Monday, 5 October 2015

TLFG: 5-11 October 2015

Welcome to TLFG's Non-League Day special.

Sorry for the delay but it's been quite tough trying to compile this, put on a national football event and do a full-time job that's seen me getting up at around 4am for the last few days.

Anyway, that's enough excuses for one week.

If you didn't know, there's an international break this week which means there's no Premier League or Championship football nationwide. In London, there's also nothing in League One and only one game in League Two (Barnet v Accrington which, with all due respect, has more than a non-league feel to it). There is the small matter of an England game at Wembley on Friday night if you want to see some top-level football but that is it.

To fill the void, the last five years have seen me mount a campaign to go and watch semi-professional and amateur sides instead in an attempt to inject some well needed extra cash into such sides.

Thankfully the campaign has grown year-on-year as we have become more established and accepted.

We're still a long way off from where I'd like to be though and I'm still anxious to see how things turn out on Saturday.

Everton and England's Leighton Baines sports an NLD t-shirt
The last few days have seen good support from some of the biggest clubs in the land with Manchester United mentioning us in their programme for the Wolfsburg game and we also made it into the one for Sunday's Everton v Liverpool derby match. In the London area, Crystal Palace also featured us so a huge thanks to them all.

Hopefully there will be a few website articles by the end of the week and I'm aware of some big media organisations who plan to give us coverage too.

Wherever you are in London on Saturday, you won't be too far from a game with all sides of the city having something going on. Whether it's 'Pay What You Want', free entry for all or cheap food and drink, there should be something for everyone.

Aside from the special deals and events, there are also a handful of really decent looking FA Cup ties. Competition rules mean it's really hard for clubs to offer discounted tickets so most don't try but some will still be running special events to mark the day.

The winners of each tie will pocket £7,500 in prize money which is a substantial amount at this level. Such a result will leave them only one win away from the First Round Proper when all the League One and Two clubs come in - in other words there's a lot riding on these matches.
It's the final countdown - please help us promote the campaign
Please also remember you can do your bit to help support NLD. We've got some new t-shirts available with part of the proceeds going to our charity partners Prostate Cancer UK. There are also downloads and banners which you can print off or add to your website to help us promote it.

I'm undecided which game I'll go to yet but I'm getting close. Let me know where you're thinking of heading and if you hear of any more deals I don't know about please fill me in.

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. 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).

MATCH MAP
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday (Non-League Day) fixtures




TLFG NON-LEAGUE DAY RECOMMENDATIONS

Here's the pick of the games as I see it. Going on my experience of previous years, the list of deals could grow longer as the week goes on as clubs release more information so keep checking for updates.

FA CUP THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND

AVELEY v HAVANT & WATERLOOVILLE - Isthmian League Aveley have landed a challenging tie against National League South side Havant. Neither have had a fantastic season but there is a gulf of two divisions separating the clubs which might be too much to bridge for the hosts. Club info

ENFIELD TOWN v HITCHIN TOWN - it's Isthmian League versus Southern League in this tie at Donkey Lane. The two sides should be pretty evenly matched and could well produce one of the games of the day. Club info

HANWELL TOWN v GRAYS ATHLETIC - this time it's Southern League versus Isthmian League. However, Grays play at a level above and have made a strong start to the season and should be big favourites to win. Club info

UXBRIDGE v CHIPPENHAM TOWN - the Reds, who play in the same division as Hanwell, will also start as underdogs as they welcome Chippenham from the division above. Like Grays, the visitors are among the leading pack in the seventh tier and will take some beating. Club info

WINGATE & FINCHLEY v WESTON-SUPER-MARE - there's a good chance of a cupset here as Wingate welcome WSM from the National League South. The visitors have made a poor start to their campaign and W&F will almost certainly be well up for this one. There are also a few special events going on for NLD. Club info

SPECIAL DEALS/EVENTS
(updated 08/10/15)

AFC CROYDON ATHLETIC v HOLLANDS & BLAIR - the Rams want you to bring along any old football shirts as it's also #KitAmnesty Day on Saturday. The donated items will be sent off to kids and adults around Africa. On the field, H&B are currently top of the Southern Counties East League and looking for back-to-back promotions so are ones to watch. Club info

BARKINGSIDE v MALDON & TIPTREE - Ilford-based Barkingside are really throwing everything at trying to get a good crowd for this game. The Isthmian League match is 'Pay What You Want' for adults and free for kids. It will also be free for armed forces and emergency service personnel. It doesn't end there, food and drink prices will also be slashed and there's half-price entry to the next game on Monday. Club info

BOREHAM WOOD v WELLING UNITED - in the National League we've got a north versus south London derby. The game should be pretty even and it's also one of our show piece games which Kick It Out will be present at. The Wood have also cut admission prices for Premier League and Football League season-ticket holders, there is a coaching session for kids and radio station talkSPORT will be present. Club info

BROMLEY v BARROW - the Ravens are currently the top ranked non-league team in the Greater London area. Newly promoted to the National League, they've won seven of their last eight games to move into top five. For the visit of midtable Barrow they've reduced admission prices across the board, are doing kids' football coaching in the morning and doing all kinds of things in their clubhouse which will open at 1230pm. Club info

CLAPTON v ILFORD - we've got a cracking East End derby to look forward to at the Old Spotted Dog, London's oldest ground. The Tons are currently second in the Essex Senior League and Ilford aren't far behind so it should be a good game. U18s and senior citizens get in for free and there are deals on beer too. The Clapton Ultras, a fan group, have also offered to pay for any people on benefits or refugees/asylum seekers. Club info

FISHER v SEVENOAKS TOWN - the Fish, who share Dulwich Hamlet's Champion Hill, are another side with a lot planned for NLD. They have lots planned including half-price admission of £3.50 for SE16 residents and pro club season-ticket holders. Club info

HAMPTON & RICHMOND BOROUGH v HENDON - there's a decent game in the Isthmian Premier to look forward to at the Beveree. Not only this but the hosts are running a Family Day with all kinds of discounts for groups and individuals. There's also free face painting for kids and various other entertainment. Club info

HARINGEY BOROUGH v TILBURY - if you're based in north London then this could well be the match for you. It could be of particular interest if you're a Spurs fan as Haringey are based on White Hart Lane. The best thing of all about this Isthmian League match is that everyone is being let in for free - it doesn't get much better than that. Club info

KINGSTONIAN v BILLERICAY TOWN - just across the Thames from Hampton, the K's are offering free entry to season-ticket holders from any sports club whether you're into football, rugby, cricket or whatever. Anyone U18, who hasn't already got one, is also entitled to claim a free K's season-ticket on arrival - a fine deal that's been in place for a year or two. Kingstonian also groundshare with AFC Wimbledon so the facilities are of Football League standard. Club info

METROPOLITAN POLICE v NEEDHAM MARKET - there's a multi-sport extravaganza taking place at Imber Court on NLD with various police sides from all over the world playing each other at rugby on the adjoining pitch. There's a police dogs display team performance and then there's some football too in the Met's very decent football stadium. There's plenty of charity action taking place too. Entry for the whole day's action, starting at noon, is just a tenner. Club info

NORTH GREENFORD UNITED v CHALFONT ST PETER - west Londoners NGU welcome a number of local dignitaries for this Southern League fixture as they also attempt to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Club info

SUTTON COMMON ROVERS v CHESSINGTON & HOOK UNITED - season-ticket holders from any other football club whatever the level will only have to pay £1 to see this game. SCR moved to groundshare with Sutton United over the summer so this will be a good chance to check out the new 3G pitch. There's also a match between two of SCR's youth teams beforehand. Club info

THAMESMEAD TOWN v ROMFORD - the Mead have given away a load of tickets to local children and will also be holding a fans' penalty shoot-out for prizes. This could be the game for you if you're in south-east London. 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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