed up with ease. This year they will be looking to build on this and begin firmly establishing themselves in the National League South. On Saturday they welcome Hertfordshire club Stevenage who made it to the League Two play-offs last season. Defeat in these saw manager Graham Westley depart and be replaced by former Manchester United and England striker Teddy Sheringham making his first foray into management - this will be his first game in charge. (Friendly, Saturday 11 July, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Dulwich Hamlet v Peterborough United - on Wednesday head down to Champion Hill to see Dulwich open their pre-season campaign against League One big boys Peterborough United. The hosts are an improving side who made it to the Isthmian League Premier Division play-offs last season and must be among the title favourites this time round. Posh are usually there or thereabouts in England's third tier and signed Dulwich's star player Erhun Oztumer a year ago with this friendly presumably part of the deal. (Friendly, Wednesday 8 July, 745pm. Ticket info)

7. Dulwich Hamlet v Altona 93 - I try to avoid giving one club two listings in a week but this game is a bit special and worthy of a mention. Dulwich have one of the best group of fans in non-league football and they've built a strong relationship with German amateur club Altona 93. Supporters from both sides often visit each others' clubs for a game during the course of a season - this summer their clubs are actually playing each other and next year the Hamlet will go to Germany in a reverse of the fixture, fundraising for which is ongoing. The hosts always try to do things a little differently and for this one, rather than charge the normal £10 to get in, they'll accept €10 instead. (Friendly, Saturday 11 July, 6pm. Ticket info)

8. Geoff Harvey Memorial Vase - one of the highlights of pre-season in south-west London is this four-club tournament which takes place over the course of a weekend. Historic club Corinthian Casuals play host to three clubs from the local area, adding a derby feel to proceedings. This year's guest teams are Hampton & Richmond Borough, Metropolitan Police and Tooting & Mitcham United - which means it's two clubs from the Isthmian Premier and two from the Isthmian South. Saturday sees the two semi-finals and Sunday a third-place play-off and final. Tickets are available by the day (£8) or the whole weekend at a reduced rate (£12). (Pre-season tournament, Saturday & Sunday 11/12 July, Matches at 11am & 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Hampton & Richmond Borough v Brentford XI - the Beevers will warm up for the above tournament with a now customary pre-season game against a squad from Brentford. The Bees haven't got this listed as a first-team fixture so will probably only field players from their U21 development squad but there might be one or two notables. If the weather's nice, the Beveree is a fine place to spend a summer evening. (Friendly, Wednesday 8 July, 745pm. Club info)

10. Metropolitan Police v Fulham XI - just down the road at Imber Court, the Met will also be preparing for the Geoff Harvey tournament with a game against local Championship opposition. Like Brentford, the Cottagers are only likely to put out youngsters and they should face quite a stiff test against a side who made the Isthmian Premier play-offs last season. (Friendly, Wednesday 8 July, 745pm. 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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