Sunday 26 June 2016

TLFG: 27 June - 3 July 2016

It's only been five weeks since TLFG broke for the summer but here we are back again.

One of the main reasons being that Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink brought his QPR side back for pre-season a week ago and he's throwing them straight back into action.

With very little on, I've taken the bold move of including QPR's first friendly at Aldershot Town even though it's outside London. It's only a 45-minute train ride from Waterloo and the ground is just metres from the station. Tickets are £10 and are available on the gate.

There's just over two months to go
The following day, a QPR XI of youngsters and reserves will travel to Ruislip to take on National League South club Wealdstone which should attract a reasonable crowd to Grosvenor Vale.

So what else has been going on over the last month?

For the first time in 20 years I've missed out on going to a European Championship as the timing hasn't been good for me. I did, however, warm-up for it by going to the England C v Slovakia U21 game at Sutton United.

It was the first time I'd been to see England's non-league XI in action and they produced a seven-goal thriller which they sadly lost to a hotly disputed 97th minute free-kick.

The following day I announced that this year's Non-League Day will take place on Saturday 3 September so a hectic couple of months of build-up now ensues.

The controversial rebrand of the Football League to become the EFL has now taken effect and the fixtures for it and the Premier League have now all been published for the season ahead.

A number of new clubs have joined at Step 6 so there will be some unfamiliar names on the match map over the coming months. 

As mentioned above, there's not a lot on over the next few days but things start to pick up next week and get into full swing the week after that.

There are only nine matches in the London area over the next week as pre-season gradually gets underway.

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 - something which often happens at this time of year. 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).

Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Black pin - Friday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White pin - Sunday fixtures

In the following section I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Tuesday 28 June
Debden Sports v Ilford @7pm  - one for hardcore football junkies who simply can't wait to see a live game as a Step 10 side host an Ilford side made up of trialists

Wednesday 29 June
Millwall Lionesses v London Bees @745pm - a London derby in the FA Women's Super League taking place on Sutton United's increasingly popular 3G pitch

Friday 1 July
Aldershot Town v Queens Park Rangers @745pm - the first friendly of the season involving a London pro-club's first XI. It's not in London but only just outside and very close to Aldershot station so easy to get to.

Saturday 2 July
Wealdstone v Queens Park Rangers U21 @3pm - the R's youngsters and reserves are in action the following day at west London's top non-league club
FA Women's Super League Cup doubleheader from 2pm - the Hive, home of Barnet, plays host to back-to-back games in this competition. London Bees play Chelsea at 2pm while Arsenal take on Reading at 5pm - one ticket, priced at £4, gets you in for both.

Sunday 3 July
AFC Wimbledon promotion parade @11am - the Dons will be taking over Wimbledon town centre as they celebrate their play-off win which saw them move up to League One

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.