Sunday, 18 October 2015

TLFG: 19-25 October 2015

After all the craziness of last weekend's Non-League Day (NLD), the last few days have been spent tying up a few loose ends and generally taking a breather.

I've watched no football and have been doing late shifts at work getting home well after 11pm most nights.

It's been really interesting to see how many articles were written by people attending the match at Clapton last week - be it bloggers like me or national media outlets like the Daily Mirror. I hope this shows that NLD is getting people interested in the game at this level and without doubt, the immediate future looks really bright for the Tons and their Ultras.

Once again, if you can get over to one of their games at The Old Spotted Dog then I really urge you to give it a go. On Tuesday they have a derby againt east London rivals Barking which should be well worth going to. I doubt anywhere near the 800 we saw last week will come but 300-400 would be a great achievement and quite possible.

It's FA Cup weekend again - which clubs will continue along the Road to Wembley?
Aside from the big games in the Champions League, Premier League and Football League this week, we've also got the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round to look forward to.

I explain more below but essentially this is the final hurdle the remaining non-league clubs have to jump before going into the draw for the 'First Round Proper' against sides from League One and League Two. This means AFC Hornchurch, the lowest ranked TLFG side still in the competition, could end up playing former Premier League sides like Bradford City, Coventry City or Sheffield United which would be quite something.

One other thing about the blog itself - for the first time in about three years I've brought back the 'Midweek Match Map' so you've now got two maps to scour for games. Hopefully it will make things less cluttered and easier to find. I originally ditched it because I didn't have time to do two maps but things have changed and the process is much quicker.

Have a good week of football watching. I'll be at QPR v Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday, which sounds a bit odd, where former R's and Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock has returned to the Loftus Road club's coaching staff. Mr Ramsey's days look numbered.


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 over 100 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 on the following match maps. If you've never used them 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 drop down menu at the top 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. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.

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).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Black pin - Friday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
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. Arsenal v Bayern Munich - two games into this year's Champions League campaign and it's already looking grim for the Gunners. With back-to-back defeats against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos they now really need to beat Bayern to stay in with a chance of making it through. Easy, right? Wrong. With three UCL final appearances in the last six years and 12 wins from 12 games in all competitions this season they couldn't really be facing much tougher opponents. However, Arsene Wenger has overseen a win and a draw over the German giants in recent seasons but both were away from the Emirates where they lost both return games. (Champions League, Tuesday 20 October, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. West Ham United v Chelsea - back in the Premier League we've got a very interesting East versus West derby. The Hammers have made a great start and continued it with an impressive 3-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday to move back into the top four. They are now unbeaten in six and will really fancy their chances against the Blues who have been in poor form of late. Jose Mourinho's side did manage to beat Aston Villa this weekend but anything less would've been a disaster given how poor the Brummie outfit are right now. Nothing should be taken for granted though as Chelsea have only lost once in the last 19 meetings between the two sides and still have star players coming out of their eyeballs. (Premier League, Saturday 24 October, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Charlton Athletic v Brentford - just across the river we've got another derby going on. This time it's in the Championship but between two of the strugglers. Things looked good for Charlton when they beat QPR on the opening day but things have gone downhill since then and they're perched just two points above the relegation zone. Brentford made it to the play-offs last season but the owner fell out with the manager and the two parted company. Sadly the replacement boss wasn't up to the job and now coach Lee Carsley is filling in. On Saturday the Bees managed to arrest a poor run with a crucial win over Rotherham, another side at the wrong end of the table. In essence this is a derby and an early season 'six-pointer' - plenty to play for. (Championship, Saturday 24 October, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Fulham v Reading - elsewhere in the division, two former Premier League sides do battle in their attempts to get back up. The Cottagers came down last season and had a pretty rough time but kept their heads above water to stay up. They have made a satisfactory start and are anchored in midtable just behind local rivals QPR. The Royals also had a forgettable time in the league last season but did make the FA Cup semi-finals where they gave Arsenal a run for their money. This campaign has been very different though and with only two defeats from 11 they're right up in second. The last four games between the two have been highly entertaining, generating a whopping 18 goals and looking at this season's stats we could well have more of the same. (Championship, Saturday 24 October, 130pm. Ticket info)

5. Bromley v Eastleigh this weekend sees one of the high points of the non-league calendar - the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round. At this point all the teams that have battled through up to five previous rounds go into the hat with the big boys of the National League (the top division in the non-league pyramid). The winners get £12,500 in prize money and the right to go up against a club from League One or League Two - something which can be the pinnacle of a club's history. After a tough week which saw them take only one point from matches against Cheltenham and Aldershot, Bromley welcome the Spitfires for one of the ties of the round. The Hampshire club have a decent budget and were expected to do well this year. Although not rampaging through the division, they beat leaders Forest Green on Tuesday and drew with second placed Cheltenham on Saturday to stay firmly in touch with the play-off places. It will be close and I'm sure there'll be a monster crowd to compliment this great looking game. (FA Cup, Saturday 24 October, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Boreham Wood v AFC Hornchurch - the Wood are playing in the National League for the first time and will start as big favourites against the Urchins who play three levels below. As one of the smallest sides in the division, Boreham Wood have struggled this season and have just seen their manager step down. Although Hornchurch play at a much lower level, they are in form, have momentum and should have a 'nothing to lose' attitude which can cause upsets at this stage. (FA Cup, Saturday 24 October, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Grays Athletic v Welling United - two divisions separate these teams with the hosts starting as underdogs. Grays finished strongly last season and have continued to produce good results since August meaning they are up among the frontrunners in the Isthmian League. The Wings escaped relegation from the Conference by a whisker last season and are in the lower reaches again so could be there for the taking. (FA Cup, Sunday 25 October, 2pm. Ticket info)

8. Staines Town v Gloucester City - the Swans suffered the trauma of relegation from the Conference South last season and have had to readjust to life in the seventh tier. They've made a reasonable start and with games in hand could well push towards the play-off spots if results go their way. Gloucester, by a quirk of geography, ply their trade a level above in the National League North. Despite being a West Country side, they are deemed 'northern' enough to play games against sides from Lancashire and Yorkshire which must incur a lot of travelling. Coupled with the fact they play all their home games in Cheltenham could be a reason why they currently find themselves in the bottom three. As above, great chance of a cupset. (FA Cup, Saturday 24 October, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Wealdstone v Bognor Regis Town - if this game were taking place at Bognor's Nyewood Lane then I'd really fancy their chances. However, it's not so the Stones should start as favourites. Hailing from the National League South, the Ruislip-based club should have too much for their Isthmian League opponents. The Rocks are doing well this season though and should make the play-offs. They also stuffed Oxford City, one of the best teams in Wealdstone's division, in the last round and are well supported so shouldn't be underestimated. (FA Cup, Saturday 24 October, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Glebe v Gravesham Borough - last up this week, we drop down to the 10th tier for a top of the table clash in the Kent Invicta League. Glebe only stepped up to this level of senior football last year, having been mainly famous for their youth teams, and held their own. This season they have moved to a ground of their own in Chislehurst where they have taken the division by storm, opening up a five-point lead over Saturday's visitors. Gravesham were also new to the league last season and finished just behind Glebe in midtable. With eight wins from 11 and a game in hand, this game could have a huge bearing on whether they'll be title contenders or not. (Kent Invicta League, Saturday 24 October, 3pm. Club info)


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.

1 comment:

  1. I love your site and I love London non-league football, but I have to disagree about the Clapton Ultras. They are not football fans - they are a political mob who have adopted a club. They care nothing for football and I have seen them in action - a rentamob bunch of Celtic / St Pauli clones who think letting off flares makes them interesting. That has nothing to do with British football - they are a joke and they will move on. I hope Clapton do well, but they need proper football fans, not political idiot be they left wing, right wing or liberal democrats...

    ReplyDelete