Sunday, 10 January 2016

TLFG: 11-17 January 2016

Greetings one and all and welcome back to TLFG.

I'm going to keep my preamble pretty brief this week (hooray I hear you cheer) as I've got to get to work - everything else is pretty standard though, except for the ticket section which I haven't got round to yet.

We've got another big week ahead with the highlight for me being the two very interesting looking FA Trophy ties which you can find out more about below.

I also usually put in a bit about ground reviews and whether you'd like to do one. Then it occurred to me that several blogs are or have done that already so why not just link to one directly.

One such publication is 'Two Men In Search of the Beautiful Game' who largely review grounds within TLFG's catchment area so here's a link to their latest piece on Isthmian League club Staines Town who have some of the finest non-league facilities within the M25. 

As always enjoy your week and get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

UPDATE (11/01/16): Once again our good friends at The Chicken Balti Chronicles have unearthed another unusual gem - a friendly between Sutton United and a Crystal Palace XI on Tuesday morning at 1030am. It's free to get in at Gander Green Lane so if you're off during the day this could well be worth checking out.

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 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).

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Black 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. Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City - for the second week running, this will be our top featured game. On Sunday they met in the FA Cup and three days later they meet in the league. At the time of writing, the cup match has still to be played so it could put this game into a different context but essentially it's a battle between two of the Premier League's top four so should hopefully be a bit of a cracker. Leicester could go top with a win while Spurs could jump up to third. (Premier League, Wednesday 13 January, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Everton - it's a hectic week for all Premier League clubs with Chelsea being no exception. Three home games in six days mean Guus Hiddink will probably have to shuffle a few players around to keep them all fresh. The match against Everton is the last of the three and victory combined with a favourable result against West Brom in midweek could see them on the verge of breaking back into the top 10. The Toffees shouldn't be a walkover by any means, however, as they beat Chelsea 3-1 in the reverse fixture back in September. (Premier League, Saturday 16 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Brentford v Middlesbrough - the Bees are another west London club with a punishing schedule this week as they play two of the Championship's best teams back-to-back on Tuesday and Friday. First up are current leaders Boro who disposed of Brentford in last season's play-offs to extend their winning run against the Griffin Park club to eight matches. In fact, Brentford have to go all the way back to 1964 to find a record of their last victory against the Smoggies. If you can't make this, Burnley roll into town at the end of the week for a televised game which should also be worth a watch. (Championship, Tuesday 12 January, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Millwall v Port Vale - one of the most attractive things about this fixture is that it's taking place on Sunday and makes it the only senior match on in the capital that day. The Lions have a cup match against Oxford on Thursday meaning this league game has been put back. It's also a decent looking game between two sides pushing to get into the League One play-off places - very much worth a trip to Bermondsey, give it a go. (League One, Sunday 17 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. AFC Wimbledon v Mansfield Town - in the division below we have a very similar game between two former non-league sides who are battling to get into the play-offs. The visitors took advantage of the Dons being without a game on Saturday and leapfrogged them into eighth with a win over Stevenage. Since the two made it into League Two together, Wimbledon have failed to win any of their five matches against the Stags so they seem to be becoming a bit of a bogey team. (League Two, Saturday 16 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Sutton United v Curzon Ashton - after all the thrills and spills of the FA Cup, next weekend sees the return of the FA Trophy. We've now reached the second round stage, which means we're down to the last 32 and it's starting to get serious. If you're new to English football, this competition is for clubs playing in the top four levels of non-league football and ends with a final at Wembley in May. Aside from the top division, football at this level is regional but at this stage of the Trophy the draw is national so you get ties between teams who have probably never met before. I haven't done my research but there can't have been too many previous meetings between south Londoners Sutton and Curzon from the east of Manchester. The Nash, as they are nicknamed, have had a fantastic couple of years winning back-to-back promotions to climb up to the National League North - the parallel division to the National League South in which Sutton United are currently one of the leading clubs. The U's have been getting impressive crowds of nearly 1,000 over the last few weeks and the novelty and importance of this tie will hopefully see them go well over that here. (FA Trophy Second Round, Saturday 16 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Dulwich Hamlet v Guiseley - elsewhere in London we have another Trophy tie pitting South versus North but there is a two-division gulf between the sides. On paper Dulwich should start as underdogs - they play in the seventh tier Isthmian League Premier Division while Guiseley, who hail from the Leeds area, compete in the National League. However, I actually think the home draw will give the Hamlet a significant advantage. Dulwich are a team in form - unbeaten in seven and top of the league, they also drew an awesome crowd of 2,249 for their win over Enfield on Saturday. Guiseley, on the other hand, are winless in four, fighting a relegation battle and have a long journey. Real cupset potential in front of another monster crowd. (FA Trophy Second Round, Saturday 16 January, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Egham Town v Kings Langley - the occasion won't be quite as grand at the Runnymede Stadium on the western fringe of TLFG's catchment area but this is an important game in the race for the Southern League Division 1 Central play-offs. Egham are currently the pick of our local clubs, occupying fifth place at the time of writing but with two games in hand. One of those is this one against Kings Langley who are level with them on points. Given how tight the table is, the Sarnies are still well in with a shot at winning the title. (Southern League Division 1 Central, Tuesday 12 January, 745pm. Club info)

9. Sun Sports v Oxhey Jets - in recent seasons both sides have challenged hard for the Spartan South Midlands League title. However, this time it's gone a bit pear-shaped for both. The hosts lie pretty much bang in the middle of the table while Oxhey have a fight on their hands to stay up. So why recommend this? Quite simply it's effectively the Watford area's non-league derby. The clubs reside to the north and south of Vicarage Road about four miles apart so it deserves a bit of extra coverage in my view. (Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, Tuesday 12 January, 745pm. Club info)

10. Edgware Town v Crawley Green - last up this week is the much-awaited clash between the top two in the division below. Crawley Green, who actually come from Luton and not Sussex, have made the running thus far and are five points clear having won 16 of their 17 league games. Edgware have won 14 of theirs but have played a game less so victory is looking pretty much essential if they want to keep it a two-horse race. (Spartan South Midlands League Division 1, Saturday 16 January, 3pm. Club info)

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.

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