Sunday, 31 July 2016

TLFG: 1-7 August 2016

Hello one and all and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

It's a big week in London with the EFL, National League, Southern League, Combined Counties and Southern Counties East Leagues all getting started. As an added bonus, it's also the opening round of the FA Cup so if you're thinking of embarking on a 'Road to Wembley' round-by-round odyssey then this is the week to start. 

Aside from these there are also lots of friendlies, several featuring Premier League sides. The pick are the International Champions Cup match between Liverpool and Barcelona on Saturday and the FA Community Shield between Leicester City and Manchester United on Sunday - both are at Wembley, but both are sold out.

Arguably the tie of the round in the FA Cup sees these rivals meet at the oldest ground in London
If all that isn't enough to get you salivating, we've also got the first two games being played by West Ham United at their new London Stadium home. I thought the Europa League match against NK Domzale and the friendly against Juventus would have completely sold out by now but there are still a few tickets available on general sale for the former and at low prices so get involved.

If you'd like to see more than one game in a day, Sunday's midday kick-off between QPR and Leeds United is a fine hors d'oeuvre for the Community Shield (I know at least one TLFG reader combining these two) while you should also just be able to make one of the three FA Cup ties which kick-off at 3pm elsewhere in the capital with Barkingside probably the easiest to get to by public transport.

In other news, preparations for Non-League Day on 3 September are still ongoing. This week I had a meeting with Kick It Out, did a bit of filming for our Tifosy run Prostate Cancer UK fundraiser, discussed merchandise, uploaded a few new games to the match map, heard from some European clubs who want to take part and also got contacted by a journalist at German football magazine '11Freunde' who wants to follow me on the day - it's been a busy time!

As I said, it promises to be quite a week so enjoy yourself and feel free to send your reports, pictures and also any questions if you have any.

There are 90 matches in the London area over the next week as pre-season starts to wind down and the competitive stuff starts to get going.

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).

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

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.

Monday 1 August
Hendon v Dagenham & Redbridge @730pm - the Greens continue to bed in at their new home with this friendly against National League opposition from east London
Metropolitan Police v Barnet XI @8pm - the Bees send their youngsters down to Imber Court for another pre-season game 

Tuesday 2 August
Bromley v Crystal Palace @7pm  - fifth-tier club Bromley welcome their Premier League neighbours for this hotly anticipated friendly (tickets must be purchased in advance)
Ryman League Charity Shield @745pm - Hampton & Richmond Borough play host to local rivals Kingstonian at the Beveree
Greenwich Borough v Leyton Orient XI @745pm - the hosts welcomed nearly 800 for the visit of a Millwall XI last week, they'll be hoping for another good turnout here
Tooting & Mitcham United v Crystal Palace U21 @745pm - the Eagles' youngsters play most of their home games at Imperial Fields so it's landlords v tenants
North Greenford United v Hanworth Villa @745pm - the Combined Counties League gets underway on Tuesday night with a handful of games, this one sees recently relegated Greenford welcome Villa who have former QPR and Fulham player Rufus Brevett taking charge of his first game as manager

Wednesday 3 August
Grays Athletic v Tilbury @745pm - two Essex rivals contest the Stan Veness Cup at Aveley's ground
Cray Valley PM v Cray Wanderers @745pm - it's only a friendly but this south-east London derby should still entertain

Thursday 4 August
West Ham United v NK Domzale @745pm - be part of history as the Hammers play the first match at their new home, tickets for this Europa League match are only £15 and are on general sale

Friday 5 August
Fulham v Newcastle United @745pm - the EFL season begins with this televised Championship game at Craven Cottage between two former Premier League teams
Tooting & Mitcham United v Dulwich Hamlet @745pm - if professional football's not for you, these two old non-league rivals enjoy a friendly down south

Saturday 6 August

Liverpool v Barcelona @515pm - the newly created International Champions Cup rolls into London where two of the world's biggest clubs sold out Wembley in two hours
Crystal Palace v Valencia @3pm - if you can't get a ticket for the above, there's another England v Spain match-up at Selhurst Park which also looks very appealing
Watford v Lorient @3pm - the Hornets also welcome European opposition for a final friendly in the form of this French outfit

Millwall v Oldham Athletic @3pm - the only EFL game taking place in London on Saturday is this League One encounter at the Den

National League
Boreham Wood v Forest Green Rovers @3pm - the National League season starts on Saturday with The Wood welcoming the title favourites in a very tough opener
Bromley v Tranmere Rovers @3pm - the Ravens were London's top ranked non-league club last season and their campaign begins against another team expected to do well
Sutton United v Solihull Moors @3pm - the U's return to the fifth tier for the first time in many years and welcome a side from the Midlands who are also new to this level
Dartford v Wealdstone @3pm - the fine facilities of Princes Park are the setting for this game between sides with realistic play-off ambitions in the National League South

Southern League
Northwood v Ashford Town (Middlesex) @3pm - it's also opening day in the Southern League Division 1 Central where Northwood were our leading local team last season, they begin with this match against newly promoted Ashford

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
London Bari v Clapton @3pm - arguably the tie of the round is this groundshare derby in Forest Gate with tenants hosting landlords
Wembley v Daventry Town @3pm - if you're going to attempt an FA Cup 'Road to Wembley' what better place to start than Wembley FC who play within sight of the much grander national stadium
Colliers Wood United v AFC Croydon Athletic @3pm - a nice bit of inter-league action between clubs from opposite sides of London's southern hemisphere
Redbridge v Waltham Forest @3pm - two Essex Senior League teams do battle in what is probably fair to call a derby
Edgware Town v Holmer Green @3pm - after reforming in 2014, the Wares won the Spartan South Midlands Division 1 last season and now play their first ever FA Cup tie
Bridon Ropes v Canterbury City @3pm - even more significantly, the Ropes play their first ever FA Cup tie since coming into existence 81 years ago

Sunday 7 August
FA Community Shield @4pm - last season's surprise package Leicester City take on FA Cup winners Manchester United at Wembley in this annual curtain-raiser for the top flight
West Ham United v Juventus @1pm - if you can't make it to the first game at the London Stadium on Thursday then this friendly looks very enticing
Queens Park Rangers v Leeds United @12pm - if you want some competitive football, QPR begin their Championship season against these giants of Yorkshire football
Barkingside v Hadleigh United @3pm - there are three FA Cup ties on Sunday afternoon with this match at Ilford FC's ground the easiest to reach by public transport

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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