Monday, 8 February 2016

TLFG: 8-14 February 2016

First off I'll begin by apologising for the late publication of this week's piece. Work schedules got in the way and I'm off again shortly so I'll keep this brief.

No football for me this week but there have been some ongoing discussions about FA Trophy/Vase finals day at Wembley on 22 May and there will hopefully be some news on it later this week.

There have also been some Non-League Day (NLD) discussions going on with the foundation of an NLD-style event possibly starting in another major European country.

This week 'Two Men...' pay a visit to Gander Green Lane
There are some more great games in London this week and I've outlined a few in TLFG's Top 10 towards the bottom of the page. If you can't get a ticket for any matches involving Premier League teams then I thoroughly recommend the West London derby between QPR and Fulham on Saturday at 1230pm. There are tickets still available so check out our ticket page for more details. The early kick off also means you can also combine it with another match. I have some Dutch friends who will be strolling down to Chelsea v Newcastle at 530pm for example. You could also check out a local non-league match at Southall  or North Greenford United which are both within walking distance of Perivale and Greenford Tube stations on the Central Line from White City.

Lastly, if you've enjoyed the ground reviews by 'Two Men In Search Of The Beautiful Game' they are back with a visit to Sutton United, a side who are well on course for promotion this season and could even make it to Wembley.

Enjoy your week.

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 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).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday 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 Leicester City - the Foxes' fairytale continued over the weekend when they saw off title rivals Manchester City 3-1 at the Etihad. Not only did they beat arguably their toughest rivals, they did it at a canter and moved five points clear. Next up they travel to Arsenal who are part of the chasing pack. I'm sure a draw would be a satisfactory result for Claudio Ranieri's team but they shouldn't fear anyone anymore and the Gunners, on paper, look far more beatable than the City side they disposed of. However, Leicester have only suffered two defeats this season and one of them was a comprehensive 5-2 home loss to Arsene Wenger's side back in September. If anyone knows how to beat this impressive unit from the East Midlands it's Arsenal. (Premier League, Sunday 14 February, 12pm. Ticket info)

2. West Ham United v Liverpool - both sides suffered disappointing weekends in the league but the prospect of this FA Cup replay will hopefully perk them up a bit. Although West Ham still have a chance of qualifying for Europe through the league, this competition represents their only chance of silverware so they should really go for it. Liverpool have already made it to the League Cup final but they have a great history in the FA Cup too and will sorely want to win it given that their Premier League campaign is going nowhere. The sides have met three times already this season and the smart money would seem to be on the hosts who won both the league matches and then drew the original tie at Anfield all without conceding a goal. It's also worth noting that if West Ham lose, this will be the last ever FA Cup match played at the Boleyn Ground. (FA Cup Fourth Round Replay, Tuesday 9 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

3. Queens Park Rangers v Fulham - you'll find it pretty tough to get tickets for any top-flight matches this week so this Championship game should provide a great alternative. A west London derby between two former Premier League sides who play just over two miles apart also got the TV schedulers interested hence the 1230pm kick-off. Neither side are having a great year although there are signs that Rangers could be turning a corner with new boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink making a few changes in the transfer window. Although only beating promotion chasing Ipswich 1-0 on Saturday, reports suggest it was a well deserved win with some of the new players looking lively. The Cottagers are only four points above the relegation zone but managed a decent draw against Derby who are also among the division's best teams. QPR look favourites to win but their recent record against Fulham is poor with only two wins from their last 10 meetings. When they last played in September, Rangers were humiliated 4-0 in another TV game. (Championship, Saturday 13 February, 1230pm. Ticket info)

4. AFC Wimbledon v Luton Town - with Millwall away this week, we next drop into League Two for this derby of sorts. Although not a London club, Luton play a short journey from the capital so most matches against TLFG sides have a derby feel to them. A top flight, League Cup winning side in the late '80s, it's fair to say the Hatters have known much better times. Playing in England's second tier until 2007, things fell apart rapidly as financial problems took their toll and they plunged down the divisions into non-league football two years later. It took several attempts to get out of the Conference but they are in the Football League again. On Saturday they travel to Wimbledon - another club to be big in the late '80s. Before the season started, I would've expected Luton to be the more likely promotion contenders but it's the Dons who are better placed at present. The ground should be packed for this but there are still a few tickets available. (League Two, Saturday 13 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Dagenham & Redbridge v Barnet - elsewhere in League Two we do have a genuine TLFG derby as east plays north. I was intending to say that it's also a relegation 'six-pointer' but although both are in the division's bottom seven, there's a whopping 13-point gap between them as the Daggers and fellow strugglers York have started to become cut off from the rest. The hosts have struggled in recent years but have always managed to stay up. This season is looking dodgy again and they come into this one four points adrift of safety. Barnet are a similar size club who also come from non-league origins but Martin Allen seems to be doing enough to keep them up which is an achievement. Games between the two are normally pretty close with the Bees winning 3-1 earlier in the season. (League Two, Saturday 13 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Bromley v Grimsby Town - outside the Football League, Bromley are TLFG's best supported and highest-ranked club. Playing their first ever season in England's fifth tier, the Ravens started superbly but have tailed off badly, turning from brief title contenders into lower midtable also-rans. Being a team of semi-pros in a league made up of many full-time teams, no-one would've expected much more. However, the board decided otherwise and asked manager Mark Goldberg to stand down last week. Some may have found that harsh but only one league win since October is the sort of run that would put any boss under pressure. Assistant manager Neil Smith has been put in interim charge and will go in at the deep end somewhat against perennial promotion contenders Grimsby Town. Like the aforementioned Luton, Grimsby are arguably too big for this division and were a second tier side until 2003. Prior to losing at Gateshead last weekend, the Mariners were in great form so Bromley will do well to get anything here. (National League, Tuesday 9 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

7. Hendon v Hampton & Richmond Borough - for me, the match of the week in the Isthmian League is this derby from the western hemisphere of town. It's north-west versus south-west at Earlsmead on Saturday as the Greens play host to current league leaders Hampton. The title race took another twist on Saturday as Dulwich and East Thurrock both suffered shock defeats while Hampton saw off fellow contenders Leiston in a seven-goal thriller at the Beveree. The result put Alan Dowson's side back on top, two points clear with a game in hand. Hendon were title contenders themselves for much of last season but couldn't quite see it over the line and sadly for them, that successful squad, for one reason or another, has been broken up and they've struggled. Bad weather has robbed them of a few games recently and they looked out of sorts as they lost 3-0 at Metropolitan Police on Saturday. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 13 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. North Greenford United v Hanwell Town - in the eighth tier we have a very local derby also on the west side of London. I'm pretty sure this Southern League game has been postponed about 23 times this season (joking) but it just seems to keep coming up. Playing either side of the A40 about 10 miles from central London these two old rivals must be looking forward to finally getting this game on. Both sides are having a bit of a stinker this season so I think it's fair to say this is a relegation 'six-pointer'. Neither side has been cut adrift or come anywhere near ensuring safety so there is plenty to play for. (Southern League Division 1 Central, Tuesday 9 February, 745pm. Club info)

9. Glebe v Sutton Athletic - not much of note in the ninth tier this week so we finish off with a rare double bill of 10th tier action. First up is this Kent Invicta League title clash. If you haven't noticed, the top of the KIL has become very congested of late with only one point separating the top four. Glebe are currently third, a point behind leaders Sutton but they have a game in hand - it couldn't be a lot tighter. A lot of TLFG's recent focus at this level has been on Glebe and their achievements but Sutton, another local side, have had a great year too. A crowd of 100+ could easily turn out for this one which is exceptional for a midweek game at this level. (Kent Invicta League, Tuesday 9 February, 745pm. Club info)

10. Worcester Park v Eversley & California - it's also competitive over in the Combined Counties League Division 1 where seven points separate the top four. Games in hand for some mean that things could get even closer. CB Hounslow United are currently leading the way with these two in second and third respectively. Worcester Park often challenge for the title and have won it in recent years but their relatively basic facilities mean promotion isn't an option. The strikingly named E&C come from a Hampshire village sandwiched between Farnborough and Wokingham and have had much expected of them since Eversley and California football clubs merged in 2012. As yet they haven't quite cracked it. Could this be their year? (Combined Counties League Division 1, Saturday 13 February, 2pm. 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. Excellent schedule! Now you need to decide for someone to hurt)

    ReplyDelete