Sunday, 13 September 2015

TLFG: 14-20 September 2015

Hello and welcome to the first TLFG from Turkey.

Yes that's right readers, I'm on holiday in one of Europe's eastern outposts and having a relaxing time thanks very much. However, I couldn't let you all down and brought my laptop with me to make sure this got published. I know - what a hero.

I've been based in a small mountain village called Islamlar to the north of the resort town of Kalkan both of which I can highly recommend.

In this idyllic spot it's easy to forget that refugees are fighting for their lives off the western coast and the army is in combat with Kurdish factions in the far south east.

The latter conflict is taking place over 700 miles from my current location which gives you some idea of the size of this country if you needed any reminding.

Getting back to more mundane matters, being on the side of a mountain means there's no local football team. Apparently there is one in town but it's a taxi ride away and I'm not even sure they're playing.

The big teams round here are Fethiyespor (third tier - about 30 miles away) and Antalyaspor (top tier - about 100 miles away). Both were/are at home this weekend but are unreachable without a car which I don't have - disappointing.
Less than four weeks to go!
Aside from all this, Non-League Day preparations have continued.

We've got some new t-shirts available with part of the proceeds going to our charity partners Prostate Cancer UK. We've got downloads and banners which you can print off or add to your website to help us promote it and we've been nominated for the 'Football Influencer' award at the Football Blogging Awards. If you think we're worth it, you can vote for us here.

Lots of fixtures have also been confirmed and they are being added to the match map as the days go by. Have a look and see what's on near you.

Right, that's it from me. Heading back to Blighty tomorrow so need to make the most of my final day and also get some packing done.

PS - I've tweaked the match map again. Not only are the matches now chronologically ordered by day on the left hand side of the map, the games are also ranked by tier. So for example Premier League games will appear at the top of the list each day if there are any. Where teams play at the same level but in different leagues, ranking will then be alphabetical. Hope this makes sense.

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 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. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (white pin) last.

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
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. Chelsea v Arsenal - it really wasn't hard to pick this week's top game but this time the scenario is very different to normal. Although these are London's two biggest clubs, they find themselves in contrasting positions. It's business as usual for the Gunners, coasting along in third as you would expect but it's all gone haywire for the Blues. The reigning league champions have won only one of their five games so far and languish in 16th - an almost unthinkable situation. Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Everton saw them fall 11 points behind leaders Manchester City. If they are to have any hope of challenging for even a top three finish then this has already become a must-win game. (Premier League, Saturday 19 September, 1245pm. Ticket info)

2. Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace - there's also been a bit of an unexpected start by both clubs in this other derby. Spurs have become a fairly solid fixture in the top six over the last few years and have even made it into the Champions League so it is a surprise to find them winless after four games and down near the relegation zone. Palace were second before their narrow defeat to all-conquering Manchester City on Saturday but are still up in the top four after a very bright start. The Eagles took four points off Tottenham last season and another three could well be theirs on Sunday. (Premier League, Sunday 20 September, 130pm. Ticket info)

3. Queens Park Rangers v Blackburn Rovers - there's not a lot whetting my appetite in the Championship this week and if I wasn't a QPR fan who is going to this then I probably wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it. Rangers have made a reasonable start to life back in the second tier so it was disappointing to give away the lead in the process of losing 2-1 to Nottingham Forest on Saturday. The bright point was Charlie Austin scoring again as he continues to prove that he was well worth the £15m asking price that no top flight club were apparently prepared to meet over the summer. Former Premier League champions Blackburn have had some financial problems of late and are winless going into their Sunday match against Fulham. QPR really should win but anything's possible in this division. (Championship, Wednesday 16 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Millwall v Southend United - the Lions went into this campaign as one of the bookies' favourites for the League One title so I guess it's fair to say they are underachieving at this point. Sitting just a point above the relegation places after six games is disappointing but in newly promoted Southend, who are just below them, they face beatable opposition. The main reason for listing this match is that it is, apart from the Gillingham games, their derby for the year. With no other London clubs in the third tier, Essex side Southend are about as close at it gets. (League One, Saturday 19 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Leyton Orient v Wycombe Wanderers - both sides suffered disappointment last season as the O's got relegated and the Chairboys lost in the play-off final. Both are looking to make amends and have begun well. Ian Hendon's side are top by a point but have suddenly gone two without a win while Wycombe are two points behind in fourth. The visitors lost to second placed Plymouth on Saturday so won't want to losE further ground on the leading pack. Like Southend above, Wycombe play just outside London so this will have a bit of a derby feel to it too. (League Two, Saturday 19 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Boreham Wood v Wrexham - the big games keep on coming for The Wood. Minnows of the division, the newly promoted side are playing sides they've never faced before and not a huge amount is expected of them. After their stunning win over Tranmere three weeks ago it's all gone a bit pear shaped with only one point garnered from their following four games. On Saturday, second placed Wrexham pay a visit. One of the giants of the National League, the Welsh club have been pushing hard to reclaim the Football League place they lost in 2008. The hosts also have a derby against Bromley on Tuesday if you can't make it to this one. (National League, Saturday 19 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Grays Athletic v Bognor Regis Town - despite having no ground of their own, Grays are the hottest thing in the Isthmian League right now. The Essex outfit, who only qualify for inclusion in TLFG by virtue of their groundshare with Aveley, haven't lost in the league or FA Cup and have only drawn twice. These are exciting times for a team who finished third in what in now the National League in 2006 and also enjoyed two FA Trophy wins around the same time. Bognor aren't too shabby either and currently command a top-six spot themselves. Will they be the first team to get the better of Mark Bentley's side? (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 12 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Enfield Town v Billericay Town - after Saturday's FA Cup ties we are left with only two replays in the London area (subject to the Greenwich result on Sunday). The first is this one between two sides in the Isthmian League's Premier Division. After making last season's play-offs Enfield suffered the heartbreak of losing their place because they were controversially adjudged by the FA to have fielded an ineligible player earlier in the season. Sadly they don't seem to have quite recovered from that decision and have accrued only five points from nine games. After a brief spell in the Conference South in 2012-13, Billericay have managed a couple of midtable finishes on their return to the seventh tier and it looks as if they will repeat that again this time. The initial tie at New Lodge on Saturday ended in a 1-1 draw. (FA Cup First Qualifying Round Replay, Tuesday 15 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

9. Harrow Borough v Northwood after drawing a blank up at Chestnut Avenue on Saturday these two local rivals return to Earlsmead on Tuesday to battle it out for the £3,000 prize money on offer. Boro play a level above their opponents but reports suggest some fine goalkeeping kept them in the tie so they won't be able to take anything for granted. They'll be hoping home advantage sees them over the line. (FA Cup First Qualifying Round Replay, Tuesday 15 September, 745pm. Club info)

10. Ashford Town (Middlesex) v Hanworth Villa - the standout game of the week from the ninth and tenth tiers is this one. Not only is this a derby (they both play close to Heathrow Airport), they are currently ranked first and third in the Combined Counties League. Ashford have won all of their games so far while neighbours Hanworth have only dropped two points as they have both flown out the traps. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, Saturday 19 September, 3pm. Ticket 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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