Monday 7 September 2015

TLFG: 7-13 September 2015

It's been another week of change here at TLFG.

Always looking to fine-tune things, you'll notice this week's match map (below) is slightly different to normal.

The match list on the left-hand side of the page is now in chronological order with Monday's games at the top and Sunday's at the bottom. I hope you find it easy to use and more helpful.

It's all been about Non-League Day again for me this week. Aside from a volunteers' conference call, I also went for a meeting with Supporters Direct who have always been helpful when it comes to backing our campaign.

My main administrative task is adding all the games to our match finder which is a huge job and one I've fallen a little behind on. Thankfully I've got two weeks holiday now so will hopefully catch up.
Less than five weeks to go!
This weekend also saw the second Lokalrunde in Switzerland and Germany. A sister event to Non-League Day, our friends over to the east have a slightly different approach and ethos so it will be interesting to see how it went. If you attended a game please share your experience.

There were also some publicity events in Switzerland and Germany for the 'MatchDays' book which Dutch TLFG reader Paul Baaijens wrote about London football following his visit here in 2013. The book has recently been translated into German hence the two dates in these countries.

Looking ahead, we've got a great looking week of football with 'all-conquering' England at Wembley, a top-two clash in the Premier League and loads of FA Cup ties - I can't wait. However, I'll be in Turkey as of tomorrow night for some late summer sun so will miss the lot but will still try to compile next week's piece from there.

Happy football watching one and all.

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
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. England v Switzerland - Roy Hodgson's side return to Wembley for this Euro 2016 qualifier having sealed their place in France next summer with three games to spare. Not only this but they are the only team across the continent to have a 100% record at this stage. Granted they aren't in the strongest group but the odd point, particularly on the road, could've been dropped in previous years. Switzerland are in second and although six points behind could still win the group. They also need points to make sure of second and their place in the finals so should be well motivated. (Euro 2016 qualifier, Tuesday 8 September, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. Crystal Palace v Manchester City - with the international break out of the way, the Premier League resumes with a clash of the current top two. It's no surprise that big spending two-time champions City are already three points clear after only four games but to see the Eagles just behind them is a bit more of an eyebrow raiser. I do fancy Alan Pardew's side to do well this season and with a great start could hang on for a Europa League spot. They also beat City at Selhurst Park as recently as April and defeated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their last match so should be more than capable of causing an upset. (Premier League, Saturday 12 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Watford v Swansea City - although only fourth from bottom with three draws and a loss, I would expect all connected with the Hornets to be satisfied with that start as they find their feet at the top level. On paper a lot of fans would look at the fixture list, see Swansea and think 'winnable game'. I think most QPR fans did when we got them at home on the opening day of the 2012/13 season but then looked on as we got annihilated 5-0. Despite managerial changes, the Swans seem to get stronger every year and finished an impressive eighth last season. Previously untested as a manager, former player Garry Monk has eased into the hotseat and has now guided them into the early-season top four while playing some great football. It could be a tough afternoon for the hosts. (Premier League, Saturday 12 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Queens Park Rangers v Nottingham Forest - when I started going to football in the '80s these two were both top-flight clubs and Forest were one of the best around having won the European Cup twice in 1979 and 1980. Both have fallen away somewhat since then with both suffering financial problems and both having spent several years in what is now League One. Now both in the Championship and still with questionable finances, QPR should start as favourites. After a setback at Charlton in their first game, they've become unbeaten and have moved up to fourth becoming the division's joint top scorers in the process. Having also held on to all their star players during the transfer window, including striker Charlie Austin, things are looking bright. Forest, however, have managed only one victory from their five games and don't win too often at Loftus Road... (Championship, Saturday 12 September, 1230pm. Ticket info)

5. Hampton & Richmond Borough v Dulwich Hamlet - all our local clubs in League One and Two are on the road this week so all the remaining featured matches will be FA Cup First Qualifying Round ties. The first is the blockbuster between these two Isthmian League Premier Division rivals. Two of the better supported sides in the division, they have both started well and in some ways it's a shame they've been drawn this early in the competition. Last season I went to the game between the sides on Non-League Day at Champion Hill which produced an entertaining 2-2 draw and a spectacular crowd of nearly 3,000. Hampton's ground is also regarded by many as one of the best at this level so all in all I highly recommend this one. (FA Cup First Qualifying Round, Saturday 12 September, 3pm. Club info)

6. Kingstonian v Farnborough just up the road on the other side of the Thames we have another all-Isthmian League contest. The K's finished as runners-up the season before last and have made a reasonable start this time round. In Farnborough, they have drawn an unpredictable opponent. Recently relegated from the Conference South, their season was delayed for financial reasons and FA appeals and have so far only managed three games - one which they won heavily and the other two they lost. It could really go either way but on paper the hosts should win. (FA Cup First Qualifying Round, Saturday 12 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Northwood v Harrow Borough - in north-west London we've got a derby to look forward to. A short ride on the 282 bus will pretty much take you door-to-door in this suburban battle for cup glory. Since moving over to the Southern League in 2010, contests between these two have largely been limited to county cup matches so it will be good to see them lock horns in a match of real importance. Although Boro play a level above, Northwood have started their season strongly and will make things difficult for them. (FA Cup First Qualifying Round, Saturday 12 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. AFC Hornchurch v Cambridge City - the Urchins suffered relegation from the Isthmian Premier last season but have made a very positive start and are just a point off top spot in the Isthmian North. On Saturday they welcome the Lilywhites who play in the Southern League Premier, a level above. They haven't come flying out of the blocks, have suffered a bit of upheaval of late and have been without a home of their own for over two years. Potential cupset. (FA Cup First Qualifying Round, Saturday 12 September, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Phoenix Sports v Lewes - having seen off Guernsey in a replay at the neutral venue of Lewes' Dripping Pan ground in the last round, Phoenix now welcome the Sussex club themselves to Barnehurst. The south-east London outfit have climbed swiftly over the last few years to make it into the Isthmian North and have made a respectable start to life in the eighth tier. Lewes, a Conference National side until 2009, have been struggling and are winless in eight in the Isthmian Premier. In a sharklike sense, I can smell blood already. (FA Cup First Qualifying Round, Saturday 12 September, 3pm. Club info)

10. Bedfont & Feltham v AFC Rushden & Diamonds - we finish up this week with another recommendation to watch B&F. One of  the few Step 6 sides still in the competition, the relatively new club (founded in 2012) welcome the reincarnation of Rushden & Diamonds who were a League One side until as recently as 2004. Like so many others, financial problems intervened and the club dropped through the divisions and eventually got dissolved in 2011. Now a Southern League side, they play two levels above B&F and still have a healthy fan base. Consequently, this is probably the biggest match in the hosts' short history.  (FA Cup First Qualifying Round, Saturday 12 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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